No matter how settled they are in their home away from home, the support of family and good friends is hard to replicate. For many expats, the decision to repatriate can be confusing. It's not always clear. After living in a country for a few years, it will no longer be strange and the way of life will have become less strange with each passing day.
This familiarity can make the decision to leave much more complicated. After three and a half years of living in Cyprus, it has become my home. I have a routine in my life, I know my way around, and I even understand food labels in the supermarket. Whatever your reasons for returning to your home country, there are a number of things you should consider before doing so.
Just as you needed to carefully plan your move abroad, you should also prepare in advance for your return home. While you'll be familiar with your home country and will likely have a strong network of friends and family, there are still a few key areas you'll need to consider. But at the end of the day, I don't miss it too much because my quality of life has improved 10 times in other areas of my life. In general, I live a comfortable life where my basic needs are met and I don't feel held back financially.
B) Stopping being an expat or living an international life doesn't mean you're now 100% local. You're not, because expat life has changed you forever. After 15 years as a serial expat, this is the approach I took. I decided to treat Estonia as if it were a foreign country that I had never lived in before and that I knew nothing about.
Katherine is a retired world traveler and former serial expat for 15 years. Based on his professional and personal experience, as well as his doctoral research, he now helps expatriates, travelers, and location-independent people decide whether to stay or leave, whether to return home or where to settle down. You can't choose or change your family (or your old friends), but you can balance your old people by intentionally seeking new people who are expatriates in your country or even expats like you. Although my repatriation will be temporary, since there is already another expat adventure scheduled, the basic sensations remain the same.
You can keep it alive by surrounding yourself with new people who understand it and who have traveled the same path as you (even if they have had a different expat experience). Many expats, faced with this famous culture shock, can testify and share their experiences. One area you should carefully consider is the cost of living in your home country and how it compares to the country you've been living in as an expat. We provide valuable information, interaction, and resources to expats around the world at no cost.
Miriam Finerty was an expatriate in Cyprus for the past four years and is currently back in her native London preparing for her next expat adventure in Dubai. Likewise, the longer the expatriation, the greater the gap and the more difficult the readjustment will be. Many expats returning home are surprised and don't expect to live or relive this experience upon their return. For some expats, living abroad means higher disposable income and a lifestyle that's harder to come by in their home country.
Companies, in particular, although they are increasingly aware of the need to prepare their expatriates when they leave, do not plan anything for their return. Just as it's common for expats to experience culture shock or an expat flu when they first move abroad, many nomads and expatriates from around the world who are repatriating experience a similar set of emotions when trying to readjust to their previous lifestyle. When it comes to deciding if repatriation is right for you, one of the biggest obstacles for most expats is their many fears surrounding repatriation. Although not all expats (or migrants) leave their country of origin to find better opportunities or more adventures elsewhere, many realize, when adapting to life abroad, that their new life comes with advantages that they could not enjoy before (the opposite can also be true, of course).