Choosing life as an expat is usually usually requires some serious thought and determination. In this post, I’ll share some resources that I have found along the way that might help others. This is not an exhaustive list, so if you have any ideas for additional resources, please comment below!
Connecting with Others
There are lots of ways to connect with other expats, but you may need to be a little creative to get there! I strongly suggest Internations.org, as they host regular informal events in many cities throughout the world. The general meetings are usually in English, and some cities (like Valencia) host a wide variety of get-togethers. This was a great opportunity for me to meet some of the expat community before I moved, as there was a gathering while I was in Valencia before I moved there.
What about some adventure-seeking gatherings? Try Meetup.com as a way to find interest groups. In my own personal experience, these meetups have connected me with some really great folks who have become lifelong friends, and we saw some amazing sights together.
Online, check out ExpatExchange.com for a forum related to the country you want to visit. This has been a great way for people to post questions and answers about life abroad, and is an amazing resource! You can easily get lost in the wide variety of questions and answers, expat reports, and collaborative news articles about living abroad. Don’t say I didn’t warn you!
Learning a Language
I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: Fluenz.com is my electronic language learning tool of choice. As an educator, I am really impressed by the learning theory implemented in effective and useful lessons. I know there are other programs out there, but as an adult learner, I found the approach taken in Fluenz is the most effective for me.
If you’re looking for a free approach with more audio and workbook-style learning, check out Live Lingua, a language-learning website with a downright ridiculous catalog of languages. You can even subscribe to Skype tutoring sessions for a price to further your language development.
One final note about language learning: You get out of it what you put into it. If you really want to learn another language, you need to devote time, practice, and study to building vocabulary and grammar structures. Trust me, you will make mistakes… lots of mistakes. That’s okay! Being afraid to interact with others because you aren’t building strong language skills? Not okay.
I’ll wrap up the post here. Let me know if these are helpful or if you have any other questions I can answer in future posts!