Everybody who has spent time in a different country knows that expat life is not quite like anything else in the world. The confusion of the first few days and weeks, the slow, but steady process of acclimation, the little peculiarities and quirks that might strike you about your new surroundings: almost any situation you encounter can make for a great story. If you are so inclined and want to blog about it, of course!
Our InterNations recommended blog section features talented expat bloggers from around the world. Their offerings to the blogosphere have been selected for their great entries and high quality, whether they may be funny, informative, interesting, deeply personal or a combination of all of the above.
Let’s hear from our featured bloggers in Chile:
I’ve been living abroad for so long that home is a tricky concept for me. When I moved back to Chile in 2011 (after having studied here in 2005) it felt really comfortable. I remembered how to get around the city. I haven’t experienced too much culture shock in Chile, but I definitely feel reverse culture shock whenever I go back to the US. My cultural bearings (and implicit expectations) have been shaped by a mix of American, Chinese, and Chilean culture
I moved to Chile just 2 days after graduating college and made my decision to move less than two months beforehand! If I could have done something differently, I would have at least acquired my residency visa before moving (it was long process to legalize my degree from Chile). On the plus side, I already had a place to live and I was very familiar with Chile beforehand, so the move wasn’t as drastic as it may sound.
There is a huge expat community in Santiago. Both of my roommates are expats from Brazil and I have met expats from all over the world. It is always nice to be able to talk with other foreigners in similar situations. Enjoying the expat life in el pais de loca geografía!
Money struggles were one of the biggest challenges we have faced here. Also the comforts of home (that I think come from living in a place you have lived your entire life) were not at our new home in Chile until we physically created them ourselves. We literally built our lives over from the ground up in every way possible and that was extremely difficult.
I’m not sure you can ever be fully prepared to move abroad, even if you know the country and the language. Some things are bound to surprise and challenge you, though those are often great opportunities to learn about yourself too—in a way you just can’t when you’re home and everything is familiar. If I’d had the time (which I didn’t as a full-time graduate student), I definitely would have taken Spanish lessons before I moved because I didn’t just “pick it up.”
There are many expats here. Many are young adventure-seekers who are here very temporarily. Others come here with their families. I fall into neither category. So, sometimes, yes, being an expat can be lonely, but as long as you’re willing to get out and try new things and meet new people, there are plenty of opportunities.