Five Worst Things About Being An Expat

November 11, 2015

Expats encounter a lot of difficulties when living abroad. An expat or expatriate is a person temporarily or permanently residing in a country other than that of their citizenship. Contrary to the popular belief, life does not get any easier on ‘foreign’ soil. Over the years, many expats have voiced their opinion on the worst things about living abroad. Following are the five most commonly stated worst things about being an expat:


Homesickness is one thing that most expats feel. When living abroad, expats often miss the subtlest and simplest things of their home country. There are many things of their home country that expats miss including: its working practices, food, climate, language, and landscapes. Everything in the foreign country feels so unfamiliar. This is something most expats find difficult to cope with. Some expats try to curb their feeling of homesickness by spending a great deal of time on social networks interacting with people in their country.

Language Barrier

Another thing that frustrates expats when living on foreign soil is the language barrier. Being unable to communicate fluently and fluidly can surely be frustrating. Some expats have basic grasp of their adopted country’s language, but that usually is not enough. With time, expats pick up on phrases, words, and their meanings, however the phase involved in reaching there can be extremely frustrating.

Cultural Differences

Often when people move to a new country, the first thing they get is a cultural shock. If coffee is your support system, you may not like it if your adopted country has a lack of decent coffee houses. Even small cultural differences can impact expats negatively. Expats often get uncomfortable when they witness the local leading a routine life that is slightly or very different from theirs. Often, this can become a cause of emotional and physical stress.


The weather is one of the first things people look at when choosing a holiday destination. However, weather is least of their concern when people look to settle in foreign country. This is something they usually end up regretting. Sometimes, people take with them clothing not suitable for their adopted country when they initially travel to it. On reaching the destination, they realize that the clothes they have are not suited for their adopted country. This often leads to frustration.

Financial Concerns

Most people have a credit rating in their home country. This allows them to apply for credit cards and borrow money. Unfortunately for them, when they move to a foreign country, they need to start from scratch.

Since you are an ‘unknown’ quantity, you may have to pay large sums up front or spend a lot of time to build trust in order to qualify for credit cards or a loan. In view of the above, individuals must take primitive steps to avoid emotional and financial stress.

The bad or frustrating moments in life tell us about things we can improve. Therefore, knowing the five worst things about being an expat and understanding ways of overcoming them is important!

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Andi Perullo de Ledesma

I am Andi Perullo de Ledesma, a Chinese Medicine Doctor and Travel Photojournalist in Charlotte, NC. I am also wife to Lucas and mother to Joaquín. Follow us as we explore life and the world one beautiful adventure at a time.

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2 thoughts on “Five Worst Things About Being An Expat

  1. Pingback: Accessing Funds Quickly When You Are An Expat Visiting Out Of The Country | My Beautiful Adventures

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