Tips for Expatriate Survival

An expatriate or expat is a person temporarily or permanently residing in a country and culture other than that of the person's upbringing or legal residence. In this case an expat could be travelers, students, those who are retired and wanted to settle down, business travelers and many more.

Some might think it's exciting to learn and travel abroad and some might not. What if you MUST be an expat? For example, if your company sending you to UK for conference or meeting. The answer will always yes! You have arrived; so now what? Or maybe you're insist to leave Malaysia and to find new job near London. On your first day reality sinks in. You'll be asked, why are you here?

So, you think the toughest obstacles are behind you or maybe not? Think again. Soon after the jetlag settles, you will encounter a whole new set of challenges including legal, cultural, social, and, in some cases, language barriers.  Below are some helpful suggestions to ease you into your new environment, and make the experience something worthwhile
1. Speak the same language. Do your best to learn the language and the local culture. You will quickly find out, that business communications (verbal and written). You will have to work on your language skills regularly if you are not a native speaker. Be prepared to dedicate time to this endeavor. It will be critical to your survival
  • Also, the more you learn about your new home, the better you will be able to fit into your new environment.  Understanding the history, current events and politics of your new country will help you to assimilate. Following major events are important for everyday conversation.   
  • Survival tip: read the local papers, watch the news, take language lessons, and again get advice from other expats. There is nothing worse than being on the periphery of a community. You could end up there if you lack the ability to communicate in the local language. Get involved in after-work social groups, join a gym, enroll in an evening or weekend course, etc. — any extracurricular activity which can serve as both a personal outlet and means by which to improve your cultural knowledge and language skills. Look for local resources that cater to expat communities and help integrate foreigners into the local community
2. Ensure that you have filled in the emergency information page of your passport.

3. Carry your driving license and identification card. This will help if there's any unwanted things happened to you

4. Read the consular information sheets, public announcements, travel warnings and CIA World Factbook entries for the countries you intend to visit

5. Familiarize yourself with the laws and customs of the countries to which you intend traveling. Remember, while in a foreign country, you are subject to the laws of that nation

6. Make two copies of your passport’s identification page. This will make the replacement of your passport easier in case it is lost or stolen. Carry one copy with you in a separate location from your passport. Give the other copy to friends or family

7. Leave a copy of your itinerary with family or friends at home so that you can be contacted in case of an emergency.

8. Do not leave your luggage unattended in public areas and never accept packages from strangers

9. Ensure that your baggage does not exceed the stipulated weight limit.


10. Do not wear conspicuous clothing or expensive jewelry and do not carry huge amounts of cash.

11. In order to avoid violating local laws, always deal with authorized agents only when you exchange money or purchase art / antiques.

12. If you get into trouble, try and contact the nearest embassy

13. Examine your health insurance policy to determine what it covers while you are out of the country.

14. Consider getting supplementary travel insurance.

15. Bring enough of your prescription medicines to cover you, in case your trip is extended. Carry them in their original containers to avoid difficulty at airport checkpoints


16. Carry the telephone numbers and addresses of the contact people you will need to talk to, after you reach your destination. Activate your Flexiroam credit an SMS on activation before departure. Remember that you can always call back to Malaysia easily and it cost you cheapest roaming cost RM10 perday. Visit http://flexiroam.com/my/ to reload your credit via maybank2u. Consider to reload depending on how many days you travel. 10 days reload RM100. The balance won't expired, don't worry!

17. If you have already made bookings at a hotel for your stay in your chosen destination, ensure that you carry all the booking details with you for ready use.

While life abroad might seem to present many uphill challenges, the potential return can be “la dolce vita”, a priceless experience that delivers professional and personal rewards..

Happy Roaming!
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