Are you an expat? If so, where do you live and which is your country of origen? What made you decide to live in a foreign country? How long have you been living in your country of residence. What are the pros and cons of expat life as you see it? Will you go home, or do you now believe you have a new home?
My country of origen is Ireland. I live in Germany. I have been living here for 7 years.
I want to live in a foreign country because I like variety. I have also lived in a number of other countries.
New things to do, eat, see.....
Learning and using a new language.
Burocracy gets more complicated when living outside ones own country.
Sometimes speaking a foreign langage can have disadvantages. I dont understand everything and if something is very important I need to have my boyfriend with me to translate.
Xenophobia. Yes, it really does exist.
I dont know if I will stay in Germany in particular, but I will certainly be spending a lot of time living outside Ireland. I think of Europe as my home place, rather than just Ireland.
Home country : New Zealand
Country of residence : Japan
Have been here 2 1/2 years so far this time, with a total of 4 years.
The primary reason for coming was language immersion. Another advantage to where I am living is the close proximity to ski fields :-)
I've experienced a range of reactions - from the xenophobia you mention Mel, to almost being killed by kindness 😊
Whether I live in Japan in the distant future or not is undecided. Thinking of trying to get something in Japan related to NZ, or something in NZ related to Japan.
I'm English and have been living overseas for the past 30 years.
I originally left the UK in 1977 to go to Germany as an au pair and learn the language. I ended up staying for 20 years and had a cussessful career. I met many interesting people and formed long lasting relationships. It was a really good time for me and wouldn't change it for anything. I learned the language and loved living down south i.e., Stuttgart and Würzburg, both offering great lifstyles and easy access to the countrside for a wide choise of R&R, good food and wine too. Obviously there were cons earlier on before I'd learned the language fluently but on a whole on looking back I don't really see many cons.
10 years ago I decided to give up the career and pack my bags and move to Switzerland. Fortunately for me I knew German and so was able to pick up the Swiss German quickly. I live in the alps and now work in tourism. Pros are being right in the middle of the mountais and being able to ski and hike when I want. The cons are very short seasons when we can only earn 9 months of pay, no unemployment benefits without going through a huge beaurocratic maze. A very convoluted tax system. High cost of living. Even though I love it here I'm currently looking at trying to find work closer to a city where I can work longer than 9 months a year.
Home country: USA
Country of residence: Hong Kong
I was recruited out of college to work in the financial bubble in Hong Kong for the last two years. Most of my friends went to NY which is a natural choice in America, but I figure I have the rest of my life to live in the states and have spent 21 years there already, why not leave and live around while still young and without much real responsibility?
Being an expat in HK is great. In Hong Kong especially it is an expat world and the whole place revolves around the expats living there. Drivers, maids, expensed meals, flights home, paid housing, etc. I guess it isn't really the best place to live to really REALLY immerse yourself in another culture, but it is definitely a whole other world. The compensation packages were amazing, and the whole city is young and transient. You make friends that will likely leave in the next year, but the whole city is really friendly because everybody there needs to be making new friends because everybody is foreign. It is a strange but fun experience. On the flip side, it is a bit sad that the city is so transient because many people end up operating on a superficial level, also because in such a small community everybody knows everybody, I see my bosses out drinking, most good-looking men, my friends have hooked up with before, clients are always in your social life... mixing social and professional is a given and that has been my biggest annoyance in HK.
I will likely move back to the US permanently eventually, but I intend on living abroad a bit longer. I figure America will always be there for me later when I need to settle down. I am trying to relocate to Latin America next to work in these markets and try a new country.
Home country: Canada
Country of residence: China
My wife and I have been living in Wuhan for a year and love it. After tasting warmer weather (most of the year), neither of us has any desire to go back to Canada in the near future. We won't stay in China forever but plan on working our way through a few more countries. I am getting close to retirement and thought that teaching in other places would be a great way to see the world. I worked in Scotland for a year as well a decade ago and loved that experience, too.
Pros: Low cost of living, close to many other great Asian tourist destinations, wonderful food, warm weather, short winter, champagne living on a beer budget, opportunity to learn a third language, friendly immediate service in shops and restaurants, still get flown back to Canada each year to see friends an relatives.
Cons: Bad air quality some days...but that is far outnumbered by all the above pros.
Home country: USA
Country of residence: England
I've been living in the UK for going on 4 years now. Moved here straight out of high school to go to school and never left (except to travel). Not sure whether it will be my home forever, but for now it's the perfect fit.
Pros: Up until recently the pound was the BEST currency to travel on - even going home for visits it was like a half price sale everywhere I went! Being close enough to Europe to take cheap weekend holidays is great, being in London surrounded by people from every other country in the world is amazing, and believe it or not, for the most part people over here eat up the fact that I'm a California native - I've never felt any backlash for being an American.
Cons: It's so expensive. So so expensive. I work 90 hour weeks to pay rent and to save for trips! And I've solved this problem, but darn the visa red tape. I had to jump through hoops for years to get a legal working visa as an American, and it was extremely hard and expensive.