Being an Expat: Expectations vs Reality

Living abroad is an amazing experience and adventure. You develop as a human being, and have amazing stories to tell your future grandkids/anyone who will listen to you brag. But it’s not what films and books always describe it to be, or how your family and friends imagine your cool new life. You’re still human, who misses home comforts.

Expectation: You’re a suave, sophisticated jet-setter. A coffee to go in one hand, and your passport in the other.

Reality: Flight delays, dodgy wifi, forever looking for a plug socket. You look and feel messy, and scowl at those who treat flying like a fashion show. At least you know how to dress for comfort.


Expectation: You live in a cute, traditional flat.

Reality: Same as any flat share. Kinda scruffy if you go for the cheap option, and your flatmates can be a strange bunch.


Expectation: You practice the language all the time.

Reality: They know you speak English. And they will use English with you. It’s manners, but you wish they would test you more.


Expectation: You learn new, local dishes, perhaps buying your ingredients in local shops and market stalls.

Reality: You get excited finding home products in the supermarket. Baked beans? PG Tips? Worcester Sauce? Bring it.


But really, it is a cultural experience like no other, and you’re grateful for the amazing opportunity you’ve been able to have.

6 thoughts on “Being an Expat: Expectations vs Reality

  1. I can relate to so many of these! My flat could double up as an Ikea show home (if we ignore the fact that no one likes cleaning the bathroom), and one flatmate insists on practising her English even though she speaks fluent French… On the upside, I have two flatmates to practise my French with so all is not lost! I think living abroad has taught me to appreciate life in England that bit more, as it’s only when I’m away from it for an extended period of time that I realise how much I love my home country 🙂

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