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Main lessons learnt as expats

Latest post at 15/03/2016 15:48:44
Hi all - we'd love it if you could help us for a feature!

What are the main lessons you have learnt as an expatriate? Based on your real life experiences.

EW Admin
3033
Posts

Latest post at 15/03/2016 16:16:57
I realise how blessed I am being from the UK where schools are free. You have freedom of speech. Tenants have more rights. Workers have more rights. Having a letter box is awesome. But mainly that everyone should be treated equally no matter of race or colour.
322
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Latest post at 15/03/2016 17:15:43
Being an expat in a multicultural place changes you. When you go back home you feel like you don't belong there any more. Your expat home feels more like home but is it really?
544
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Latest post at 15/03/2016 17:52:13
Change your mindset, what is right and correct where I come from isn't the way most people think and live.

You can't assume people have the common sense where you come from, common sense is completely different in different countries.

If you are out of your country and not paying tax, no one but yourself will take care of you.

I go back home and don't feel at home.

Job adverts that asks for certain nationalities, *** and age.

Human rights is far behind Europe.

Women's right are far away from the Western world.

A lot of people don't respect the nature and freely dump rubbish on the beach and desert.

People think it's ok to have children hanging out their windows driving and not wearing seat belts.
835
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Latest post at 15/03/2016 18:02:48
When you live outside your home country it's crucial what passport you possess. If you're unlucky to have a non-western nationality, your life as an expat is far more complicated and expensive. You have to go to a driving school to be able to drive, even if you have 20 years of driving practice in hard conditions. Your relatives have to apply for visas to visit you. Your CV ends up in a bin if you apply for a position where "western nationality, native English" etc are mentioned, even if you are fluent in English and three other languages. And if you are finally fortunate to get a job your salary will be three times less than a western expat would earn. That's what I've learned here as an expat. Passport is everything.
305
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Latest post at 16/03/2016 07:31:02
To be very very careful about what i might post online.
486
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Latest post at 16/03/2016 07:54:17
lovingthesun wrote:
To be very very careful about what i might post online.


Yes, the real lessons I have learnt and seen, should be left unwritten...
835
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Latest post at 16/03/2016 21:17:43
That there are many ways of achieving the same thing, and that my way is not necessarily the best way.
233
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Latest post at 17/03/2016 14:55:08
Ooo, lots of positives and negatives I guess.
1) the grass isn't always greener
2) you forget about all the things that annoyed you back home when you move here (lesson: remind yourself of why you moved)
3) when you go back home, you forget about all the things that annoy you here (lesson: as above)
4) gas and electric is cheap in the uk and the tv is the best in the world (lesson: appreciate things you had!)
5) I am actually an amazing driver! (Lesson: have faith in yourself when driving here)
6) wasta counts for a lot here (lesson: network and don't burn bridges)
7) enjoy every day (lesson: so many people are so envious of the lifestyle here - live it to the full)
8) if you're homesick, don't listen to Whitney Houston (yeah, a box of tissues was used up on that experience)
9) plan ahead for journeys and always keep your petrol topped up - the roads can be confusing and planning and a full tank of petrol alleviates any need to panic (especially when driving for 90 minutes for what should have been a 15 minute journey 😁)
10) be positive!
759
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Latest post at 17/03/2016 14:58:39
The main lessons for me are to understand a country’s history. Every country and its people are affected by their history and culture.

Knowing about the past history of the country you are visiting helps you to appreciate and understand their culture. It can give you an edge on how to react to people, how to approach/talk, how to behave/dress. At the end of the day, it’s respect for the country and its people whether we agree with their opinions and values or not.

I certainly need confidence in driving here…. and oh yes, neither is Australia any greener.

Yes, an absolute nuisance without a letterbox!
98
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Latest post at 17/03/2016 17:33:25
1. We're a lot more resilient than we think we are
2. Patience is a necessary skill you need to learn to prevent you causing harm to other human beings
3. NOTHING is simple, everything takes 5 - 6 times to get it done right in everything
4. Not everybody knows the words please and thank you... And sometimes that's okay.... Culture.... Sometimes
5. Your relationships will be put under strenuous pressure
304
Posts

Latest post at 17/03/2016 17:42:20
admin wrote:
Hi all - we'd love it if you could help us for a feature!

What are the main lessons you have learnt as an expatriate? Based on your real life experiences.

EW Admin


Can I send you all the main lessons I've learned the 'hard way' in Dubai? As i've got loads of them-trust me. To be an expat living in Dubai isn't all easy ......
11
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Latest post at 18/03/2016 11:38:10
Lessons I've learned as an expat in 3 countries

1. When someone invites you to experience their culture, which is different from yours, say yes as often as possible. You will rarely regret it.
2. You never know who you are talking to. Always be kind
3. At the core, we're really not all so different.
4. If making money was the reason you became an expatriate, don't lose sight of the goal
5. If you are on the receiving end of stereotyping--shake it right off and don't get bitter. We all do it at some level and we all experience it as well.
6. Be flexible and adaptable
7. If you have a lush lifestyle, don't get cocky. You never know when the proverbial rug can be pulled from underneath you.
8. Being an expat broadens your horizons. Not everyone gets that experience; be patient with your family or friends back home that aren't as open minded and well traveled as you are.
3835
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Latest post at 18/03/2016 12:52:45
You're as good as your visa + 30 days. Not more or longer.
425
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Latest post at 18/03/2016 13:50:41
Lessons I've learnt from my time in Dubai -

1) you will always feel like a guest here

2) majority of people are rude, don't move out of your way when walking etc

3) majority of people don't discipline their children

4) I am from the UK (Scotland) and miss greenery! Going for walks in the woods & fresh air

5) you may not pay tax but everything out here is extortionate!

Personally I find Dubai quite 'soul-less' and am very much looking forward to moving home :-D
3
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Latest post at 18/03/2016 15:32:53
Lessons I've learnt from my time in Dubai -

Smile and wave - As trying to get things done that should take 10 minutes, takes over a month

Education is not a ... given right, even though it should be

Patience on the roads - never driven in a country with so many inconsiderate and rude people ( and I have lived and driven in a few)

Sun - as much as its nice to enjoy the rays, green grass, rain, clean air, forests and snow is something I will always appreciate

Restaurants - The service is impeccable, and a pleasure, and the food is really good, ( only had 2 bad experiences since moving here, whereas my home country they could learn a bit from here)

Oh and Patience Patience Patience -- oh wait I lost mine ----- frustration or people being willful obstructive.

That kinda sums it up
63
Posts

Latest post at 18/03/2016 21:51:28
Sadly, the nature of social media is such that you will mostly hear negative stories because what would be the point in posting when everything is hunky dory ?

I've learnt lots of things since being an expat but the OP wasn't clear about whether it's an expat in Dubai stories they want or expat in general but the phrase "personal experience" probably means they don't want the usual human rights complaints trotted out.... Also, it's now illegal to post anything that could portray Dubai in a bad light...

In my 6 years here (not been an expat anywhere else), I've learnt than people can be fickle, Dubai seems to be the land of eternal self-promotion, and social media is both the best thing here and the worst. No point in elaborating because it will get deleted thereby proving the point lol

My personal experience has been a good one, maybe we've just been lucky - life here is what you make it and I can contradict practically everyone on here who has complained of high prices, rude people, difficult driving, etc etc...and a smile goes a long way - wherever you live
2680
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Latest post at 19/03/2016 21:42:39
I wonder why comments referencing EW's facebook page keep getting removed...
2680
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Latest post at 19/03/2016 22:40:05
The main thing I've learnt is: it doesn't matter who you are, what does matter whom you know!
It's sad but effective, and vitamin W works every time!
1503
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Latest post at 20/03/2016 14:36:59
We have now left Dubai but on reflection here is what i wish now;
- i wish I had given the less lucky around me more, way more - my maid, our mechanic. only in retrospect do i now recognise my true fortune
-i wish I had visited the world near and far more. Australia is so far away.
- i wish I had put myself out more and tried harder with friendships and social groups
- i wish we had gone to more Brunches
- now I look back I can see what was wonderful and not so wonderful about our school- I am grateful that a couple of years without me needing to work meant we got to have another baby. Something that wouldn't have happened in Australia.
- i know now how unfair the world can be - and am thankful that i was born with a western passport and english as a first language - i never realised the true value of this. This makes me sad.
- i know now that life isn't to be lived in one place forever. so many amazing places, cultures and people to see
- i also now appreciate that life can get too hectic and that some time at a slower pace, with less money and less certainty is OK
460
Posts

Latest post at 20/03/2016 17:47:39
My biggest lesson and regret here: Don't take out a loan to pay off a maxed credit card... it will cause more financial mess in the long run & you wont be able to leave easily if you ever need to
203
Posts

Latest post at 31/03/2016 11:11:30
Positive side of being here is that I love the atmosphere created by this country. I spend more money to enjoy every opportunity and event that they offer. It's an experience that I think that I can only get here. I don't want any regrets when I leave. I know I will have to one day.
5
Posts

Latest post at 31/03/2016 12:13:52
Live every day as if its going to be your last in the country. Seize every available opportunity that comes your way because thats when you will start to do things that make all the upheaval worthwhile.
1532
Posts

Latest post at 19/04/2016 11:47:41
I just LOVE that the kids get to mix with every possible permutation of race and religion, with no pre-conceptions, no judgments. Organising parties now sticks to the "No pork, no beef" and "Always have a couple of vegetarian dishes" rules :-D
100
Posts

Latest post at 03/05/2016 15:29:17
Patience on the roads - never driven in a country with so many inconsiderate and rude people ( and I have lived and driven in a few)

Sun - as much as its nice to enjoy the rays, green grass, rain, clean air, forests and snow is something I will always appreciate



Restaurants - The service is impeccable, and a pleasure, and the food is really good, ( only had 2 bad experiences since moving here, whereas my home country they could learn a bit from here)
3
Posts

Latest post at 05/06/2017 09:41:39
I found this post at a good time, as I am moving from the UAE in some time!!

Positives of this place:

- As a western expat I have realized that I have the better end of the deal - in terms of a job, perks that come with it and the lifestyle I lived based on what I earned.

- The Emirates is safe for a woman and mostly convenient (Dubai is good with it's transport. Sharjah and northern Emirates need to step up with their transport facilities).

- Other expats have been friendly and welcoming. I think we all know what it feels like to be in a new place and we're here to make friends and good memories.

Things to work on:

- Driving in the Emirates needs to change. It includes no tail tagging - if you are in a hurry move to the next lane and keep driving. It also includes indicating before changing lanes. Preferably full 3 seconds before coming in the other lane.

- Changing mindset about how people such as home helpers, mall cleaners, supermarket, café and restaurant workers are treated. Their salaries may be different, that still gives no rights to look down on them. We are independent adults - they are not here to tidy up our mess, to micro manage us or to raise our children. This is our responsibility

- Thinking about what children are eating. Lunch/dinner needs to include fruits and vegetables. Not just Oreo biscuits, chocolate and strawberry roll ups, juices and chips. Before buying those lets look at the back of the packs and see the fat and sugar content. I have lived in a few countries; and children as young as 5 and 6 should not have black color teeth.
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