Sunday, July 3, 2011

Expat Forums: Think of Something New

Heard it all before?
Photo: Jean-Pierre Knapen
Have you ever read through an expat forum and thought,
    "I've read all this before! Stop whinging!"

You know the forums I mean: nothing but expats moaning about the locals, the culture, the difficulty in getting a pot of Marmite or their favourite pop drink. I have to admit that I gave up on general expat forums some years back when I realised how exasperating some expats can be - the ones using forums to let off steam rather than contribute helpfully to a discussion.

There are of course lots of forums and sites you can visit that are full of fabulous, helpful information where you can have a pleasant interchange with other people in the same boat.

Anyway, I read something on Twitter that perfectly summed up my feelings about some expat forums and I wanted to share it with you - it made me snigger!!

On the British Expats forum, an expat in New Zealand (going by the name of Dustybin) posted a discussion entitled "Think of Something New". It starts off like this:

"I've been on (on indeed not on) here for a couple of years now and as with all forums the same old things are brought up over and over again. (If you are ever bored find a vw van forum and start a thread about the nice bull bars on the front of your van and see what happens  )

A few examples that spring to mind on expats are:
1. NZ is pants
2. NZ is not pants

These first 2 are normally replied to with either:
1. You are a miserable sod therefore i shall point this glaringly obvious fact out to you.
2. You are far too happy and I am a miserable sod therefore I shall p*iss on your bonfire.

That covers the popular two.
The other themes that seem to circulate weekly are:

1.I have stuff already, will that stuff fit/work/explode in my face/make me the talk of the town and cause the local ladies to want to have my babies, when i get to NZ.
2. I dont have stuff, is there anything in NZ that might possibly be useful or will have to make my household appliances out of bits of twig, moss and spit.
3. I have heard that there are people who may be foreign living in NZ and i may have to interact with them. Is there a way I can avoid this, obviously i want to fit in, but only with people who are the same as me in every way. In fact can i be cloned to save me the trouble of starting conversations with smelly people."

Sounding familiar? Dusty Bin then challenges readers to try a different approach....... If you want to read more go to the British Expats forum page.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Expat Friends - What Are they Worth?

Photo: Sanja Gjenero
When you are an expat your social circle is probably quite varied. How long you are living abroad, the circumstances that brought you to a new country and where you are living all contribute to the make-up of your friends abroad.

For my newsletter in June I wrote about the friends you make as an expat and how they compare to the friends you already have back 'home'. Here's an extract:

A recent expat survey conducted by the HSBC concluded that expat life in the Netherlands is not easy. The results claimed that it’s hard to learn the language, make friends and integrate into the local culture and community.

I ran a blog post on it back in May and the comments came pouring in from expats in the Netherlands, as well as Dutch readers.

It seems that many of the readers wholeheartedly agree with the survey conclusions. Making friends with the locals seems to be a real stumbling block and most people find themselves friends with expats, despite the effort they perceive they put in with the local people.

It’s an interesting topic – friendships when you’re an expat. Are they different to the friendships you form if you stay in your home country? Are the friends you make whilst you are abroad as close as the ones you have back “home”? Are they as long lasting? It got me thinking……

You can read the full post here and if you want future editions of the monthly newsletter Expats@Home delivered straight to your inbox you can sign up on the home page of