At Allianz Care, we understand that expat life varies for every person: some expats travel overseas for temporary assignments, while others spend their lives moving from post to post, and country to country. The journey is unique to every expat, but there are common experiences in living abroad, and similar lessons learned along the way.
1. Expat life can be thrilling and exciting. What was it about the lifestyle that turned you into a ‘serial expat’?
I’m originally from the UK and I’ve lived in Angola, Syria, Belgium, Switzerland, France, Germany and Chile. I also volunteered for a short while in India and Lebanon. I have moved for my work, for my husband’s work and just for the adventure. One marriage and three children later, I don’t seem to be settling down. As soon as we’re allowed, I plan to join my husband in Uruguay.
Like many serial expats, my lifestyle was not a conscious decision. I studied languages at university and as part of my degree programme I lived in France and Germany. Through these experiences, I realised I thrived in new settings. I am naturally adventurous and curious, and a strong believer in seizing opportunities too, so when a good opportunity beckons, I ask myself ‘why not?’ Some of us need more routine and stability, and some of us need more variety, and the type of variety we need differs from person to person too. For me, I recognise that I thrive in cycles. While exhausting, the serial expat lifestyle nurtures my basic need of routine variety.
2. What are some important things you learned on your journey as an expat?
3. What do you wish you had known before you started life as an expat?
4. Are there things you miss or can’t achieve when you’ve been on the move for so long?
5. Did you have any apprehension about uprooting your life to move to another country once again?
6. What tips would you give to someone who has caught the ‘serial expat’ bug?
- Check in on your bigger life plan now and again. It is normal to be caught up in the excitement, stress, and general business of daily life in a new country. I’m not suggesting detailed PowerPoint presentations, but it’s good to have an idea of where you’d like to see yourself in five and ten years’ time. When you have done this, make an outline plan of how you are going to get there. For example, my immediate plan is to move to Uruguay, but I hope to settle in Europe afterwards. I want to buy a home there, and my husband and I are budgeting to achieve this.