How to survive as an Expat

12 December 2016

Be yourself

I remember asking for guidance how to behave to colleagues, because I am typically Dutch (read; straight forward and will speak up if I disagree). The advice I got was don’t change who you are. This has been proven to be a good advice indeed. Only by staying close to who you are, you can face the challenges that will come across.

It is no holiday

Let’s face it; the company didn’t ask you to go on a paid vacation. There is a job that needs to be done which they either couldn’t do with local people at the time and/or because of your personal development. People might think that when you go to a lovely country with beautiful beaches like the Philippines it will be like a holiday. But in real life I work my butt off in order to get the job done and don’t get to see much more of the country than the traffic, my office and my bed ;-)

Adjust at least a little

Ok, as an expat it is not the intention to stay permanently, but that doesn’t mean you should ignore the culture, customs and language they speak. Due to the high workload and everything I need to learn in a short period of time for my new role, I don’t have time to learn Tagalog. But I would have loved to! The few words I did learn so far are really appreciated and can be a nice ice breaker when building new relationships.

Take care of yourself

Because no one else will! This may sound a little harsh, but it doesn’t have to be. Back home you have friends and family that you know for a long time already and who will be there if you need them. As an expat they can be there for you too, but due to time differences that can be difficult and it is not the same. So make sure you look after yourself at all times and do what you love.

Don’t forget to relax and enjoy the country

If you can; go explore what the country has to offer! And make your friends and family back home jealous with all the lovely pictures. You might not be on a paid vacation but you can make them think you are ;-).

Ellie Veldhuis

  • HR Manager