Missing your BBC iPlayer? Can’t access Facebook? Expats and travellers often can’t log on to websites and services they use back home. A Virtual Private Network, or VPN, can help you reach those sites wherever you are in the world.
Today we are thrilled to share a guest post from Michelle, an American expat living with her family in Umbria, Italy. She writes about overcoming her fears, finding her voice in a new language, sending her kids off to an Italian school and learning to take things one step at a time – Challenges expats everywhere can relate to.
I wrote this post way back in 2006, about a year after we arrived in Belgium. I’m not joking when I say, I couldn’t have survived here without the internet. It was how I met friends, started a new career and stayed connected with friends and family.
My dependence on the internet has become even more pervasive over my expat years. Now I’m connected 24/7 via my smartphone. We have Facebook, Twitter and blogs on every topic under the sun. Most of these things barely existed when I wrote this post.
We all have dreams. Some of us want to travel the world. Some of us want to go back to school. Others among us want to start our own businesses or turn one of our passions into a career. But how many of us actually go after our dreams?
We make excuses to put our dreams on hold. We don’t have the time, the willpower, the skills and, most of all, the money.
But a new book launched by our friends at Married with Luggage can give you the push you need. After reading Dream Save Do: An Action Plan for Dreamers you’ll be inspired to go after your dreams and you’ll have the tools to attain them.
After six years in Belgium, I’m still surprised when people refer to me as an ‘expert’ on expat life. It may seem like I have this trailing-spouse thing all figured out. But, I promise you, that wasn’t always the case. I found my first years here very difficult, especially the first six months. When I chat with new expats in Belgium, I can’t help but remember all the stress and depression I went through. Though I tried my best to hide it, it was certainly I challenge I had to overcome.
This Flashback post isn’t a bunch of tips on how to get through it, nor will it solve any of your problems. What I do hope it will do, is show you that even if a trailing partner looks like she has it all together now, chances are she struggled in the beginning too. I hope it will show you there is a light at the end of the tunnel if you just hang in there.
One of the most important steps, an expat can take towards integrating into their new home country, is learning the local language. Learning a new language can be a daunting task, but one expat in Brussels is here to help. Claire Handscombe is a private language tutor who has recently published an ebook on how to learn a new language, called Conquering Babel.
We took some time to read through Claire’s book and found it practical and inspiring. We asked her a few questions about her expat experience here in Belgium and her new ebook.
I often get emails from people considering becoming expats. I try to present both the good and bad sides of expat life, for a balanced view of what they can expect. Here on CheeseWeb, you will usually find a positive view of expatriation, because for me, the benefits of living life abroad far outweigh the negatives.
Landing in a new country as an expat can be challenging enough. You need to deal with paperwork, making new friends, learning new customs and often a new language. But what do you do when you have to re-define your whole identity? If you’re a trailing spouse, this could very well be your new reality.
In Western society, we often tie our identity to our job. One of the first questions people ask when they meet is “so what do you do?” This roughly translates as “what box can I put you in, so I can make all sorts of unfounded assumptions about who you are.” Like it or not, our sense of self is often inextricably tied to our job. So what happens when we can’t work?