The biggest pros and cons of life as an expat

Expat pros and cons

Expat pros and cons

Making the decision to move abroad is a big one. Whether it’s for employment opportunities or to live in a city you’ve always dreamed of; moving to a foreign country is an exciting yet daunting change in your life. For some people it’s their greatest dream whilst for others it’s their biggest nightmare. We’ve collated a few of the most prominent advantages and disadvantages of moving to a foreign land to help you consider whether it’s the right move for you.

Pro: Broaden your horizons

We all like to think that we know our own culture quite well. However, the moment you set foot in a foreign land for a long-term period you suddenly lose that normal familiarity that you take for granted, however rather than that being a negative think of it as an amazing positive! You will become hugely knowledgeable in that new culture and you’ll gain valuable experience of another way of life. In the increasingly globalised world we live in today it is a hugely useful asset that you can draw on whenever you want. You’ll also find yourself becoming a lot more adaptable to changing situations which can be used in almost all walks of life.

Con: The language barrier

A lot of native English speakers will tell you that as a group we’re not very good at learning languages. That normal assumption that everyone just speaks English where you’re going immediately gets challenged once you see the reality of day-to-day life in a new country with a different language or even just with significantly different dialects and slang. Learning a new language is slow and frustrating and while it pays huge dividends, in the end, it is a slog to manage on top of all the other changes you’re getting used to.

Pro: Discovering local gems

Most of the time when people travel abroad it is for work and tourism only. For this reason, many people usually go to a foreign city, see the same things everyone goes to see and try the same local or national dishes. When you actually spend weeks, months or even years in a new land you quickly find out about amazing hidden gems that you would have never considered. Maybe it’s a spectacular waterfall a few miles outside the city or an ancient temple or church that the tourist trail has missed. You’ll have time and access to the places that most people miss out on.

Con: Local quirks

Every country and its people have their local quirks which seem incomprehensible to everyone else but must be adhered to like the British habit of apologising for everything or American tipping customs. When you’re getting used to your new home there is always something unusual to you that you have to get used to quickly to avoid ridicule or offense. Obviously, when you’re planning your life as an expat it helps to come prepared.

Pro: Make a fresh start

We all have things about our lives that we would like to change and improve. Moving to an unfamiliar country therefore gives you the perfect chance to wipe the slate clean and make a clean break from your old routines and habits. You will make new friends, learn new customs and have the opportunity to completely reinvent yourself.

Con: Maintaining relationships long distance

Many an expat will tell you that despite the wonders of modern technology like Skype and Whatsapp, keeping in touch with friends and family takes a lot of work. Life is busy and with time zone differences in the mix keeping in regular touch with people is not always easy. With a little strategy, the difficulties can be reduced but a level of effort must be made if you don’t want to miss a birthday or celebrate a friend’s new baby.


So there you have it! These are just a few of the reasons that people either love or hate being expats. Do you think it’s the right course of action for you in the future?

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