Working Abroad: Common Mistakes Most People Will Make


If you’re an expat, there’s a lot of room for error, especially when you’re going out of your home country for the first time. And most people are guilty of making those mistakes. While some of them aren’t all that bad and you can fix easily, others might make you an undesirable person in the area you’re living in.

So, if you’re looking to work abroad, and move to a different country, let’s take a look at some of the most common mistakes people make, so you know to avoid them.

They Don’t Learn the Language

With sites such as available for you to very easily learn foreign languages, there’s no way to justify why you didn’t do that. Knowing the language in the country you’ll be working in is important for everything from being able to understand your work, to buying groceries and meeting new people. We aren’t saying that you must become an expert in those two months you have before you leave. But it’s good to have at least a good understanding of the language, there are a few reasons why.

The other big mistake here is that people also can’t find the confidence to speak the language when they’re there. This is another problem, but what they’re forgetting is that people know you are a foreigner – they don’t expect you to know it perfectly. But making the effort to speak it is often worth a lot in the eyes of the locals, and chances are they’ll be helpful if you want to learn it better.

They Act Like a Traveler

This is absolutely okay when you’re in a country for a couple of days. But if you’ll be working abroad, and if you’ll be spending a bit of time there, acting like a traveler is a mistake. You shouldn’t be feeling like you’re just getting by. Instead, you should do everything you can to make yourself comfortable.

Find yourself a good bar somewhere in your neighborhood. Be frequent there, get to know the people that work there, and the ones that are regulars. Find out where you can get some good food, especially the things you like. Get to know the owners of your neighborhood shops. This will make you feel a lot more comfortable.

They Overpack, By Quite a Bit

Unless you’ll be moving in the middle of the jungle, chances are you will find plenty of shops in your new home. Yes, if you’ve got yourself a favorite perfume you’ve been using for a good while, it might be tempting to pack five of them, just to make sure you never run out of them while you’re abroad.

However, the smart thing to do would be to actually find a local version of those things you love. Not only will things be much simpler, but that’s also a part of making that new country your home, at least temporarily.

They Only Make English-speaking Friends

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We’ve all been there. You go to a foreign country, and you aren’t at all comfortable with using their language. So you only make friends with people who know English. That’s not something you should be doing. Instead, be persistent.

Even if you know you can easily get lost in discussions, say yes when you’re invited somewhere. All you need to do is show your intention of friendship, and you’ll find that people will enjoy your company, even though you don’t speak their language very well.

They Don’t Make Any Expat Friends

When you’re in a new country, you will find yourself constantly ranting about the way things are. It doesn’t have to mean that things are worse. But they’ll be different, and nobody likes changes at first. Where you might get stuck, is the fact that locals are used to those things, and you can’t really complain to them about it because they don’t see it as a problem.

The solution? Find another person who’s working abroad. Whether it’s someone who’s there short term, or someone who has been living there for years, get someone you can complain to about these things. Sooner rather than later, you’ll find yourselves reminding each other that your lives are actually pretty great.

They Fail to Realize the Reverse Culture Shock

When you first set foot in your new home, there’s an unavoidable culture shock. There are things you won’t be able to get used to for a while, and that may seem tricky. However, the same thing applies once you do get used to things, when you need to get back home. Reverse culture shock is a thing.

When you come back home, you realize that you don’t really feel like you’re 100% at home. But after a while, you just realize that it’s not a bad thing, and you learn to enjoy it.