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Hey,

I ran into this forum when I was randomly searching about living in Dubai, and started looking at the rest of the fourms, and I've always had the wanting to (lol I dont know how else to word it) of living life abroad, in a foreign land be it the UAE, South Asia, South America, or for the place that has a very special place in my life-Austrlia. In my line of work (Aviation) we do get to travel the world alot, but only in couple day or week intervals, if we even get to that level of aviation!

When i first started in aviation when I was 16 (well since i was kid but when i started helping out in a friends charter company) I read a magazine that had a article interviewing a pilot who spent 30 of 40 years of his career as a expat before moving back to Canada and in the end of the article he talked about what it's like being a expat whether it being a pilot for the Saudi Royal family flying around the world or a pilot for a european multi national corporation exploring europe, but always knowing where your home country is and knowing you will return home one day. He talked about what its like being thrust into living in different cultures, experiecing a tottaly different way of living from the norm of Canada. That's the article that even made my desire stronger to be a expat at some point in my life, to have that experience and be able to come back home and have those memories.

I am coming into a position this spring where I will be in a management level position at a new company, this position I am taking on is very prestigious, and even I'll admit it I am young to be in this position, I'm told ive excelled enough and developed a more then sufficient skill set and experience to be in this position which is why I was offered it (most in this position are in 30's or 40's, and I'll be appointed into the position at 22) I will be at this new company for 2-3 years at which time I would like to become a expat after that, or at least try to :clap2:

So, my question..... what made you want to become a expat?

- when did you know you were a "successful" expat (I would say when all the formalities of settling in have been done/job is good/made friends with fellow expats and locals and you can say to yourself over a coffee that "ive finally made it- im half way round the world and am successfully started and am nowliving a whole new life)

-how did you feel when you finally went back "home" for visits?

-I'm sure i'll have more questions later on, but thanks in advance.


Matt

P.S: My dream is live in Australia, or to experience being a expat in the gulf! :)
 

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Interesting questions - and I hope you get lots of responses here.

I suppose what ultimately led me to becoming an expat was the urge to actually use the languages I had spent so much time learning.

I don't think you ever actually "arrive" at a point where you consider yourself a "successful" expat. With any kind of luck, you one day realize that you're actually more or less "at home" in your new environment - and that you don't consider "back home" as your home base anymore. At least that's my definition of being truly settled in.

Over time, I started realizing that on trips back home, I wasn't really "back home" anymore. Life goes on - you change with your experiences and the people and places back in The Old Country change, too.

You should try and find a copy of Bill Bryson's book "I'm a Stranger Here Myself" (published under a different title in the UK, I think). After living in the UK for 25 years he and his family moved to the US (where Bryson is from - his wife and kids are British). His observations are spot on when it comes to the peculiar impression you get on return to your home country after a long period of time. And apparently, his stay in the US didn't last all that long. He appears to have moved back to the UK.
Cheers,
Bev
 

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Being an expat?

Hi,

I takes a good couple of years to say that you are settled now in a new country. That you know how the country works, you understand cultural differences. For you it's not a case, but it takes lots of practise to master language of a new country if it's not the same as your mother tongue. Also, making close friends takes time. There are ups and downs. Once you get through honeymoon stage followed by a big disappointment and second thoughts, then it's all sweet.

For me, after 5 years in UK, going back 'home' is like going for holidays. London is my home now.

All the best in your new country. Enjoy!

Zuzanna
 
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I don't think that I ever thought of it in the terms of your question. I didn't 'want' to become an expat, or 'want' to live abroad somewhere. I did feel from travelling at an early age that I was learning more about differences and similarities between peoples from spending time in communities around the world, and languages studies made integration that much easier. It simply seemed a natural step, when opportunities presented themselves to live in different countries, to take advantage. It genuinely didn't feel any more of a major move than moving from, say, London to Birmingham in my country of birth.

Success or failure was never really an issue - not as an expat anyway. If I moved to another country, it was because I had the resources to live there, and the incentive to make the move. If I left, it was because circumstances beyond my control had prompted a rethink. I've always felt comfortable with my environment, whether elsewhere in Europe, in North Africa, or in SE Asia. Integration never felt like a challenge, so there was no 'epiphany' of realisation that I'd made the transfer successfully.

On returning to the UK in the past I suppose the dominant feeling was one of disappointment. Living abroad challenges preconceptions about your country of birth, and the fault lines become more apparent. Many people's viewpoints, especially those who travel little, appear more parochial. Of course the same applies to some of those you meet in your adopted country. In the end it all kind of merges into a realisation that we are essentially the same, and that there is no Utopia out there waiting for us.

I've lived abroad for the vast majority of my adult life now, and I differ from the pilot interviewee you mentioned in that I'm pretty certain I shall never return 'home', nor has it felt like 'home' for a very long time. On the contrary, on the rare occasion I've been back I've felt like a stranger. Communities change, people move on. Home is where the heart is and all that, and the people that are important to me today are not back in the UK.
 

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So, my question..... what made you want to become a expat?
Health and the weather - my husband has bad circulation so we knew we'd be leaving the UK at some stage.

- when did you know you were a "successful" expat (I would say when all the formalities of settling in have been done/job is good/made friends with fellow expats and locals and you can say to yourself over a coffee that "ive finally made it- im half way round the world and am successfully started and am now living a whole new life)
That's a good question. Well we stopped calling the UK home as soon as we got to Australia. We were more well known here in a few months than we were where we lived in the the after 10 years! Acquaintances we made really quickly but I guess it's only just dawning on us that we have real friends here now (after 2.5 years).

-how did you feel when you finally went back "home" for visits?
We've not been back to the UK since we left in July 2007. We don't plan on going back for a while and my family enjoy coming over here anyway.

Regards,
Karen
 

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I was never really happy in t he UK having spent much of my life abroad through the British forces. I found the weather in the Uk oppressive, the people all walk around looking miserable (mainly due to always being cold and damp), so I couldn't wait to get away. Although it is my country of birth and most of my family are back there I can't see myself returning, at least not in the foreseeable future.
For me 'home' is where I have chosen to live, not the country that I happen to have been born in.

Veronica
 
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