What Flavor of Expat Narrative Do You Embrace?

July 6, 2023 in Ex-pat, Personal Development

expat women

What’s your mindset and what expat narrative do you embrace in your expat life?

Change your expat narrative, change your experience, change your life.

Before embarking on an expat journey and once arrived in our new country, we expats often tell ourselves various narratives that reflect our expectations, hopes, and concerns for our life abroad. 

These expat narratives are constructed in our brains based on our past experiences and reflect our personal, professional and cultural understandings of the world and our place in it.

Some common narratives before and during the first months of our expatriation include:

"The Adventure Seeker" 

"The Career Booster"

"The Culture Shock Worrier”

"The Home Comfort Seeker”

"The Adventure Seeker": This narrative reflects the excitement and enthusiasm of expats who see their move as a thrilling adventure. They may envision exploring new cultures, trying exotic cuisines, and immersing themselves in unique experiences.

"The Career Booster": Expats who adopt this narrative view their move as an opportunity to enhance their professional growth and gain valuable international experience. They may believe the new environment will present exciting job prospects, skill development, and increased chances for career advancement.

"The Culture Shock Worrier": This narrative revolves around concerns about adapting to a different culture and overcoming potential challenges. Expats in this mindset may worry about language barriers, cultural differences, and homesickness, fearing that they might struggle to adjust to their new surroundings.

"The Home Comfort Seeker": Some expats hold onto a narrative focused on recreating the comforts of home. They may seek out familiar communities, foods, and activities in their new location to maintain a sense of familiarity and ease the transition.

expat narrative

Once we settle into our new homes, our expat narratives may shift based on our actual experiences and the reality of our new environment.

These narratives may include:

"The Cultural Enthusiast"

"The Global Citizen"

"The Resilient Adaptation"

"The Personal Transformation"

"The Cultural Enthusiast": Expats who embrace this narrative have discovered a newfound appreciation for the local culture and customs. They may immerse themselves in local traditions, develop meaningful connections with locals, and actively seek opportunities to learn and grow within the cultural context.

"The Global Citizen": Expats adopting this narrative have cultivated a broader perspective, recognizing the interconnectedness of the world. They embrace diversity, engage in cross-cultural exchanges, and become advocates for cultural understanding and collaboration.

"The Resilient Adaptation": This narrative reflects expats who have overcome initial challenges and have developed resilience in navigating their new environment. They acknowledge their growth, resilience, and adaptability as they successfully navigate and thrive in their expat life. (see our blog post on building resilience)

"The Personal Transformation": Expats who adopt this narrative highlights the personal growth and self-discovery they have experienced through their expatriation journey. They recognize the expansion of their horizons, increased self-confidence, and the ability to embrace change as transformative aspects of their new life.

It is important to note that expat narratives can vary greatly depending on individual experiences, cultural backgrounds, and personal circumstances. These narratives evolve as we gain new insights, face challenges, and integrate into our new homes, ultimately shaping our unique expat story.

expat narrative

Which of these “expat narrative flavors” do you identify with?

What expat narrative(s) do you want to shape your experience? Did you know you get to decide? 

It can be a conscious decision, one taken with purpose and care in which you recognize how actively pursuing an expat narrative of your choice creates your expat mindset and therefore your expat experience.

You get to decide. It is up to you.

Understand and use the “4 Pillars of a Healthy Mind” to help you cultivate an expat narrative that supports and serves you.

In the realm of expat life, where expatriates like us embark on new horizons, there is a significant power in changing our narrative to shape our expat experience. By embracing a positive and proactive mindset, we can truly transform our journey as expats.

Here are the 4 pillars for a healthy expatriation:

  1. The first pillar, "Self-Awareness", plays a crucial role in reshaping our narrative. By understanding our strengths, limitations, and personal values, we can create a narrative that aligns with our authentic selves. This self-awareness allows us to recognize and challenge any negative beliefs or preconceived notions about our expat experience. By reframing our thoughts and focusing on opportunities rather than obstacles, we can embrace a more empowering narrative.

  2. The second pillar, "Resilience", becomes a key contributor to changing our expat narrative. By developing resilience, we can view setbacks and challenges as temporary roadblocks rather than permanent barriers. Embracing a growth mindset and acknowledging that setbacks are opportunities for growth enables us to rewrite our expat story in a more resilient and optimistic light. Through resilience, we can persevere and overcome the inevitable hurdles that come our way.

  3. The third pillar, "connection", offers a transformative potential in reshaping our expat experience. Building connections with fellow expats, local communities, and colleagues not only expands our support network but also helps us gather diverse perspectives and insights. By actively seeking and nurturing these connections, we can foster a sense of belonging and collaboration, enhancing our expat narrative with meaningful relationships and shared experiences.

  4. The fourth and final pillar, "mindfulness", profoundly influences our ability to change our expat narrative. By practicing mindfulness, we develop a heightened awareness of our thoughts, emotions, and reactions. This allows us to recognize any negative self-talk or limiting beliefs that may hinder our experience. By cultivating mindfulness, we can consciously choose positive and constructive narratives, focusing on gratitude, self-compassion, and the present moment. Mindfulness empowers us to rewrite our expat story from a place of clarity and intention. 
expat woman

By embracing the four pillars of a healthy mind, we unlock the potential to transform our expat experience through narrative change.

Self-awareness helps us identify and challenge negative beliefs, resilience allows us to bounce back and grow from setbacks, connection fosters a sense of belonging and support, and mindfulness enables us to choose empowering narratives. With these pillars as our guide, we have the power to shape our expat journey into a story of growth, resilience, meaningful connections, and personal fulfillment.

If you need help to reshape your expat narrative, book a free call today and let’s take the first steps together to creating a more empowering expat narrative.

Karly Christ

Karly is a certified NLP and Ikigai coach with over 15 years of expat experience on four continents. Vibrant Ikigai offers workshops and 1:1 coaching services to help expat women move through the ups and downs of this exciting global lifestyle.

Book your free call and let's chat about how I can help you live your best expat life!