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7 Expat Survival Tips

Popularity 10Viewed 4808 times 2014-12-18 16:58 |System category:Life| everything, countries, arrested, anything, nothing

I've traveled to 26 countries. I've experienced everything from being arrested and detained on a small Caribbean island while an American backed CIA coup was taking place on the next island over (don't worry; I did nothing wrong except possess a USA passport; they were extremely kind to me, gave me great food and put me in the big boss' office for the night), to an attempted robbery in Russia from two young guys, to, well, almost anything. 

When you travel as much as I have, you learn how to survive, or, you don't ever leave home again. Here's what I've learned in traveling to many parts of the world.

1. Adapt, adapt, adapt. You need to quickly find out what the local customs and laws are. Laws are pretty much universal anywhere you go. Customs are sometimes a bit more difficult to learn. Even if you have people from your native country around you. Most of the time, they won't tell you how to adapt. You have to figure it out. When in doubt, don't do what you are questioning. Wait until you know if it's the right thing to do or not.

2. Be nice, kind and friendly. This works around the world. Everyone appreciates a foreigner who is happy and kind. It isn't hard to do. Just represent your country well by being the type of person you hope everyone else will be.

3. Be aware of your surroundings. Be alert. Some countries, like China, don't have much crime. You don't have to worry so much in China. But in places like Italy or Russia (or the USA), you do have to be aware.

4. Be patient and tolerant. This is a balancing act. Patience is required. If you don't have patience, you don't need to travel abroad. You have to learn to be tolerant of others.

5. You need to learn to get what you need, not just what you want. If you can't speak the language, you can still survive. (I know. I've done it.) So learn to get what you need.

6. Start by finding restaurants that you are familiar with. When I came to China, I found a KFC close by. I knew that if I couldn't get food in other restaurants or supermarkets, I can always go to KFC and get something because it is familiar to me. I never eat at KFC in the USA. However, I am familiar with it so it's easy for me to go there and get what I need.

7. Get a positive mindset. Choose to be happy every day. Like a child, explore everything. As we say, 'stop and smell the roses.' Appreciate the small things. One thing I noticed in Zhengzhou was the beauty of all of the trees, flowers and landscape. It is as beautiful as anything I've seen in the USA.

There are many more tips to Expat Survival. These are few that come to mind right now.


(Opinions of the writer in this blog don't represent those of China Daily.)


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MichaelM

Michael is the author of the transformational book, Powerful Attitudes. He is a professional educator, an educational consultant, an author. He lives in Zhengzhou, Henan Province. He enjoys playing guitar and writing poetry. He loves China.

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