You dream of travel. You want to escape the rat race of North America and experience life in an exotic land. But you don't know how to become an expat. Where do you even start?
The first time I set out overseas, I had no idea what I was doing. I had signed a contract to teach English in South Korea, and off I went with $60 in my pocket! Also, at the time, I couldn't have told you where South Korea was on a map. But somehow I survived, learned the language, then spent the next three years living and working in Seoul.
And you know what?
You can do it too. We here at ExPatinformer want you to see the world. Above all, we want you to realize your full potential. And nothing helps you do that quite like being an expat.
All About the Expat Life
Did you know that being an expat is a way of life? It's true! Think about your life here at home. For example, you've got your routines, and you know your neighborhood and your route to work or school. Also, going into the store or out for a drink is no problem because you speak the language. Now, take away all of that.
Suddenly, you don't know the neighborhood, and you don't speak the language. In addition, your routine is completely altered. How does that make you feel? If you're terrified, then the expat life may not be for you. However, if you get a sense of excitement or relief, then you're ready to learn how to become an expat.
That's because the expat life is all about new things. You get to create a new lifestyle for yourself. Also, you learn new languages and ways of doing things. Best of all, you get new memories and new friends. It really is a life-changing experience!
But there are some things you should be aware of. If you want to know how to become an expat, you should hear a few tips.
Embrace the uncomfortable
For starters, being an expat is uncomfortable. Obviously, it's more uncomfortable at first and gets easier with time. However, you will continue to experience uncomfortable moments every day, no matter how long you stay overseas.
For example, every time you mispronounce something at a restaurant or with a taxi driver will create an uncomfortable moment.
Furthermore, ordering a pizza on the phone in a foreign country is the single most uncomfortable thing you can do. If you learn the language in your new home, however, it gets easier.
So as long as you can handle being a little uncomfortable, and even enjoy it, you'll be okay.
Discover new cultures
Then there are the surprises that come from discovering new cultures. Get this:
Some people might tell you that a lot of countries in the world try to look like the United States. They may even say that the U.S. is the gold standard around the globe. We're talking tall buildings, roads, and cars. Then there are t-shirts, jeans, women in high heels, and everyone is on a smartphone. Also, you'll see Subway and McDonalds and Starbucks almost everywhere you go.
So it's no wonder that aside from the language differences, the rest of the world might feel a little like America. But then suddenly, something totally weird happens. Like you're waiting in line at Starbucks in Moscow when thirty people elbow you out of the way to get to the cash register first. Oh right. They don't have the "line up and wait" culture in Russia. Or maybe there are ten young women in cowboy costumes dancing outside of the supermarket in Tokyo. That's weird, but that's Japan.
You get it.
Find a new you
Finally, when you're an expat, you get to recreate yourself in any way that you want. Were you too tired and poor to be an artsy intellectual back home? Well, now you can be! Nobody knows who you are. Your new friends await, and as far as they're concerned, you spend hours in art galleries and museums.
The point is that you can be the best version of yourself that you couldn't be back home. Most things are cheaper abroad (not including in the European Union) and people don't live to work (except in Japan) like they do in North America. So you can enjoy your life, and find out who you really are deep inside. That's the best part about being an expat.
How to Become an Expat the Easy Way
When you first set out to learn how to become an expat, you were probably excited. Also, you may have been ready for disappointment. When you think of an expatriate, you think of one of three things:
But did you know that there are plenty of easy ways for anyone to become an expat? It's true! You can get paid to travel and live abroad. Once you know how to become an expat the easy way, you're off to a new life. Let's dive right in.
Image via Pixabay
Do you have an undergraduate degree in any subject? If so, you can teach English. That is how to become an expat the easiest way.
When you're an English teacher, you get your airfare paid for, your visa covered, and even your health insurance provided by your employer. Also, you get an apartment you don't have to pay rent on.
English teachers are in demand all over the world. In China, South Korea, Japan, Thailand, and Indonesia, you can find a teaching job within a few weeks of looking. Asia is hungry for English teachers. Europe is a hard nut to crack because the British are right there and, until recently, had European Union passports. However, that's set to change. Check out Eastern Europe for amazing teaching opportunities.
Finally, Central and South America have growing English second language industries. Although they pay less, they provide an unmatched experience.
Next, you can learn to ski, and then teach others. If you want to know how to become an expat while having fun, skiing is one way to do it.
But you're probably wondering where you can teach skiing. Canada is a good start. In the Rocky Mountains near Vancouver, you'll find Whistler, a massive ski complex of several mountains that was home to the 2010 Winter Olympics. Expat ski instructors and resort workers can be found in droves.
If that's too close to home, you can check out France, Switzerland, Austria, or Italy. Basically anywhere near the Alps. They're always hungry for qualified ski instructors. And lately, in Asia, skiing has caught on. There are opportunities there if you dig deep enough.
You'll need a level 2 or higher certification, but that doesn't take too much time to get.
Another great option in your search for how to become an expat is to give tours. It is a fantastic way to see Europe. Native English-speaking tour guides are always in demand in Greece and Italy. With tourism in Croatia opening up, you'll find excellent opportunities there, as well.
But that's not all.
You see, if you follow the cruise ships, you'll notice that tour guides are in demand wherever they land. You can even become an expat in your own country! Just head to Alaska where hundreds of cruise ships stop every summer and guide groups of elderly tourists around Anchorage or Juno.
Image via Pixabay
Also, you can freelance and live wherever you want. Whether you write or take photographs or code, you the internet provides all the paid work anybody could need.
However, be aware that there are serious limitations to freelancing and travel. For instance, most countries don't allow people to earn money while on a tourist visa. That applies to web-based freelance work.
Also, you usually can't stay longer than three or six months before having to pack up and go. In your search for how to become an expat, the freelance life has drawbacks.
On the other hand, if you don't mind being a digital nomad, why wait?
Finally, you can watch other people's kids. The correct term is "au pair." Technically it means a foreign guest from another country who lives with a host family and acts as a domestic servant. You'll cook, clean, and watch the kids.
And while being an au pair can open up plenty of expat opportunities, it can also be extremely limiting. You might not get to see all the sights you want to see. Also, building any social life outside of your host family's home is a struggle.
However, if you don't mind being a housekeeper and this appeals to you, then try it out! Make sure you go through a licensed agency to avoid scams and potential danger.
The World Awaits
Now you know how to become an expat the easy way, the world awaits you. Imagine where you can be a year from now? Perhaps you'll be teaching English in a village in Thailand. Or maybe you'll be skiing the Alps in Austria? Only you can figure out where you want to go.
So get out and see the world!
Do you have any exciting tips for how to become an expat quickly? Let us know in the comments.