An expatriate is an individual who left their home country to live and work in a foreign country (host country), generally on an assignment basis for a predetermined period of time. There are lot of benefits associated with an expatriate life, so that moving abroad is a carrier dream for so many people including me. The good things that go with being an expatriate range from higher financial gains, experiencing new cultures to making new friends and enhancing one’s adaptability
However settling in a host country is also full of challenges that expatriates rarely unveil. For example, adapting to foreign culture is not given for everyone. It requires lots of efforts, patience and good will to learn the new language and get used to the local customs. Additionally, the expatriate family life can easily get into troubles if at least one of the members, spouse or children, find it difficult to reside abroad or get split into different countries. From documented surveys, the issues resulting from the family life is the number one reason for expatriate failure. Finally residing abroad is accepting to live with stereotypes because expatriate is most of the time viewed as « the foreigner » in the host country so that some of their actions are being differently interpreted by the locals. At the same time, the expatriate is most likely to experience reverse culture shock when returning to their home country during breaks or at the end of the assignment. It is therefore common for an expatriate to be ironically considered as « a foreigner » in their home country.
Are you tempted to go for the expatriate life? Think of the obvious good reasons for such a move but also consider the hidden backsides of the experience.
International Business Development Specialist