Things that Only Expats Understand

Wednesday, 25 Mar 2020

Things that Only Expats Understand by Send My Bag

Everyone’s expat experience is personal to them, but there are some things that most expats can understand and relate to. Send My Bag have put together this blog with some of the most common circumstances and problems that expats tend to come across after moving abroad.


Change is a given when you move from your home to a new country, where there can be lots of cultural differences. You may see this change on a day-to-day basis in the smallest of things, like when you are doing your food shopping and can’t find the food that you like, things are priced differently and you don’t know what to buy and what not to buy. What was easy and simple at home turns into a more challenging task and can be somewhat overwhelming. However, these changes are good because you are challenging yourself and learning something new every day.


In an article by The Business Insider, one of the things that expats said they wish they had known before they left their homes behind was the feeling of loneliness, especially upon moving abroad alone. An expat spoke about not knowing how to make friends in their first month of living abroad. However, they said that this pushes you to be more confident and “creative” with how you meet people and forces you to overcome any fear of introducing yourself to people and going to social events. From doing this you are more likely to meet people and build friendships with people from all walks of life.

Valuing things differently 

Moving away from home can make you value the simple things in life. For example, when someone introduces themselves to you, making you feel welcome at a time when you are feeling a little lonely and homesick. Or when a friend or family member gives you a call, sends you a care package, or comes to visit you. It’s times like these that can help to shift your perspective and value the smallest things, and not take them for granted.

Dietary changes

When you move abroad it will be hard to stick to what you know when it comes to things like food. At first your diet will most likely be a matter of trial and error, trying to find out what you like and what to avoid. You may not be able to get your hands on your favourite foods from home, but you can learn to love a different cuisine and find a new favourite food.

Immigration processes

The legal requirements of moving abroad can be a pain as immigration laws can vary for different countries. From obtaining a first-time visa to your permanent residency, these processes can be very mundane and time-consuming due to strict requirements and all of the paperwork that may be involved. They can take up a lot of time and money. However, you will feel a great sense of relief once everything has been sorted and you can focus on building your life abroad.

You Don’t Need to Have a Detailed Plan

In the article by The Business Insider on things that expats wish they had known before they left their homes behind, one expat advised that when moving abroad “you don’t have to plan as much as you think you do.” They said that not having a detailed plan forced them to “figure things out quickly.” Things can change, so going with what feels right when you are there can take away the pressure of having everything worked out.

You Will Return Home as a Different Person

As cliché as it may sound, living abroad is a life-changing experience as you will be pushed out of your comfort zone, faced with some fears and challenges, and be forced to do things differently. All in all, this can make you change and evolve as a person and if you decide on moving back home, you are likely to return with a new perspective and a new lease of life.

Even if you do face some setbacks as an expat, you won’t regret the experience of living abroad!

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