The Expat Life is a temporary state for most people. There are some who prefer to stay an expat for the rest of their lives, but for most, they know there’s only a limited timeline for the expat life before they return home whether it’s because of their own choice, or they are simply re-assigned back home for their jobs.
Either way, your life overseas should be something that you always remember. Heck, living overseas is actually a part of a lot of people’s dreams, so here’s a few things that we suggest you do to maximize your life as an expat. Live the expat dream and leave no regrets when you come home.
Travelling cheap usually means backpacking. Try doing a short trip on a budget to the closest places around your current country of residence. Select the places that you don’t usually go for and go on an adventure on a budget. Travelling cheap allows you to get really close to the basic things in the places that you visit. The cheapest foods, accommodations and transportation also mean that you get to experience things that are way out of your comfort zone. If you know months in advance that you will be returning to your home country, try to go on a weekly weekend cheap trip as much as you can. This would also be a great bonding experience for the friends you’ve met as an expat.
Learn A New Language
As an expat, you may already know a few local words in the country where you live in, so why not take a full course before you leave? Language classes are always worth it when you realize that you can understand certain words that you constantly hear and finally be able to put them in context. You don’t have to be fluent, but being able to speak a sentence or carry out a simple conversation in a different language is a very good way to keep the culture and the experience close to your heart. It can be something that you can take with you wherever you go.
Get A New Skill
Being an expat is a skill all on its own, but if you can have something to show for when you get back, it can be a great win for you too. Try to get a new skill while you’re living overseas, like painting, calligraphy or even something as simple as cooking with a wok. Maximize the cultural influence of the country where you live in and learn skills that you can’t really get anywhere else. Who knows, maybe this skill will be put to good use back home as well.
Be A Tourist
Take time to remember what it’s like to be a tourist in this country. Sure, you’re almost a local now and you’ve seen everything over and over as a tour guide for your friends and family who comes in for a visit, but this time, try being a tourist all on your own. Get a map of all the most “touristy” destinations and try out all the touristy activities. Eat all the remaining local food you haven’t eaten (or wouldn’t eat) and take lots of tourist photos. You would be surprised of how jaded you have become when you’re living in the same place for a while. Being a tourist even for a day will open your eyes to the best things about your current country of residence and give you additional memories to cherish when you go back home.
Walk Trip/Road Trip
After acting like a tourist, it’s good to see all corners of the country. Do a road trip or a walk trip. If you are an expat in the US, try a solitary road trip across the country. If you are an expat in Europe and Asia, do a walk trip to the cities you haven’t seen. If you are an expat in Africa or Australia, do a random road trip to the middle of nowhere. A road trip is not the same as a budget trip. A good solitary road trip is something that everyone needs to do at least once in their lives. It gives you some much needed time for yourself while you go out into an unfamiliar place. Rediscover who you are while discovering something new. What better time to do this than while you are living overseas?
Gather your friends and party. You can do more than 1 going away party for all the group of friends that you’ve accumulated during your time as an expat. Make memories with these people and relive the good times you’ve shared with them over the years. Try joining a local festival and party like the locals. You can also do a house party, club party, street party or basically any kind of party you can think of. Celebrate your expat life and go out with a bang with all your friends in the country before you bow out as an expat.
Go Big and Go Cheap
Take some time to try the most luxurious as well as the most dirt cheap things that your current country of residence can offer. Experience a day or a weekend of extremes, this way you will get to broaden your experience and probably try out things that you won’t get to try anywhere else. This is a good chance to get to know more things about your current country of residence that you’re not even aware of.
Enjoy The Little Things
Look back on your life as an expat not just in the current country you live in, but also in other places that you’ve been to before, either as an expat or as a tourist. Take a look at your entire expat experience and remember the good and the bad. Sure, there will be little things that you take for granted, but you know you’ll miss—like the weather and things you can’t do when you return to your home country. Always enjoy the little things and remember that it’s these little moments that actually make your memories sweet.
“Do As The Romans”
Since being an expat is being neither a local nor a tourist, we suggested that you be a tourist for the day, we also suggest you try being a local for the day. “When in Rome, do as the Romans” they say, so this is a good chance for you to try out absolutely everything local, even the things that you hate the most. This is a good chance for you to step out of your comfort zone, deepen your experience and relationship with your current country of residence and make good memories that you can take home with you.
Make Your Mark
Do something that leaves a mark both for you and your current country of residence. It doesn’t have to be something as dramatic as a tattoo or anything of the sort, but this is a good chance for you to have a “I was here” moment. There are many things you can do to leave a mark in your country of residence. You can donate money or time to a local charity you feel strongly about. You can volunteer for causes or aid in any way that can help the locals and the country. This way, not only will you have good memories you can carry for the rest of your life, you will also leave a good memory for all the people that you’ve helped and know that somehow, even in little ways, you have touched the lives of others in a place that will forever be a part of your life.
Bucket List, Expat Lifestyle, Living Abroad, Make Memories