In The Happy Expat Family I interviewed 16 expat families living all around the world. Something that stands out in each of the interviews is how each of the families benefited from the move. These are some of their comments. Enjoy!
Tracey Krause (Expat Mom Living in Ecuador)
“I longed to follow an old dream of mine: to help women out of poverty.
Although we had all the perks of a North American lifestyle, with well-paying jobs, 2 cars, a big house in the suburbs, we wanted more adventure, more travel, and especially more freedom. I was tired of the consumerism I felt mired in – this didn’t align with my values. Although I loved my job, I didn’t want to spend the rest of my life fulfilling other people’s dreams, it was time to follow my own.
I had gained a great deal by living abroad, a different perspective, a shifting of values and a lot of adventures. I was hoping to give these types of things to my children.
My husband loves to live abroad, every part of a new culture and new place delights him… we have gained so much in terms of more time to be together, more freedom, more passion for what we do, less emphasis on belongings, more joy, less anxiety.”
Read more about living in Ecuador.
Carmen Priotto (Expat Teen Living in Lyon, France)
“To me, the best part about living abroad is that it is mind-opening.
I’ve learned a lot about diversity: diversity in people, cultures, states of mind, and possibilities in life.
Another wonderful part about living abroad, of course, is learning a new language. I am a big lover of words, and being bilingual is a gift, an opportunity to be be seized with no second thoughts.
In living abroad, I have met so many interesting people, and I am so thankful for that. I have made friends from so many different countries… My fingers AND my toes would not be enough to count all the countries they’ve lived in! These people have fascinating stories to share, and it is always amazing to be able to connect with them.”
Read more about how expat families deal with bad days abroad.
Ana Gaby (Expat Mom Has Lived in Germany, Thailand, Indonesia, France and Belgium)
“Just be thankful for the opportunity to experience new cultures and people. It is always challenging to step out of your comfort zone but your life will forever be enriched by the experiences and challenges you face while abroad. Figure out what brings your family together, at times that’s all that will keep you sane during difficult times.
Christine Surlien (Expat Mom Has Lived in Beijing, Hong Kong and the U.S.A.)
“…it’s the sum of everything. The people you meet on the road: Locals, other expats, and people passing by.
You even get to know your friends and family better, when they come and stay for days and weeks at the time.
Watching the kids effortlessly move around the world’s biggest and greatest cities, talking to people in their native language and making friends with children from all over the world.
The million small experiences collected through travel, shopping, being together with friends and children, and doing everyday stuff in a different culture. The victories and even the hardship. It makes you grow.”
Jamie Donahoe (Expat Mom Living in Switzerland. Has Lived in Bangkok, Thailand, and Hong Kong)
“I am proud of my daughter, who speaks English, French, German and Mandarin, and am continually in awe of people who are fluent in more than one language and switch effortlessly between them.”
Laura Campbell (Expat Mom Living in New Zealand)
“I think our girls have been “protected” from commercialism living here, it’s a simpler way of life where they are not as “spoon-fed” as they would have been in UK, and they recognized that themselves when they went back there for a visit.
Also with everything going on in the world, it seemed a safer place to be, tucked away in a corner at the bottom of the globe in the middle of nowhere.”
Eva Hamori (Expat Mom Living in Southern France)
“We didn’t think our life in Canada matched our passions. We lived to work, not worked to live. We made good money, but that did not equal happiness for us. Somewhere along the line, we realized this epiphany, just after we watched ourselves get sucked into the concept that we must constantly be achieving to have value.
We shopped for the newest fads, took expensive holidays to resorts, had spa weekends, new cars, but it didn’t fulfill the way the commercials said it would. Our search for a life that balanced time and money came into action. We gave it all up for a slower paced more satisfying lifestyle. We explored Europe in search of a new life… a life where we spend the maximum amount of time together, run a home based businesses in the travel industry and show our children the world first hand while they are still young enough to want to hang out with us.
We picked southern France and are actively living our dream.”
How Will Your Family Benefit From a Move Abroad?
Many families say that moving abroad has brought their family closer together and made them stronger. That has certainly been true for our family.
To read more about what it’s like to move abroad as a family, the challenges and the benefits, check out The Happy Expat Family. The book is designed to help prepare families for the challenges of moving abroad. Applying the tips and advise in the book will save you time, money and stress. It will also help you make a smooth move abroad.
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Do you live abroad? How has your family benefited? Please share by commenting on this post.