Whether for study, for work, for love or just a calling to see the world, you’ve experienced a different culture and called another country home. You have grown and changed, and may be all the stronger for it, however, as your expat adventure coming to an end, it can be challenging when you move home.
You may be glad to be home and still wish you were there as well - that’s okay - it can be a transitional period when you cease being an expat.
Here are some tips to thrive when you return home from living overseas.
You’re a different person after travel, you have learnt, grown and changed. Many people fear that they won’t fit in when they return home from living abroad, some fear that they will and they may lose the person they have become. Don’t forget, it doesn’t matter your location, you can continue to be the person you have become – your location is irrelevant!
Life back home may not have moved at quite the same pace as you have since moving abroad, but things will be different. Bear this in mind and be ready to find a slightly altered home to the one you left. Be open to any surprises that weren’t posted all over social media.
Reverse culture shock can be hard for returning expats. It can take time to adjust to your new surroundings, no matter how long you spent there previously. Take your time, think back to when you first arrived abroad – it may feel like you don’t belong, but this will return as you integrate more with home.
If you have been away for some time it can be natural to be nostalgic when returning home from living abroad.
Take some time out to adjust to your new life. It can be emotional saying all those goodbyes and then all the hellos as you leave your life abroad for the home you once knew. There may be parties – both leaving and welcoming. Embrace them, they are a good opportunity to integrate with friends and family, but remember to take some time for yourself. Deal with everything at your own pace, this will help you adjust and will keep the bank balance in check!
One of the best ways to get back into life at home is to throw yourself into it. Try to spend time with your friends, and get to know the new friends they have met while you were away. Find new groups, maybe even ones for expats who have returned home, it can be very helpful to share with others that have had similar experiences.
Depending on how long you have been away, it can be natural for nostalgia to creep in, especially when spend time with old friends or visit old haunts. Make it fun! Take trips down memory lane, but make new memories and meet new people.
If you feel like it, be a tourist! Explore the area again, it can be easy to slip back into your previous routine, but isn’t that the one you left behind… this could be an opportunity to bring your experiences from abroad into your life back home.
I won’t delve too deeply into the technical aspects of repatriating as it is outside the scope of this article, but it’s important to do your research and understand your rights. Look into your entitlement to healthcare and medical services, and investigate your tax situation - these can be different for returning expats.
The service was effortless to use and I was kept up to date all the way through the process with courtesy calls and advice from the same contact in the selling of my home abroad and returning the funds back to the UK. I would highly recommend this service to friends and colleagues in the future.
We just sold our house in Spain and used Foreign Currency Direct to change Euros to Sterling. They were extremely good and it was remarkably quick and easy. I would definitely recommend them.
I had the money from the sale of our villa in Spain transferred to my bank account in the UK. My contact was James and they handled every aspect of the transfer quickly and efficiently and after agreeing the rate the money was in my uk bank account the same day.
I used them to repatriate the proceeds of the sale of my house in France including a forward contract to protect my exchange rate. The service was exemplary and even included a French speaker in their office smoothing things with the Notaire who had no understanding how a currency broker worked. Their rates are very competitive and the broker interaction efficient, personal and reassuring.