Anyone who has experienced expat life will be able to confirm one thing: living abroad is a totally different world than simply travelling often and living in your own country.
The tourist feeling
By living abroad you sometimes feel like a tourist, especially at the beginning, because you don’t know the country and you are discovering a new culture. You see everything with fresh eyes.
The local feeling
However, the feeling of being a tourist soon goes when you make connections with the locals willing to share their in-depth knowledge of the city with you. You often can’t help taking advantage of your local friends and asking where the best paella is, the best bars to go for a drink and of course, you take notes.
Meeting local people will create a new level of perception and understanding of the culture. It is arguably the most exciting part of life abroad.
You also feel a little like a local when your friends or family are visiting you. You have already had the time to analyse the city and you are so excited to share everything you’ve learnt from this new culture and to show off your new life. You will have new habits, neighbourhood, friends, your favourite restaurants, the local culture and traditions. You become a city guide and after the first three or four times you will probably even start developing a script.
Who am I?
Expat life is a state of change. At the same time, you don’t want to be taken for a tourist. Nope. Being an expat also means cultivating a sense of “superiority” towards the tourists.
After a while, you really want to be emerged in the local culture and be considered as a local. Unfortunately, unless you’ve spent many years living in the same country, there will always be a wall separating the expat and the local.
You can think “But come on, I live here. I know every single place and I speak your language”. But even if you do, you belong to the community of expats. Being a stranger in a strange country creates a special bond that will help you to connect with a lot of people from different nationality.
You are an expat
Being an expat means being part of a special community. A community where you discover more, learn more, experience more, understand more than if you were just a tourist. You also appreciate than locals more than a tourist would. Expat life is an exceptional experience that will change you forever and is well worth sharing. You are not an expat yet? Discover the 6 signs that you are ready to become an expat.