The life of an expatriate is often fast-paced and full of new sights, sounds and experiences. Unfortunately, it is all too easy to fall into the trap of becoming a complaining expatriate with nothing good to say about your host nation.
Remember the Reasons Why You Fell in Love with Your Host Nation
Why did you choose to leave the UK in the first place? Was it to pursue a teaching position in China or Peru? One way to avoid becoming a complaining expatriate is to recall the reasons why you fell in love with your host nation in the first place. Was it the country’s rich cultural and historical heritage? Did you relish the idea of international travel, the opportunity to try exotic new cuisines and the chance to meet new and exciting people?
If so, go back to those feelings you had when you first decided to move abroad and try to recapture how you felt at the time. Taking the time to ponder on how you initially felt can help you to recapture some of the excitement you felt at the thought of moving abroad.
Of Course Your Host Nation is Not like Home!
One of the most common complaints that expatriates have about their host nation is that it is nothing like home. The climate, food, language barrier and culture can create barriers that are hard to overcome. As such, it is easy to fall into a complaining mood, shifting all the blame for your problems onto your host nation.
However, it is important to remember that it is pointless expecting your host nation to mirror the life you led in your own country. Of course customs, food and the climate will be different. Isn’t that one of the reasons you chose to move in the first place?
Treat Locals with Dignity and Respect
Some expatriates have earned such a bad reputation as ungracious, rude and unkind that many locals refuse to step in to help them when they are in trouble or are in need of assistance.
Do not treat locals with disdain. If you do, you are the one who will lose out in the end. Treat others with dignity and respect, make an effort to learn the language and to show appreciation for the culture and you will soon find that your situation as an expatriate improves. You will feel more included and at home than you would if you spent your spare time huddled in an expatriate community complaining loudly to other disgruntled expatriates.
A complaining expatriate is not usually welcomed with open arms. However, if you take the time to actually show appreciation for your host nation’s culture and look at the positive aspects of your new living arrangements, you will have less time to complain and a lot more to be grateful for!
More from this contributor:
How Often Should Expatriates Return Home for a Visit?
“I Love Your Accent” – Why Some British Expatriates Dislike This Compliment
Living Within an Expatriate Community: The Advantages and Disadvantages