An expatriate, or expat for short, is someone who has chosen to temporarily or permanently move from their home country to another one. There are many reasons why people do this. Some people seek a lower cost of living elsewhere so they can live more simply. Some move because of a job relocation for themselves or their spouse. Others are simply world travelers and want to experience life in other countries. Still others are students looking to live abroad throughout the duration of their schooling, with many deciding to stay there after graduation.
Whatever the reason behind the move, expats face many exciting opportunities and many challenges. Yes, moving to a foreign country can be scary, especially because you don’t generally have a support system in place when you make that move. You are largely experiencing everything on your own or within your small insular family or work group.
You know many things will be different, from food to culture to language. However, you may not really think of the details such as how you will get insurance for your health or even your car, how to take the bus or train around town, how to go about buying groceries at the corner store, or how the banking system works. These are all things you take for granted living in America but once you’re on foreign soil, they will hit you quickly as big hurdles.
Expats can find comfort in online resources, social media, and their new employer. It’s also helpful to know where your new country’s consulate or embassy is located and how you can get in touch with them. Here at BRIC Language Systems, we offer you helpful expatriate services and information for Mexico, China and Brazil.
Benefits of Being an American Expat
Being an American living elsewhere, you still retain many rights as a U.S. citizen. What are the benefits of retaining your rights as an American citizen while living abroad?
- Basic rights are not stripped
- Right to vote in American elections
- Still receive social security benefits, provided you lived and worked in the U.S. long enough to be eligible
- Still receive disability benefits, possibly with periodic disability reviews in the U.S.
- Can still keep Medicare insurance if and when you do return; cannot receive Medicare coverage while out of America.
Resources for American Expats
As said above, it can be scary living in a new country. But there are many online resources and support groups that can help guide you through this transition, like ExpatExchange, Taxes for Expats, Expat Network’s Job Board and Transitions Abroad.
Learning the language inside and out can be a huge help when deciding to live abroad. When you know the language fluently as well as the culture that goes with it, you are more confident in your ability to communicate with the locals. Check out BRIC Language Systems for an innovative way to learn Mandarin Chinese, Spanish and Brazilian Portuguese.