Many people want to live and work overseas but do not fully understand the realities of living and working overseas. Many think living overseas is cheaper or better than living in their own country. The truth is that living and working overseas can have benefits, and there are things you will pay more for and inconveniences you will have to put up with.
Here are some of my thoughts and personal experience about living and working overseas; there may be other things that others think about that I have not thought about or experienced.
It Can Be Lonely At Times To Live and Work Overseas
Many of us living overseas, particularly during the time of Covid, understood how lonely it could be at times. Many of us were locked in our apartments or homes or even our places of work; we were not allowed to go outside. We understood how lonely and limiting it could be to live and work overseas in that situation.
Depending on where you live, living and working overseas can sometimes be very lonely. Maybe you live in a country, but you are outside of a major city where there are other foreigners ex-pats or people with whom you feel you have something in common. This can sometimes be very lonely or limiting.
For some people, this doesn’t matter. They love to be alone. They have been in that type of situation, which may be something they enjoy.
Ex-pat Communities Are Always Changing
No matter where you live in the world, the ex-pat communities are usually constantly changing, especially if you live in a society where many embassy people come in for three years and then leave for a new post.
In one case there is always new blood coming in. So there are new people you could meet and new friends you can make.
On the other hand, maybe you find a great group of friends, and then suddenly they all leave at the same time, so you are left without any friends or need to find new friends.
I have found this many times in my own life as an ex-pat. I will meet some friends and they are overseas for a few years; we will have a great time together. Suddenly my friends all leave, and I am left without any friends. So I need to find and meet new friends.
One of the realities of living and working overseas, especially if you are a long-term resident like I am in one place, can mean there are constantly new people moving in and out.
You Will Pay More For Many Things
You will pay more for many things—especially things which may be imported. When I tell my American friends that a small box of cereal can cost over seven dollars in Vietnam, where I live, they are surprised.
The reality of living and working overseas, especially if you want to have certain types of food or things that you can get back home, you may find that they are not just twice the price but could be three or four times the price you would typically pay.
Many people have this feeling that living and working overseas can be cheap. But the reality is that it can be far more expensive than what you would pay in your home country for the same standard of living.
One area that many ex-pats have to deal with is schooling for their children. A western kindergarten overseas could cost you more than putting a child through college. Ex-pat schooling can be costly overseas, especially if you want your child to have a British, American, or Australian education.
You Get To Experience New Cultures
One of the benefits of living and working overseas is that you will experience new cultures and places. Most ex-pats travel quite a bit and see the country where they live and work.
If you love to travel, then living overseas can be great. And one of the added benefits of this is being able to experience new cultures, foods, friends, and places to travel.
But if you are a home buddy and you do not like to travel, do not like new cultures, and do not appreciate new types of foods, then for some people living overseas, t can be a painful experience.
Internet And Other Services May Not Always Work
Depending upon where you live, some of your essential services such as Internet or electricity may not always work. I have lived in many places overseas where there would be blackouts or internet problems. Sometimes, these blackouts could last for long hours.
You could buy a generator, but even if you purchased a generator, maybe your Internet does not work. Especially if you were living in a Third World country, there could be many inconveniences you may have to put up with, from road construction to construction dust, noise, electricity, internet, or flooding.
I have learned that you must know to go with the flow when these things happen. But it can be frustrating if you are under a deadline or you are under pressure and suddenly find that your electricity has gone out or your Internet is not working.
Medical Care May Not Be The Same As At Home
Depending on where you live, your medical care may or may not be the same as you would get at home. Sometimes your medical care maybe is better than you can get at home.
For many people who live and work overseas, one of their primary concerns is about medical care and if they can get the same type of care that they could get in their own country.
Working in Vietnam, I have found that my medical care here has been good. But I also have costly insurance to ensure I get the best medical care possible.
You Probably Will Not Have The Same Rights
You probably will not have the same rights as native citizens in the country where you live and work. In other words, you may want to buy property but may not be allowed to purchase property. You may have to live in a particular area or place far more expensive than where the locals live.
You may or may not be able to drive. You may have to pay more taxes or money to get a working permit. These are all things that can happen in any place you decide to live and work overseas.
These are some of the realities of living and working overseas. It can be more expensive, and there will probably be inconveniences that you will put up with that you would not put up with in your own home or country. But then, on the other hand, there can be significant benefits of being able to travel, experience new cultures, and meet extraordinary new friends.
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