Confessions of an expat


Editor's PickTen things nobody admits but everybody thinks while living abroad

By Tom Frost

Expat JournalThere are several stages of expatdom, and during each there are a myriad of things that we learn about ourselves. Some are positive, some are negative, but all are nonetheless enlightening - as logically follows from a situation in which learning becomes a 24/7 proposition.

One of the truest things we learn is that our life abroad is not at all like we could have imagined.

Below is my list of 10 things that expats hate to admit while living abroad….

  • Your idea of achieving fluency in three months was woefully optimistic.
  • Though you invite friends and family to visit, you are surprisingly relieved when no one does.
  • You think about a particular food from your home country more than you think about your mom.
  • Being ignorant of most of what is going on around you is kind of a relief.
  • Making money abroad is a lot harder than you expected, but living with less is a lot easier than you thought.
  • You get more comments on your Facebook wall if you appear depressed than if you appear happy.
  • News from your home country seems irrelevant and overly-hyped. A new iPhone, so?
  • You have more in common with new friends abroad than old friends back home.
  • Keeping a daily journal or blog is way harder than it sounds.
  • You are aghast at how much you drink in any given week though it never seems excessive at the time and always results in new friends and new vocabulary.


Tom Frost is an American who has lived abroad as an independent expat with his family in India, Japan, Mexico, Argentina and currently lives on a small farm in Uruguay with his wife, author Maya Frost. Tom is the editor of Expat Alley; True Confessions of Expat Entrepreneurs and Freelancers.



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