Expat Struggles

Expat Struggles: 7 Things Every Expat Has Heard At Least 98 Times

Living the expat life is pretty bloody awesome. There’s a great adventure to be had when you jump outside the ‘comfy known’ to experience new cultures, lifestyles, foods and languages firsthand. I was so excited when I first left Australia – I knew the good old land down under would always be there to go back to but ahead of me was a lot of shiny, new adventures to be had. Now I am a resident of 3 countries and I’ve never looked back. It’s not all beer and skittles though and sometimes the expat struggles are real. If you’re an expat let’s take a moment to relate to these things that you’ve no doubt heard once, twice or a million times over!

Expat Struggles: 7 Things Every Expat Has Heard At Least 97 TimesThe expat struggles are real! If you're an expat then this post will be hashtag relatable af and you've surely heard all of these a million times.

“You’ll just need to fill in a couple of these forms…”

RIP to the entire forest of trees that died so you can fill in the one gazillion immigration forms! And that’s just before you even leave your country. Once you get there begins the next series of forms to fill in from finalizing your visa, to renting a place, to getting a job, to opening a bank account and all the rest. On the plus side, you’ll probably get really efficient because you’ll be able to memorize all the details.

“…but you live in…”

I never knew that living somewhere magically fixes every one of life’s problems but apparently it does. If you try to talk to your friends back home you know you’ll be met with people minimizing everything you say by responding with ‘oh it can’t be that bad – you live in…’ or ‘yeah but at least you live in…’ Sometimes it feels as if your address means you’re not allowed to struggle with anything in life.

“Where are you from?”

Well I’m visiting from place 1, but I moved there from place 2. Still, I’m not really from there because I moved there from place 3, but I was only living there for a couple of years for work and before that I was from place 4. But I guess if you want to get technical, I was born in place 5. I don’t even really know where I’m from so there’s no chance of me being able to give you an answer!

“What does that mean?”

When you first move to a new place, people have trouble understanding your weird accent and slang which means you constantly have to translate for yourself when talking to people. Then you live there for a little while and, like a chameleon blending in with its surroundings, you naturally adopt some of the slang of your new home. Finally people can understand you! … Until you go home that is. And now your odd blended language doesn’t make sense there.

“What do people from your country think about…”

Stay at home mums, religion, spicy food, Donald Trump – you’ll probably get questions about what people from your home country think about all sorts of things. That’s right, once you move overseas you move into an ambassador role for your country – and yes I agree that you should get some sort of allowance from the government with all the good PR work you are performing in your everyday conversations!

“What time is it there?”

The timezone struggle is real! When you’re living on the other side of the world then your first task of each day is catching up on the bulk messages you woke up too (& are now late to the reply game for). Scheduling an actual call can sometimes take the same logistical precision as running an airport because convenient for one side is usually the middle of the night for the other.

“Can you bring me some….”

Having a visitor basically turns into a creature comfort shopping trip for you because you know you send them a list of things to bring with them.  Then when they arrive, it feels like you’ve been working in a remote desert and have just received a supply of essential survival equipment from a helicopter. “Oh thank you kind soul for these chocolate biscuits! I know there are 35 different types of chocolate biscuits at the local store but these specific ones are essential for survival”.

Have you heard these before or do you have any others to add to the list?


  • Michael Hewett August 23, 2017 at 1:24 pm

    Definitely had to break through the slang and accent barriers our fist time across the pond! Its like huh?? What?? What do u mean?? Lol

    • Katie Mac August 24, 2017 at 2:52 pm

      Haha I can definitely relate!

  • wandering_woodsy August 25, 2017 at 1:35 pm

    Yes..that slang..you didn’t realise you were not speaking english, basicly have to learn to speak the correctly. The ‘but your living the life’ comment..yes it is more interesting because your surroundings are new but it can be a struggle..note that i am not complaining☺

    • Katie Mac August 28, 2017 at 10:16 am

      Haha yes so true! I didn’t realize how much slang I spoke until I moved away from Australia!


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