Within this section, I am going to tell you about a topic that represents the heart of this blog. Its blood. (exciting isn’t it?!)
Choose expatriation or not to choose it…? That is the question.
There, there, don’t double talk. Let speak frankly.
Today, the social pressure in France (and globally around Europe as I could see) is very important for students/graduates/young people. We mainly talk about the short expatriation: 6 months/1 year/2 years maximum. Enough to learn a language, to discover new ways of working, to be graduated, etc.
In France, some diplomas are unattainable if you haven’t spend minimum 6 months abroad (internship or in a school/university). Some companies organises languages exams during the recruitment process or give you case studies linked to a different culture so they can analyse your behaviour in an international environment.
So… You are an Undergraduate and think about going abroad because the Master’s degree you are looking for required a certain language skills? Or, you’re an employee and your company refuses you a promotion because you don’t speak an additional language?
But the pressure could also come from your personal environment. Your sister/brother… cousin… went abroad and is the pride of the family. Everyone is talking about him/her. Or your friends tried this adventure and show the benefits of such an experience…. Pushing you to do the same…
So you are asking yourself… Should I go? Should I do it? Like the others? Will things are going to better after this? Will I get rid of this pressure (wherever it comes from)?
Well… Yes… No. The answer is simply… not so easy. It depends on you basically. On your personality. Your desires. Today, you can see a lot of successful people without leaving their home country, even once. They never felt the envy or the need and it didn’t stop them to have a life they don’t regret.
It happens, more than once, to see some friends again, intrigued by my adventures. And when I finish my stories, they ask me if I regret anything, if my appraisal is positive. I didn’t do any conclusion yet because I didn’t plan to stop, but, yeah, it is positive. And travelling became an addiction to me. So some friends answer me, sighing, “you were right to go… I should do exactly the same as you”.
First, my answer was “yes, of course! Do it, it’s awesome. Come with me, if you are afraid to go alone. Come on!” Then, I took a step back. I’ve also met people who failed the expatriation. And it was their fault. They weren’t ready. They didn’t really want do it after all.
Today, my answer to these friends, to the people who want to do like me, is “no, of course no”. Why should you go? You sighed. You didn’t seem to be convinced yourself. You are not motivated. Forget about it now.
Arf…! A little tough, right? But I hope you understand what I want to tell you. No, expatriation is not for everybody. Suffering from the social pressure is not a good thing. No, you might not get more mature after your experience abroad. No, you might not succeed to adapt yourself to the local culture… to simply have fun.
And, speaking frankly, I think a failed expatriation could be worse than not going abroad and asking yourself if you made the right choice by hesitating, and could have louder consequences on your moral.
A true expatriation means you are committed to an organisation. You have a goal. You are employee, student, volunteer. You can’t just let it go, just like this, if you don’t like it and you wish to come back. What are you going to tell to your university in your home country if it asks you for the certificate or the reports, and it discovers that you gave up? What are you going to say to your employer, or your future employer, if they see you’ve stayed only 2 months in the job abroad?
In addition, dealing with a return of “failed” expatriation is not as simple as you can think. What to say to your family? Your friends? All people who lived a successful experience and pushed you to do the same?
It could create a self-shame. A discontent. Not easy to deal with…
To go on holiday, it’s simple, even if you don’t really know how to make decisions. You “just” need enough money and you go. If you don’t like it, you come back. You cancel your bookings, you change your plane or train ticket, you take your car. Obviously, it’s a little more difficult when you choose a cruise on the Atlantic ocean. You will need to wait for the next stop to escape.
To go as an expatriate asks for some organisation. Even if you only leave 6 months in an university and your accommodation and courses have been arranged by the university in the home country. It will help you a looooooot. For sure. And you won’t deal with all problems expatriates have to meet, but you will still need to do many efforts to adapt yourself to the new culture.
And then, even if everything is organised by your university, or your company, or by an private external organisation, so you can move in without any trouble, and will set up events for you so you can meet new people, etc. Are you going to like it?
Between 1 and 3 months, you can take upon yourself, ignore what you don’t like, and then you come back thinking you did it and that’s it. Well, this is not the objective, but ok.
6 months, it becomes a long time. 1 or 2 years, you definitely start to feel the long weeks, long days you don’t like.
The hardest in expatriation, from my point of view, it’s not about finding an accommodation, a job, a school. Depending on the countries or cultures, the challenge can be hard of course. But it is a short-term problem. You will solve these problems and will get rid of these. The most complex thing, it’s to adapt yourself to the local culture, that is not yours.
My advice to you, who’s hesitating, it’s to find information on the culture(s) you are interested in. If you don’t know where to go, please click on Choose your destination section. It might help you (I hope so).
To get information on the local culture is super important. You make a decision very quickly. You can discover things you would like to live, to experiment, or things to want to avoid at all costs!!!
But… BUT! Be careful. Cross check the information. We live in a world where information is made without any control. The fake news are everywhere. Exaggerations too.
Take this into consideration in your researches. Don’t read only one book or don’t surf only on one website to make a decision. Think for f…. Think please. I am begging you. And do not hesitate. Please feel free to contact me if you want to have a chat. Without any judgement. Just to discuss about your desires. Your fears. I can try to answer to your questions. I can give you my opinion on your travel plan. Whatever, I will be very happy to help you!