Adjusting to Life as an Expat

I currently live in Nagoya, Japan, but this is not my first expat experience, and I have discovered what I consider to be some universal truths about life as an expat. The first and most important is that there is no one right way to live anywhere, period! Go easy on yourself about learning the local culture, language, and geography. All these things will come in time, and time is what most expats don’t give themselves. It takes time to explore, and exploration is the best way to learn the lay of the land, both culturally and geographically.

When it comes to learning the culture, many expats overlook the fact that their new work environment has a unique and often challenging culture of its own. Becoming comfortable in the work environment will increase overall comfort and energy levels. During the adjustment period at work, I recommend small neighborhood explorations. Get to know the rhythm of your neighborhood and your commute. This will increase your feelings of fitting in and help you find your niche and establish a grove.

Once a daily groove is established, a pattern of time demands emerges, and free time becomes evident. How free time is spent is vitally important. It is important to maintain a work­/life balance. When it comes to having a life as an expat, how well you prioritize determines the quality of life. Being honest with yourself is important. Your quality of life will be so much higher if you’re doing what’s meaningful to you, rather than what’s supposed to be meaningful to you. Live for you and not for the people back home, and you have a much happier expat existence.

Posted on 07 Jun 2015 04:21

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