Essential Lessons for Expat Living

Pat Yale (she who put the pat into expat), has been writing for the Today’s Zaman, one of two Turkish national newspapers published in English. She asked me (he who put the grey into emigrey) what I thought were the essential lessons for expat living in Turkey (or anywhere else, for that matter). This is what I had to say:

  • Be prepared for a culture shock and show respect for the country you have chosen to move to.
  • Do what you can to integrate and engage your hosts. Learning the lingo, at least conversationally, will really help (here I failed miserably).
  • Understand where you are: learn a little history and if there are English language newspapers, read them.
  • Keep the brain cells active: if you don’t have a job, develop some interests to fill your days.
  • Leave the whitewashed ghettos and go explore your new country.
  • Don’t rush into instant, life-sapping friendships with other expats; think emotional resilience and choose carefully.
  • Stay sober, at least part of the time.

And finally, a prerequisite for every expatriate…

  • …the wisdom of Solomon and the patience of a saint.

What’s on your list?