living abroad challenges

6 Challenges of Living Abroad for Expatriates

Six Challenges for Expatriates & Global Nomads Living Abroad

Living on foreign soil with unknown faces around may pose many challenges to an expat or global nomad, 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 for expatriates that you may face during your overseas stay:

1. Inadequate Personal Support

challenges of living abroadLeaving 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. There are some great resources for expatriates as websites such as GoExpat and Telegraph Expat.

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, you must plan your future finances well in advance. Keeping yourself secure through an 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 a 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 have adequate life and disability insurance coverage. Expatriates should maintain their domestic life and disability coverage is this available as expat plans in the market are more expensive than a life plan you may have in place in Canada, the USA or the UK. Many advisors recommend that you have enough expat life cover to pay off your debts and then have a pool of capital that is invested and enough to replace 50% or more of your income.

3. Building Relationships

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.

Here are 5 quick tips on how you can strengthen your relationship when living abroad:

  • Create shared experiences
  • Establish trust and transparency
  • Concentrate on communication
  • Establish relationship goals and celebrate achievements
  • Maintain independence

4. Adjusting to Different Business Cultures

expatriates challenges

As an expat, don’t expect local businesses to fit 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 appropriate decisions 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. Your global mobility or HR manager may offer some support and resources as well.

5. Making New Friends Abroad

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.

It is the reason why many expats don’t even think of making new friends, as they would eventually leave. Don’t back down, as you will meet people if you join a club, association, or religious organization or socialize with your new co-workers.

6. Language Barriers Can Make Expat Difficult

challenges for expatriatesFinally, one of the common challenges of living abroad is moving, where English is not widely spoken. That would make communicating with the locals difficult. 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 on hiring a language tutor. Remember that culture shock is temporary. With time, everything will become routine 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 expatriate 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 proper steps, your stint as an expatriate may turn out to be very fruitful, too.

Bonus Challenge – Obtaining Medical Insurance

Before you pack your bag and baggage for expat life, having an international health insurance policy is paramount. This is because a medical incident, such as an illness or accident, can be extremely expensive when living abroad. The media is full of stories from expats and tourists who have experienced a medical emergency without adequate medical coverage and have been financially ruined. Remember, you have to buy insurance before an incident happens, not after – you would be surprised how often we get calls from expats and tourists who have been injured or become ill abroad and now want to be covered, but this is not how insurance works.

Global healthcare is not too expensive and should be available assuming you are in decent health, but note that many pre-existing medical conditions can’t be covered, or you may not qualify for coverage. When you apply for expat healthcare, most plans have medical underwriting in the form of medical questions, which their underwriters will consider and then come back to you with a decision.

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. We source excellent global health insurance plans for global citizens and expatriates who are working or retiring abroad.

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