Top 6 Tips for Living in a Foreign Country an Expat

by David Tompkins

Learn the Tips and Tricks for Living in a Foreign Country as Expats

International living can be quite challenging, especially in the initial days. It’s okay to feel overwhelmed, but look at it as a new adventure. Be comfortable with the fact that as an expat, you will face challenges and uncertainty. It takes time to get your bearings right and fall in love with a new place.

No matter where you want to relocate or how you want to spend your expatriate days, planning will save you from a lot of last-minute hassles. You must be well prepared to quickly adapt to new living conditions and not get overwhelmed by the culture shock. Here are the top six tips to assist you to settle comfortably in your new home as an expat, digital nomad, or a global citizen:

1. Learn the local language

living in a foreign country

If English is not the primary language of your host country, you should try to learn the local language as soon as you can. Ideally, it would be best if you took language classes at least two months before you make a move. Once you reach your expat destination, practice speaking with your neighbors or fellow expats. Knowing the basics is important so that you can move around or go shopping as soon as you arrive.

If English is used widely in your host destination, you need to understand the subtle differences in the ways it is used. For instance, there are minor differences in the ways English is spoken in various regions of the United Kingdom. Fluency in the new language will make it easier for you to make friends and communicate with locals effectively.

Frankly, as long as you make an effort to speak the language, this will go a long way to being successful in your new destination country and being well received by the locals.

living in a foreign country

2. Stay in touch with family and friends

Being in touch with your loved ones and friends is important, especially if you have moved to a foreign country alone. This will assist you in fighting homesickness or loneliness during your early days abroad. These days, you have numerous options to keep in touch with your folks back home.

Facebook chats or video calls on Skype can be a few easy and straightforward options. If you have an international SIM card, you can also have regular conversations over WhatsApp and stay abreast of everything happening back home.

living in a foreign country

3. Connect with fellow expats through online forums

Moving overseas would also mean that you will be part of an exclusive expat community. You can get vital tips and guidance from those who have already been there and experienced everything as expats in a foreign land. Online expat forums are some of the best places where expatriates share their experiences and offer assistance to newbies. Another tip for living in a foreign country is to take advantage of online forums. Join sites like and to start with and look around for other local forums to get adequate advice. is also a great place to learn about your destination and also has some great expat forums.

4. Join a few local clubs and make friends

Life can get smoother and more comfortable if you are proactive in meeting and knowing the local people around. For young expat children, schools offer a quick and simple route for meeting new kids. Similarly, find hobbies that you like and find clubs or communities that enjoy similar things. The locals would be more than happy to welcome you with open arms if you take the initiative of moving outdoors and interacting with them.

living in a foreign country

 5. Adapt to local culture and customs

Not knowing local customs in a new place can be very embarrassing at times. Every culture or nationality has its set of native customs or traditions. Understanding them is important if you want to quickly get integrated into a new society with norms that are unfamiliar to you. Initially, you may be forgiven for being ignorant, but later you are expected to follow the traditions which the local people value a lot.

Do detailed research on the local customs while planning to move to a new haven abroad. Similarly, you should also have adequate knowledge of the corporate or office culture in your host nation if you are moving on a job assignment. Simple things like smoking behavior or greeting gestures can make a big difference when it comes to mingling with locals. For basic guidance, you can always speak to your colleagues or other expats and know more about what is expected of you as a relatively new expatriate.

6. Be thoroughly prepared before moving

The basics must be in place before you board the flight for your dream destination. The basics for your initial expatriate days would include opening a bank account if required, internet connection, and household utilities like water supply, electricity, phone, etc. A tip to living in a foreign country for expats would be to visit your destination at least once before you decide to move there permanently or temporarily.

During your first few visits, you should explore the neighborhood to see if grocery shops, restaurants, and other key shops are within easy reach. It will help you settle in your new abode in quick time without feeling lost or confused. Finally, it is also important to buy some global medical insurance before you move abroad.

Living in a foreign country as an expat

These tips for living in a foreign country for expats listed above will surely help you in planning your move abroad. However, there is no harm in asking for help or guidance if you find yourself lost. Possibly there would be people who you lend you a helping hand when you need it. It is almost impossible to be prepared for every eventuality as an expat, so don’t curse yourself if there are few hiccups along the way. Be practical and patient. Give yourself sufficient time to settle in and adjust to the new environment. Ultimately you will start liking the new place and get used to all the elements which an expatriate life brings.


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