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Learning a New Expat Home

Moving to a new country has to be one of the most exhilarating experiences! Learning a new expat home will help you to adjust to this new environment, to delve deeper and to truly appreciate the full experience of being an expat.

First, Learn About Yourself

The challenges you face as a new expat will force you to learn more about yourself. You’ll have to proactively create who you want to be.

When you live in an unfamiliar location, you have to make new friends. You need to establish a whole new life for yourself.

It helps you to decide who you truly are.

It’s easy to be back home where people know where you’re from and where you went to school. It’s easy when your family can fill in the gaps in a story for you and you can continue with familiar routines and habits.

Being an expat means learning more about yourself

When you move overseas, you will be asked who you are and what you’re all about. You will need to explain everything about your past and your present in a comprehensive way.

There’s no better way to decipher the most important bits of your life than moving overseas. There, you’re forced to condense those bits into an elevator pitch at a networking event.

While this might sound like a normal networking event woe, cultural differences and geographic gaps cause you to rewrite your history for a brand new audience.

As a new expat, you’ll have to decide what types of people you want in your new circle of friends. Decide who will bring out the best in you.

You’ll choose to define yourself with new words and new statements – perhaps you’ll even create a whole new you! Learning your new expat home allows you to learn about yourself at the same time.

Learning a New Expat Home

The excitement of moving somewhere new stretches from the planning stages through to the actual travel and then into the honeymoon stage. The honeymoon stage can last varying amounts of time for different people.

Some expats will fawn all over their new home for years. Others will stop adoring it and start complaining about it within weeks. Everyone is different!

But the best part about moving somewhere new is the adventure of it all. Think of how you feel going on vacation and exploring a new place. Except, as an expat, you get to be on permanent vacation. Well, except for that whole “work” and “daily life” stuff.

That’s an important aspect to remember when you move somewhere new…that:

  1. You will likely need a job and to pay bills and to set up utilities and all that boring stuff, and:
  2. You might have some free time just after moving before that reality hits. So, take advantage!

As a new expat, you’ll have to learn so much about the daily workings of your new home. Grocery stores, hardware stores, banks, doctors, and who truly makes the best cup of coffee around.

Expat life goals: finding the best cup of coffee in your new home

You will discover those in time, through mistakes and through recommendations from new friends and neighbors.

Don’t feel like you need to know absolutely everything as soon as you land. Take your time and make adjustments as needed.

Start With Some Basics

Moving to a new country brings us back to the basics, back to an almost-childlike existence. One where everything is new and we must learn how to navigate a different life.

It’s also what makes us expats such excellent tourists. We have an insatiable need to know more to better understand this new home. Expats spend more time here than a typical tourist and often show more interest than a local.

We have to learn this new life in order to survive in a new place. An expat who holes up and never integrates into a new place is inevitably unhappy and typically leaves.

Don’t be that expat.

Instead, be the one learning this new expat home. Appreciate all the challenges and beautiful experiences that come along with it!

Expats are the best tourists - they always appreciate the beauty of their new homes

Delve deeper into your new country – beyond the groceries and shopping. Learn about the culture and history and current events.

For example:

  • Who’s in office right now and what does the ruling party stand for?
  • When are the national holidays and what are their significance?
  • What do locals think aboout different areas of your new home? Asking about the evolution of neighborhoods and towns is a fascinating way to uncover recent history.

Learning these bits of your new expat home will help you to feel more involved locally. You’ll also show locals and other long-time expats that you’re invested in your new home and that you care.

And, selfishly, you can also get more out of your experience by asking questions and learning more about your new expat home.

You will benefit immeasurably more by knowing the ins-and-outs of your new country. Plus you might meet the right contacts to help when you need a hand.

Learning My New Expat Home: Malta

We’ve just recently moved to the island of Malta. So I’ve been out exploring on land while my other half explores underwater. There is so much to learn on an island with thousands of years of recorded history!

There are so many events to witness, sites to explore, and people to meet. It’s the best part about moving to a new country.

You get to learning about your new expat home and allow it to become part of your life story.

Each place I’ve lived in has affected me in some way. I’ve learned and grown because of each expat experience.

I already know that Malta will leave a lasting impact on who I am.

In exploring neighborhoods and villages on the islands, in taking tours and volunteering my time to give back to this community that’s welcomed me into the fold, I already feel like I know the heart of Malta.

A view of the Mediterranean with Malta's flag and the EU flag on the coastline.

But there is so much more to learn about the many people and cultures who have called these islands home over millennia.

I also have much to learn about current events – although the recent national election definitely provided a crash course!

The streets of Valletta were packed with celebrations over the course of a week. My neighborhood was filled with cars slowly driving around beeping their horns with flags waving in the wind from sunroofs and windows. It was an experience!

These are all parts of my learning experience over the months we’ve been here. And this trend will continue for the entire time we live here.

The key is just to never stop learning.

Keep Exploring and Learning

We’ve already had friends come to visit. Friends who already travel and live overseas tend to LEAP at new opportunities to meet up anywhere in the world! We’ve explored new places with them.

With more visitors booked to come to Malta over the summer, we’re planning lots of fun adventures to learn even more about these beautiful islands. I can’t wait to show our friends and family around and to keep making Malta feel like home.

Every new expat home becomes a piece of me. I always want every place I visit to leave a mark upon my heart.

Expats leave pieces of their hearts around the world. A piece of mine is still in Roatan, Honduras.

That’s the best part about travel, that you simply cannot return home the same way you left. You will have seen and done so many things that you will forever be changed.

Traveling does that to you. But being an expat and living in another country takes that experience to an entirely new level with even more profound effects.

Learning my new expat home of Malta is already positively affecting me. And I know I won’t leave this island the same way I arrived.

I hope your expat home does the same for you!

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Learning a new expat home comes with plenty of challenges -- and fun moments!
How to learn about your new expat home

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