Being an expat can be enriching in terms of meeting new cultures and having adventures, but it can also be challenging. For example, you will need to make new friends and build a social network from scratch in your new host country. Another challenge is that you will encounter cultural differences on a daily basis, and you can develop your intercultural competence to deal better with these situations. My research has taught me a lot about these and other topics. Interested? Read about my findings and advice below.
A quick note on the term ‘expat’ – I like the following definition of an expat because it includes both those who are sent by a company as well as those who take their own initiative to find a job abroad – both groups face challenges in terms of settling into the host country. It is also a common definition used in academic research on expats. Business expats are “legally working individuals who reside temporarily in a country of which they are not a citizen in order to accomplish a career-related goal, being relocated abroad either by an organization, by self-initiation or directly employed within the host-country” (McNulty & Brewster, 2017, p. 46).
McNulty, Y., & Brewster, C. (2016). Theorizing the meaning(s) of ‘expatriate’: Establishing boundary conditions for business expatriates. The International Journal of Human Resource Management, 28(1), 27-61.