A holiday abroad only gives you a fleeting glimpse of your destination. You’ll pick up some important knowledge about the local landscape, the people and the culture, but in order to truly know a place, you have to live there. Expats who have been holidaying in a particular town or region all their lives can still be surprised when they relocate there permanently.
It’s not all about the region itself, either. Moving abroad is as much about you as it is your new home. Here are 6 ways in which moving to a foreign country is different to taking a holiday there.
You’ll Have Responsibilities
People usually go on holiday to escape their responsibilities for a while. However, unless you retire overseas, you’ll probably need a job to support you. Working in another country can be an enjoyable experience, though, and you won’t be short of things to see and do during your time off.
Life Back Home Will Continue
Life at home doesn’t stop while you live abroad. It can be surprising for expats to return home and find people have married, had children, moved house or switched careers. This needn’t be upsetting – thanks to internet technologies you can easily keep in touch with everyone back home. And while they are living their lives, you’ll be having a great time too. Just be aware that the first time you return home, things could be a bit different to how you remember them.
It Will All Seem Familiar
Even when returning to a favourite holiday destination, it can still seem fresh and new. Time away allows you to forget about it, to get excited about going back. After a while of living overseas, you’ll naturally get used to your new surroundings. At the same time you will keep finding differences from your old life to keep the excitement alive. Moving abroad is like making a new friend – the fun doesn’t stop once you get to know them better.
You Will Know More Than a Tourist Ever Could
You’ll only have a limited amount of time while on holiday to explore. It might be that you end up sticking to the most obvious activities and the destinations specifically aimed at tourists. By spending more time in the area, you’ll grow to know much more about it. You’ll discover hidden gems, such as quaint local cafes, or landmarks and places that the tourists don’t know about. You may also find that the locals are much friendlier towards you, as they will come into contact with you more often.
Learning the Language Becomes a Must
While you can probably get by on holiday with a few key phrases, or just hoping that people speak your language, when you live abroad you’ll need to have a much stronger grasp of the language. This will help you to better integrate with the culture, to read the news, speak to shopkeepers and restaurant staff and generally fit in.
The locals will appreciate your efforts, so if you really want to become a part of the community, learning the language is a must. Luckily this is much easier to do when you are surrounded by native speakers and media every day, rather than sat at home with a phrase book.
There Will Be Challenges
Everybody has their ups and downs while on holiday, but when you live abroad permanently you will naturally experience difficult situations. Illness, problems with taxes, or struggling to find essential supplies are all much more likely, if not guaranteed, to happen to you while you live abroad. Their adverse effects are often compounded by being in a strange place, with a different language and culture. These things can be difficult no matter where you live, however, so don’t let them dampen your feelings towards your new home.
All Part of the Fun
You might think moving abroad is like taking one long holiday. The reality is even better. There may be occasional challenges, but you’ll enjoy a far richer experience living in a place than you ever could by taking a holiday there.
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