Inborn qualities make a living… And inborn qualities come to light when you’re out of the comfort zone. When you’re an expat, changes take you out of the fluffy bed from day 1, when the idea of moving abroad becomes flash and bones… in your mind. Then comes culture shock and homesickness, low self esteem in the new country and work place and the outsider’s perspective. Another phenomenon is also vulnerability. But all these situations shape expats’ personalities by bringing up to light human traits that make them interesting survivors.
#1 They don’t wait for the “perfect time”
Whether it’s about living abroad for a try, or working abroad to better things, expats-to-be have this skill of ceasing the moment. When don’t really wait for the ideal opportunity, but help create it. Expats’ personalities are like that, act-on-the-spot. Documents, documents, documents… then pack, say good bye and go!
Good lesson by the way! All we have is NOW. Waiting for the perfect time may end up in waiting for nothing.
#2 They experiment… with life
Most of them may not be researchers, but they definitely like experimenting. Just like a researcher, they get some background info and then test the theory they have by doing. What comes out of moving abroad, of choosing a country over another… that’s a test, because they never know for sure what’s expecting them. You get the point… or maybe you can still remember those shaky grounds. The best part about expats’ personalities is that without the need to test and thirst for novelty and chance, the rest of the expat story would not follow.
Experimenters see opportunity and decide it’s worth a try…
#3 They are too courageous to be true…
Too courageous to come out of the comfort zone, too courageous to try something new and get jobs below their education at first, too courageous to travel distances and invest all their resources in one big attempt. Or too courageous to experience homesickness, vulnerability, loneliness, economic crisis, culture shock… You name it. This is just top of the list.
#4 Very adaptable!
Adaptability is a a great sign of intelligence… just saying. Mainly because expats’ personalities need it out to day-light, activated, just like we need salt on our food.
Adaptability? Using a different language then your native one, smiling like Dutch when in Holland, accepting other religions as if you were part of the global brotherhood, understanding how the new society works, and trying to put that on as if wearing a second skin.
#5 They take normal for what’s real, and not some ideal idea
And that’s a great quality! Understanding that reality works as it works, not as you want it to, from the coziness of your armchair. Being present and enjoying REALITY AS IT IS saves time and energy and avoids life-sucking emotions.
Somehow, expats get to meet more different people in their life interactions than the average resident. Many of them get to love reality, other expats’ personalities too, instead of struggling to change people. The Employment Assistance staff, foreigners asking you all sort of questions in job interviews, kids using a different language than your mom’s, old people asking you for favours in the underground in a different way than your grannie’s, new tone at the cash desk, new look policy in your doctor’s eyes… Sounds familiar?
#6 They know how to ask for help
Let’s start from basic social science. People live in communities to support each other. Guess what, for expats is no more a necessity than a choice of courtesy to ask for help. Foreign ground is like getting around without Google Maps on your phone or a map in your pocket. Good luck, so to say!
#7 They care for their families… like there is no tomorrow
How do we know it, you may ask. Every 2 seconds, one of the expats visiting MobileRecharge.com sends a top up to one of his/her relative’s mobile phones. Imagine that! Does that mean they care? Does it mean they need to turn the childhood favour? Is this how love works when you’re away? Who knows…