8 Tips To Becoming A Happy Expatriate

by David Tompkins

Become a Happy Expatriate with This Successful Guide

Many people are moving abroad these days to embrace the digital nomadic lifestyle. You’re scrolling through their Instagram feed colored in a myriad of delicious cuisines, cultures, and scenic backdrops. You might choose to become a global citizen because you want to be independent or want to explore spicy South Indian cuisines in India or become a yoga instructor in Bali. Whatever your reason to travel, you need to make sure you’re happy. Beginning a new adventure is exciting, and sometimes taxing, with all the paperwork you need to complete before basking under the sun in Brazil. So, where to start? It starts from within. Here’s a successful guide to becoming a happy expatriate.

happy expatriate

Be confident

Leaving your home country is an emotional journey. The spotlight is on you as your family members cast their doubts and worry on you. Some may think it’s impossible. But it’s often a reflection of themselves and shouldn’t impede your ability to go through with it. Be confident in your decision.  You’ve taken a bold move to explore the world, and you will be highly rewarded in your adventure!

happy expatriate

Research on visa requirements

Thorough and early research saves time, money, and stress. There are many visa options to choose from, so make sure you know what you’re doing in your chosen country. You don’t want to be standing at the immigration and realize should have verified a document in your home country or got the wrong visa.

Additionally, it is also essential to be practical about where you want to move, your accommodations, and finances.

International Health Insurance

You might be thinking, ” Nah, I’m healthy, alert, and super safe during my travels.” But getting insured is not just for your safety but for others as well. Some countries require you to get insurance. For example, if you’re planning to climb Mount Kilimanjaro, you would need high-level insurance.  It is vital to read the fine prints, as some insurance companies only cover specific things on regular travel insurance. A happy expatriate would have comprehensive international health insurance.

creative jobs

Creative Jobs

Getting traditional jobs can be difficult in a new country, but you can get lucky. Otherwise, get creative! Look at the skillset you have and the skills you can build. Research on the country you’re going to and find out what jobs are there and how it overlaps with your skills. Practice it in your home country and learn the ropes as early as you can.  Once you’re in your new home, get connected to expats as soon as possible, and learn from them.

Similarly, you can apply for work abroad programs. Teach English as a Foreign Language (TEFL) is a common option for expats. Maybe you want to teach English and spend your weekend volunteering in an elephant sanctuary in Cambodia. There are many other opportunities to explore, from conservation, childcare, sales and marketing, hospitality.  Expat resource center offers excellent information on job hunting.

expatriate network


Just like you, many expats are eager to meet other like-minded expats. Networking allows you to build a community and make friends. You can even explore neighboring countries together or even collaborate on a project. You should also network with the locals as it will help understand the customs faster.

Enjoy the culture shock

When you’re in a new country, and the culture is entirely different than yours, approach it with a light heart. Before arriving, do the prep wor. Read about the country you’re moving to, its mode of transportation, way of life, language. When exploring, be open, and practical. Most importantly, have fun!

explore food culture

Explore Food culture

Exploring food culture is one of the best ways to get connected to your new home. Check out the local market, try out fresh tropical fruits. Find out which restaurants make authentic breakfasts. Ask the locals what they like to eat and try those cuisines, tantalize your tastebuds!

Continue Learning

To be a happy expatriate, you must always continue to learn new things. The world is your classroom, and you should be bold in your adventures.  Remember, happiness comes from within, don’t compare your experience with another traveler. There are no strict rules for becoming an expat. It’s all about how you want to see the world. Your journey will be filled with challenges, but learning to solve the puzzle is the adventure. Expand your horizon, and don’t be afraid to discard old learnings, habits, and attitudes to make room for a new you.

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