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23 struggles all expats will understand

By Rebecca Steele - November 11, 2015

[Estimated time to read: 1 minute]


  1. Everyone back home thinks you’re on holiday.
  2. "I can't come out today, I am Skyping".
  3. ‘The [insert country] Stone’ – a common name given to the inevitable weight gain through increased (but necessary) socialising.
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4. “Why does the chocolate never taste the same?”

5. Asking relatives or friends visiting – “Can you bring me some [insert goods here]?”

6. Learning to become a master of charades, for when you need to act out simple phrases in place of speaking the local language.

7. Never having any holidays, as they are always used up going to weddings or hosting visitors.

8. As a result of the above, becoming an expert in local attractions as you visit them so often.

9. Understanding the money – handing over the equivalent of £200 to a taxi driver for a £5 fare.

10. You end up overspending – “Everything is so much cheaper here!”

11. You don’t buy anything – “Have you seen the price of [insert goods here] here?”

12. You become the official representative of all your countrymen in social events (even when you really don’t care).

13. Sending electronic greetings cards and getting stick for not being ‘personal’.

14. Dealing with visa renewals and applications seems like a never-ending process.

15. Deciding where to spend Christmas.

16. Telling the same expat stories several times to different groups when you visit home for Christmas.

17. Being on the receiving end of bitterness when you spend Christmas in the sun.

18. If you do finally return home, everything seems different from how you remembered it.

19. Everything becomes progressively less amazing until you become your stressed, angry self again after 6 months.

20. You get multiple cold calls from wealth managers offering you investment/insurance plans.

21. You watch the locals fill up their trolleys with sweets and snacks and feel guilty for your influence as a ‘Westerner’.

22. Once so happy to talk with taxi drivers, you prefer silence after the 100th automated response about your nationality/football team.

23. Pedestrian crossings are a deadly game of chicken.

While we can’t help you with most of these apart from number 20 (cleverly solved by downloading our Checklist - How to Pick an Offshore Adviser below), we can empathise.How to choose a financial adviser

Did we miss anything off the list? What doyou struggle with as an expat? Let us know using the comments box below.

Editor's note: Updated as of 10th August 2016