Are you an expat? Do you feel like your host country is too quirky? Well, then you’ll be happy to know others do to.
I started following a few expat blogs, curious to see how other people experience living in a foreign country. I’m already surrounded by expats, but just wanted to check out the experiences of expats in other countries.
I have had my fair share of complaints about Belgium, some on good grounds, some just from being fed up. But in the last 2 years or so I have come to peace with many of the things that make me raise my eyebrows in wonder or disbelief. On top of that, I just got to the conclusion that there must be a cap of how much one can complain about their host country.
Nevertheless, in my quest to discover other expats I have noticed a few repetitive complaints:
- Language: “everything is in French” or “all the announcements are in Spanish” or “of course there’s nothing in English”. I cannot understand how one can expect that the country you migrated to would have the language of your liking. In most cases, there’s absolutely no obligation to have it in any other language than the national one. It’s as if I move to Spain and I expect the signs, announcements, etc. to be in French or Romanian. Ridiculous, right?
- Supermarkets: Most probably, you might not find your favorite products or have the aisles arranged the way you are used to.
- Bureaucracy: Trust me, this is like a bad virus that’s spread worldwide. Maybe you should ask expats who migrated to your country of origin about the red tape, see how they experience it. It might be worst than where you’re currently in. For example, I complained about how are things done on Belgium, but I have no idea what expats in Romania are going through.
- People & Behavior: Yes, it’s high likely that people, traditions and behavior will be different from the ones in your country. We’re not all made the same, it’s not a copy paste procedure. Plus, that would be very boring. So, I don’t understand people’s surprise about the locals’ reactions to certain situations being differently.
- Food: This is a given! This will rarely meet your expectations. Sometimes it’s better and you fall in love with, but there are cases when you just can’t deal with it. Both cases are expected. Local food depends so much on the region, weather. development of the country, religion, etc. So, with so many variables, it’s natural that you won’t get the same as your mom’s cooking.
- Development of the country: Rightfully so, if you follow international news you’ll realize that some countries have it better than others.
The list could go on and the complaints as well. But, how many of these issues are really problematic and how many of them are just a representative of the culture shock. I believe that unless you are being abused or treated in a bad way, you should come to terms with the things that don’t work. Most expats have the option to actually just move out of their host country and search for a better option. But most times is so much easier to choose a negative attitude. It’s such a shame! I have wasted maybe months from enjoying Europe because I was too busy complaining about what was wrong. SO, this blog is meant to encourage you to enjoy your time in each country you pass through.
So, just because it’s different, it doesn’t mean it’s bad or wrong!