±A - Join Our Community

JOIN OUR FRIENDLY COMMUNITY
Learn from the experiences of other expats and make new friends in our disccussion forums and Facebook groups

±A - Cigna

±A - Read Our Guide

READ OUR GUIDE TO MOVING ABROAD
The Expat Focus Guide to Moving Abroad contains everything you need to know when planning an international relocation available now, completely free

±A - Compare Quotes and Save

COMPARE QUOTES AND SAVE MONEY
Find the best health insurance provider or foreign currency transfer specialist by comparing free quotes

±A - Listen to the Podcast

LISTEN TO THE EXPAT FOCUS PODCAST
The Expat Focus podcast features interviews with expats living abroad and service providers meeting their needs subscribe today!

±A - Expert Financial

EXPERT FINANCIAL ADVICE & SERVICES
From our tax, investment and FX partners

±A - ExpatFocus Partners

Expat Focus Partners
Become a Partner. Click Here.

Columnists

Columnists > Michelle Garrett

Michelle Garrett

Investing Time In The Local Community

  Posted Tuesday October 22, 2013 (16:46:21)   (1893 Reads)

Michelle Garrett

One of the best tips for expats who want to cope better with homesickness and culture shock and get the most out of their time overseas is to get involved in the local community. There may be community garden projects, an eldercare charity, an annual church event or other projects, charities or events that always need new volunteers.

I live in a medium size village in Britain but my children don’t go to the local school so I needed to think of other ways to get to know the local residents. When a call was put out for volunteers to help with the Queen’s Jubilee celebrations I signed up. Through that I not only contributed to a really enjoyable day through months of planning and fund raising, but I also made some friends for life.

The local residents have been battling council apathy with regards to commuters speeding through the village. One car crashed into the school gates a year ago, an elderly lady was killed as she tried to cross the road and a cyclist was killed just outside the village at a junction. This issue is of great concern to the parents and teachers of the village school, which sits right on the main road. Although my children don’t attend this school, I am a local resident who uses and crosses the road and I have friends in the village who use it this way. To me it made sense to join in this campaign and help in any way I could.

I now run a blog for the village where we can post information about the area but also where I publish updates on the progress of this campaign. I also write about it sometimes on my personal blog, such as this post, Not even a Lollipop lady.

I’ve lived in this village for seven years now and I feel very much a part of the place. I know if I walk down the street I will meet several people I know and we’ll stop and have a friendly chat. I know that I can call any one of those people in an emergency and they’ll come to help. And I know they would know they could call me as well. Being involved where you live makes a world of difference to how much you will enjoy your time overseas!

Need more reasons to get involved?

1. You’ll learn more about your area.
2. You’ll meet more people.
3. You’ll break down barriers as people see you as interested in their welfare, sharing in their struggles and successes.
4. You’ll feel part of something—you’ll belong to something.
5. You’ll help make a difference.
6. The local area will be more like home for you because you’ll have invested emotional energy in the place.
7. You’ll think about this home when you’re elsewhere and returning to it will be even more enjoyable.
8. You can share valuable skills that the local community may not have.
9. If you are trying to find work this is a great network to start with—at the least the leaders will be able to give you a local reference.
10. It’ll feel good!

I know I’m not the only one who uses this technique to increase enjoyment of my life overseas. What do you do?


Michelle Garrett is an American expat making a life in Britain for over 20 years. Yes, she's still homesick for the States and yes, she'd be homesick for Britain if she moved back there!

Michelle is a freelance writer and blogs at The American Resident.

Read more of Michelle's Expat Focus articles here.


Michelle Garrett
Michelle Garrett is an American expat making a life in Britain for over 20 years. Yes, she's still homesick for the States and yes, she'd be homesick for Britain if she moved back there! Michelle is a freelance writer and blogs at The American Resident.
 
Link  QR 


Expat Health Insurance Partners


Bupa Global

Bupa Global is one of the world’s largest international health insurers. We offer direct access to over 1.2m medical providers worldwide, and we settle directly with them so you don’t have to pay up front for your treatment. We provide access to leading specialists without the need to see your family doctor first and ensure that you have the same level of cover wherever you might be, home or away.

Cigna International

Cigna has worked in international health insurance for more than 30 years. Today, Cigna has over 71 million customer relationships around the world. Looking after them is an international workforce of 31,000 people, plus a network of over 1 million hospitals, physicians, clinics and health and wellness specialists worldwide, meaning you have easy access to treatment.