The expat blues are probably at the epicenter of peoples worries when moving abroad. However, at least in our opinion, this is still seen as a taboo that nobody really wants to bring up. As usual, Apéros Frenchies has your back! today, I decided to share some top tips with you guys based on my experience regarding this incredible but also not easy journey of being an expat. Hopefully these tips to handles those expat blues will help you to get through this difficult time!
We often move to a new country by ourselves and most often for a job opportunity. We say goodbye to our family, our friends and we jump into a new adventure not knowing exactly how long it will last. But keep in mind that this is an exciting feeling and that’s the reason why we are doing it after all, embrace the adventure and keep in mind that expat blues is part of the journey!
1 – Open your heart to a new relationship
Have you ever noticed that people are usually more open minded in your new adopted country than back home? The expat syndrome is contagious!
When we live abroad, we usually leave everyone behind and start a new life. We don’t have our family, our best mates or ex classmates to hang out with anymore. It’s hard to socialise and make real connections. So, if you don’t take this opportunity to open your heart to unknown people, you can possibly end up by yourself at home feeling this expat blues. (And this is probably not what you are looking for! 😉
Why not go for some drinks with your colleagues afterwork and take this opportunity to build relationships. You can break the ice by asking some simple questions such as if they already lived abroad or moved to another city. It helps to break the ice and maybe you will find some common points to chat about. The main thing is that you put yourself out there and make an effort, trust me, you won’t regret it! Who knows, maybe you will meet your best mate or long-time partner in the process 🙂
2 – Try to socialise as much as possible
Yes, I know, it’s easy to say and especially during this lockdown time where we’d rather be tucked up and cosy at home.. but don’t be lazy, take this chance and remember that we always meet people for a reason! Why not ask this easy-going friend to go for a walk / run or to grab a coffee outside and tell him/her to bring a friend or two?
Never underestimate this spontaneous catch up, because sometimes that is how you make the best – unexpected – connections! By the way, we often say in French “Les amis de mes amis sont mes amis” (My friends’ friends are my friends). Get it?
3 – Use social networks
I have seen many times in the different countries/cities I have livedin, people posting in expat groups asking to meet new friends. It takes courage to do it, but I am pretty sure that most of them met some cool people to hang out with or good friends, you have nothing to lose!
Don’t be ashamed to ask, there is absolutely no shame in this! we all went through it and most people would appreciate it because they are probably feeling the same way but are too afraid to take the initiative!
Even though I personally don’t use Facebook that much anymore it is a great network to share these kind of experiences and to join expat groups in your new city (or just our Apéros Frenchies’ page 😉 )
4 – Exercise the language part of your brain!
What’s worse than living in a country where we don’t speak the language? Living in our bubble doesn’t help much either when trying to integrate! Although some languages can be more attractive than others, you really have to force yourself to learn. Believe me, I’ve been living in Germany long enough without speaking German to understand the struggle. 😉 It took me almost 3 years to start pushing myself to learn. I personally used an online platform : Babbel and I would recommend it to everyone. It’s easy, playful, and best of all, at your fingertips, online! It really helped me to warm to German and broke down lots of barriers to the language! ;’)
5 – Organise small events at home
Due to the pandemic, the restrictions are different depending on the country you live in. However, if we cannot meet in restaurants or bars, generally you are still allowed to invite friends over (check the restrictions regarding your country).
I realized that despite this lack of social life/ crazy nights, we’ve been forced to focus on what’s real and it is important. Yes, Friday night fever is cool but what about a nice diner and good wine at home with great people? You can have some good chats, and even learn new things about your friends, such as musical ability!
For instance, it might be a nice idea to prepare a special dish from your country so that your friends can also try something new, this is the core of expat life and experience! Friends are always happy to discover new cultures! Also, don’t hesitate to check out our article Apéro at Home – Plan the Perfect Apéro! If, you are running out of time, we definitely advise you to have a look at this website! HelloFresh delivers great recipes and fresh ingredients to your home each week!
Don’t worry, if cooking is not one of your best skills, you can still order food from your local restaurant using the handy app and keep it easy!
Anyway, use this opportunity to ask friends about their feelings and how they handle their expat blues. You’d be surprised when you ask this question that you won’t be the only one who has mixed feelings! 😉
6 – Zoom Apéro from Apéros Frenchies
You probably know about us because you’ve been to our networking events, right? Or maybe someone told you to come! I will soon talk soon about the reasons that drove me to build Apéros Frenchies and organise those events. However, unfortunately, we cannot organise events right now but some of you asked us about some digital Apéros to connect all of you guys!
We have already done it a few times and we had a lot of fun! Let us know it is something you would like to do again!
BONUS Treat yourself! (One of my personal favourites)
Who said we couldn’t buy happiness? It’s true that happiness does not comprise of an online order, but it can contribute! (Raise your hand if you agree!)
Have a look at it, find your perle rare, add it to your Christmas Wishlist and enjoy!
By the way, maybe you already checked it out before, but we have also written an article about our favourite products to buy especially tailored to a busy expat lifestyle!
Also, if like me, you crave delicious French chocolate, I can give you a tip, you can definitely buy a bit of happiness here! (That’s my personal secret but don’t shout it too loud!)
That’s it for today guys! I hope I helped you a bit regarding your expat journey with these top tips to handle these expat blues. Please, don’t hesitate to comment on our Facebook post if you have other ideas to share or would like to find out more and don’t forget to follow our Instagram page too!
Remember: You mum always told you “don’t talk to strangers!” ? BREAK THE RULES!