6 Challenges for Expatriates Living Abroad

 Six Challenges for Expatriates Living Abroad

Living on foreign soil with unknown faces around may pose many challenges to an expat, especially those who have left behind the luxury of family support and a convenient lifestyle. No matter how mentally strong you are, the challenges that you face while living abroad can make life difficult. Everyone thinks that you won’t get at least some “culture shock”, but it happens to everyone.

If you cope with the issues with utmost determination and will, living overseas can be an enjoyable experience that you can cherish forever. Here are the top 6 challenges that you may face during your overseas stay:

  1. Inadequate Personal Support

Leaving behind friends and family for greener pastures can turn out to be a curse. If you are moving abroad, you need to take the initiative of sharing news, being in touch, and asking your loved ones for mental support. In today’s fast-paced world, even social networking can’t replace one-on-one interactions with people who really matter. Despite the distance, messenger services like Viber, WhatsApp, and Skype can be used to enjoy some face-to-face time with those who you really care for. Check out our Social page for more info.

2. Worries About Future Finances

Tensions regarding future finances can dampen your mood and desire to settle in a foreign land. Before you decide to start an expat life, it is important that you plan your future finances well in advance. Keeping yourself secure through adequate bank balance will assist you in living a stress-free expat life. If you are still unprepared, it would be better to revisit your plan and make the move when you have sufficient resources for those rainy days. Anxieties about future finances will lead you nowhere. If you are an expat, make sure you adequate life and disability insurance coverage.

3. Building Relationships Can be Difficult

It is a reality that living abroad without a partner can be difficult for various reasons. Being single, you may have the freedom to do whatever you desire, but you are bound to feel lonely at some point in time. We all need someone with whom we can share our deepest feelings. If you are a career woman or man who is very new to a city or country, finding the right person to build a lasting relationship may not be easy. You will have to play the waiting game and see if you are lucky enough to find the love of your life.

4. Adjusting to Different Business Cultures Difficult

As an expat, don’t expect local businesses to adjust with your style of working. For an expatriate, understanding and learning a new business culture can be quite challenging. It is always better to be flexible and have an open mind. Instead of being judgmental, learn to make decisions that are appropriate and work best for your business. Ask the people within your network to assist you in setting up your business in a particular location. And don’t be shy to ask for references or introductions.

5. Making New Friends Abroad Can be Difficult

For any expatriate, making friends is unfortunately not easy. Expats usually lament the fact that people move to expat destinations for two or three years and then leave. So, the friendships built during these years come to a halt when they depart. This is the reason why many expats don’t even think of making new friends as they would eventually leave. Don’t get down, you will meet people if you join a club, association, religious organization or socialize with your new co-workers.

6. Language Barriers Can Make Expat Difficult

If you are moving to a place where English is not widely used, communicating with natives can be a big issue. So, learning the common language of that particular location before you leave will definitely help. There are many language learning tools online to help you out if you are not too keen about hiring a language tutor. Remember that culture shock is temporary. With time, everything will become normal for you.

Being an expat has its advantages as well as disadvantages. There is no doubt that it can be very stressful for new expats. However, don’t let anxiety and stress overwhelm you. Being mentally prepared to face various challenges at the outset will help you overcome these woes with a cool head. A positive attitude is vital for enjoying every moment as an expat. If you take the right steps, your stint as an expatriate may turn out to be very fruitful too.

Importance of International Health Insurance

Before you pack your bag and baggage for expat life, having an international health insurance policy is paramount. Being prepared for the unexpected in terms of health and well-being will help you stay relaxed and secure. Grab one of the global health plans offered by Expat Financial and lead a tension-free expat life in your chosen destination. It is not difficult to get a quote and apply online.

Make sure you research international health insurance coverage before moving abroad

Moving abroad can be an exciting and life-changing experience for you and your family. If you are going abroad to study, work, travel or retire, it is vital that you be prepared for life’s overseas challenges, including healthcare. Unfortunately, many expats do not properly research international health insurance options before departure and some even think that their domestic plan will cover their health expenses overseas. In this article, we will discuss the importance of international health insurance, healthcare costs overseas in general and how to obtain a healthcare insurance quote online.

Will Your Domestic Plan Cover You Abroad? 

The short answer is probably no, but you should always check the fine print first. For most Canadians, if you are living abroad for more than 6 months, your provincial medical plan coverage will probably stop covering you and when it does, it will only pay a fraction of the overseas treatment and no evacuation costs. For most other nationalities, the domestic health plans that cover you at home will not pay for medical treatment you incur while living or traveling abroad. That travel medical plan can probably cover you up to six months or a year, but only for emergency expenses, not out-patient care, wellness, cancer treatment and much more. So it is usually best to assume the worst and plan for the best by buying a comprehensive global health policy.

Why Is International Health Insurance Important?

Healthcare systems are operated differently worldwide. Most countries have public and private medical facilities. In many countries, local health care plans may only cover a small amount of medical specialist treatment and prescriptions. Despite the overall quality of medical facilities, medical emergency evacuation is a very important aspect for expats. No matter you are residing in a country with limited medical services, or a highly developed country, the cost of ambulances, helicopters, traveling medical care and planes can be incredibly high if you do not have an adequate evacuation plan.

Expatriates should obtain international health insurance before departure. Such policies can provide you and your expat family with a flexible and worldwide service. It offers direct payment so that you do not need to worry about any out-of-pocket medical expenses. 

Healthcare Costs Overseas 

It has been reported by global researchers that medical costs have been increasing rapidly. In many countries around the world, private medical treatment is becoming more and more expensive. And medical costs for expatriates has also increased. For expats who want to use the private medical system, it is very important to make sure that you are covered by expat health insurance.

What if I Didn’t Purchase an International Health Insurance Plan?

Well, you should obtain a quote and get coverage right away. If you have a global health plan in place, do not cancel it until your new plan is in approved, paid and effective. If you have a Pre-existing Conditions Coverage for Expats pre-existing medical condition that is covered by an existing expat health plan, think very carefully about canceling that plan and perhaps keep it in place as new individual policies require medical underwriting by the new insurance provider.

How To Obtain Health Insurance Quote Online? 

Expat Financial offers various high quality and affordable international health insurance plans for expatriates living abroad and obtaining a quote is very easy. We also offer excellent service before and after you purchase your international health insurance plan as TFG Global Insurance Solutions Ltd, which owns and operates Expat Financial, acts as your independent advocate. Our firm is also very experienced in sourcing group plans for multinational firms with expats.  If you have questions about our international medical insurance plans or you want to discuss your needs and produce a customized quote, please contact us or complete the quote form.

5 Common Challenges Faced by Expats

Challenges that expats often encounter while living abroad – Five Plus One.

Moving abroad is often an overwhelming experience for any expatriate. The act of moving to a country that is unfamiliar to your own, a limited social network, and new cultures and languages can often feel burdensome on many people. As an expat moving abroad, there are surely going to be some challenges and obstacles when it comes to the relocation process, as well as the adjustment period once relocated. Many people will react to the stress in different ways as challenges will vary depending on location, cultures, languages, personal mannerisms and general customs of the country. However, there are a few common challenges that most expatriates encounter when relocating. We have put together a list of the 5 most common challenges faced by expats in order to aid in your settlement into your new country and allowing you to enjoy this adventure to the best ability possible. Note that the challenges below are in no particular order of importance.

Challenge #1: Fitting in

As an expatriate moving abroad, there is a big chance that you are leaving a large social & professional network back home. This can have a huge effect on someone, especially if you are someone that places a high significance on these relationships. Don’t fear, you are definitely not the first, nor the last expatriate to have the fear of not fitting in properly in your new city.

Challenge #2: A language barrier

If you are moving to a country that has an entirely different language than your own, the process of getting accustomed to your city and the locals may seem daunting. This is something that is ultimately unavoidable if you don’t know the local language beforehand. Read all about our advice on learning a new language while living abroad in order to facilitate the process, and jump-start the learning curve for your new life abroad! We do recommend trying to learn a rudimentary level of the foreign language before you take off, as it will facilitate the entire process of moving overseas!

Challenge #3: Being lonely

Don’t let the fear or the potential of being lonely prevent you from embarking on a new adventure and impede your decision to become an expatriate in a foreign country. It is extremely common for a new expat to feel lonely when they first move abroad. A key point to target when you relocate to a foreign country is to build strong relationships with the people around you. This will surely take some time, but it is important to try your best to form some bonds with the people and the city in which you now call home.

Challenge #4: Finances & money management

Organizing your finances, taxes and money management can be extremely difficult when you are living in your home country but adding overseas travel and living abroad to the mix, and things get very complicated. As an expatriate, you will have to decide if you will become a non-resident for tax purposes by talking to an expat tax expert – do not try to do it on your own. We have a list of some great expat tax advisors at our Links page. You will also have to advise your bank that you will be living abroad and probably have to set up new banking in your new home country. Most countries will want to see your visa documents and also some proof that you will be living there. It may be useful to keep your bank account back home as well. Having a bank account in your new host country in the local currency will still be invaluable and probably save you on foreign exchange. You may also have to move your investment account as well, so talk to your investment advisor and tax accountant to see what solution works best.

Challenge #5: Healthcare 

Making sure you have proper global health insurance while living abroad is one of the biggest concerns that many expatriates worry about when it comes to relocation. Local plans in your new host country may not be up to your standards and may only provide basic coverage and access to local hospitals. Most expats want to have access to private healthcare both in the host country, regionally and also for treatment back home. Having an international health insurance plan in place before leaving abroad will alleviate stress with finances, ability to obtain medical help and peace of mind for the duration of your relocation. Contact us today to discuss all your international insurance needs!

Challenge #6: Safety 

Yes, I know we said only 5 challenges, but we really needed to add expat safety to the article. As discussed in our expat safety page, personal safety is a very high priority for individual expats and expatriate employers and global mobility managers. While the world is safer now than it has been in the past, today’s security concerns and challenges range from terrorism, bombings, assaults, thefts and much more. It is vital that expats prepare for the worst when moving abroad and check out the local security in their new home country through both free and even paid information sources. Even expat destinations in first world countries can be fraught with danger – such as the terrorist attacks in Europe and mass shootings experienced in the USA. Expat safety should definitely be your priority if you are moving abroad or already living the expat life.