Monday, February 4, 2013

The Expat Community: What People Don't Tell You About Moving Abroad

One of the biggest cocerns people have when they move is making friends and settling in. It can be hard moving to a place and finding your place in your neighborhood and making new friends. I have to say that my experience moving within the United States is pretty different from my international moves.

When we moved to Sweden ten years ago, I had no idea how we were going to settle in socially. I assumed and hoped we would have friends. What no one told me is that the expat community is very special. You see, when you live abroad, you tend to reach out to others easier. And it is amazing how quickly you can form a connection with another person when you are both struggling with language and foreign craziness. It seems that expats tend to often be in transition and rather than holding back in forming friendships, expats often are more forward and direct.

The same has been very true in Saudi Arabia. I'm amazed and grateful for the friendships I've formed so quickly. Women on my compound have been so friendly and welcoming. I went to a coffee morning today. I met several of my friends outside by the pool. As we chatted, I thought, I haven't known these women very long and yet we've made connections that often take much longer to form elsewhere. It really is a beautiful thing.

1 comment:

  1. You're right. I'm still struggling to make connections here after 5 years. We're too caught in our comfort zone, not reaching out.