If you are hoping or planning to spend time with anyone that has lived overseas for longer than 3 months, then this post is for you! Or if you are an expat going home for a visit, share this post with a friend or family member.
Expats want to come back to their ‘home’ country and spend time with people they love, but it can be overwhelming. So many people and things to do in usually a short amount of time! Expectations of both the expats and the friends/family they visit can be different which leads to frustrations and confusion.Expectations of both the expats and the friends/family they visit can be different which leads to frustrations and confusion. Click To Tweet
And let’s be honest – Sometimes it is hard to know what to ask your expat friends! Perhaps you have never been to the country they are living, yet alone another country. Finding questions to ask can seem difficult to find. Also, fear of seeming uneducated and judgement of not keeping up with your expat friends hinders others from asking good questions.Also, fear of seeming uneducated and judgement of not keeping up with your expat friends hinders others from asking good questions. Click To Tweet
I am here to tell you: There is no judgement (well, hopefully!). Expats want to answer your questions! What better time to do that then face to face during their visit back to the states. Even your enthusiasm to listen shows your love and support.
On our recent return after living one year abroad, so many good questions were asked to us. Questions are a wonderful tool to not only learn about expat life, but they will also help you reconnect with your returning expat. As much as possible, consider rephrasing your ‘yes or no’ questions.
10 thoughtful (no ‘yes’ or ‘no’) questions to ask your returning expat:
- What do you like best about living in _______?
- What do you dislike about living in _______?
- What does your daily life look like? How has moving affected your work?
- What’s been the biggest change?
- What’s the hardest part about living in _____? (seems similar to #2 but this can be personal and not about culture)
- What does community look like there?
- What is your favourite food? place to eat? activity to do? part of the culture?
- What is your experience like in learning the language?
- What has this international move taught you? What has it taught you about your spouse?
- What do you miss most while you are living in _____?
Other than asking questions, you can simply just ask for interesting cultural traditions, a funny story or an embarrassing moment! Believe me, there are plenty. I like the time we dropped a 10 foot pipe down 5 story apartment building or cried after language class.
Now to you:
Have you had an expat friend or family member return ‘home’?
What questions above had you not thought of before?
What questions do you like to ask them?
Like it? Share it!
P. S. – This is the first post of a 6 part series called EXPAT GOING HOME SERIES. Stay tune for the following articles:
Going Home Series: Self care and why it is important for expat returning home
Going Home Series: Managing expectations for expats returning home