Pros and Cons of Being an Expat (By a 20-Year-Long Expat)
At this point, I have been an expat for over 20 years. I never actually expected myself to be an expat. It’s not something that I aimed to do, but when you love to travel and because I left with a backpack 22 years ago without any destination in mind and just wherever the wind would take me, I guess eventually I would have become an expat. Today we’re going to be talking about the pros and cons of being an expat, an expatriate.
Being an expat now for over 20 years, I can tell you one thing nothing will ever beat being an expat. Even if you could only do it for a year, or two, or whatever the benefits, the pros will completely and totally outweigh the cons.
The benefits will constantly and completely overpower the cons or the negatives, the disadvantages.
What are the cons of being an expat?
Just a quickie with the cons. Well, obviously the language barrier, but you can get over that. You can learn a new language. Yes, it will take you some time, but that’s the beauty of it.
You know what, you get over them, you get past them. That’s also something that you adjust to, and that’s the beauty of it. The interesting part is, pretty much anywhere in the world that you will be an expat, the people kind of assimilate to understanding that you are one of the locals, and they work with you. So really those cultural differences aren’t that huge.
I’ve been an expat now mainly in Central America, Costa Rica, and in Guatemala and one thing that I have noticed that is kind of a con is that the locals, unless they have left their country or are married to a foreigner, don’t really befriend you on a very close basis as often as you would with an expat community.
Your family isn’t close to you
But then again it could be a pro that you could go and visit your family often, making those more of visits more adventurous and more exciting rather than mundane visits to your in-laws or to your family. Also, your family is now also benefiting from you living in a new world, in a new country.
Pros of Being an Expat
That actually brings you to the biggest perk and pro and the benefit of being an expat is the expat community. It is an incredibly close community. Basically anywhere you go, they are welcoming. They are always really open to making new friends, making true bonds, because a lot of times our families are not close by. You kind of make a new family when you live in a new country and that is such a huge deal, and it’s usually very multicultural.
The other massive, massive advantage, especially if you have children, is that your kids will be raised in a different culture but still have the benefit of visiting your other culture.
They will also have the advantage of learning new languages and their friends will be multicultural, and international, which makes them a lot less ignorant. A lot less discriminate, as I have seen a lot of people that never leave their areas, their hometowns, or even their countries.
When you are an expat in Central America or Asia or countries where your money can go much further. You also have many perks for having a cleaning lady, and a nanny, sending your kids to private schools, and sending your kids to Great Daycares.
Working from home, if you are a remote worker, permits you to be able to go and see so many other places and live in those places for a longer period of time. If you really want to become an expat, and you don’t have a remote position or a digital nomad style of life allows you to become much more creative. So you are able to kind of find a new way to work and a new way to make money so that you do have the capability of moving to a new country.
Also, the fact that you are in a new country, in a new place, because of that, you want to explore those areas even more. So you’re kind of by default traveling and experiencing a lot more, but more in a local kind of a way, which is probably the most enriching thing that you could do for yourself and even more so for your children.
I have been an expat now for over 20 years. I am happy to give advice on how to be an expert, and what to do as an expat. I have an entire series about moving to a new country and an entire series about moving to Guatemala. So there are just so many advantages and none of them will equal working harder, making more money, if you’re not using that money to truly enjoy your life. And by the way, you can make a really good living being an expat if you do it properly.
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