Many people ask me about how I was able to live in Libya for a year or in Cuba for three years. I’m not going to lie, even though there were challenges, I wasn’t alone. When living in a foreign country as an expatriate, the reality is different. In fact, living in Canada now as a normal immigrant rather than an expatriate, I can assure you, everything changes!
In Libya, Dominican Republic, and Cuba, my family had access to a lot of things that locals didn’t. We were given housing, my brother and I studied in international schools, and we had overall support from the company.
In other words, life as an expatriate is a privileged life. But nothing is perfect. We still had to deal with moving to a completely different and distinct culture, with a different language, where we had no family or friends.
Of course, these challenges would go away after a couple of months until we settled in. I would make friends at school, learn different languages pretty fast since I was a kid, and get used to a new life. Yet right when we think that everything is alright, we are off moving again. That was my main challenge. Moving when I had already established an emotional connection to the school, friends, and the country itself.
But what I learned with living this adventurous life is that life has to go on. And trust me, I thank my parents everyday for giving me the opportunity to embark on these crazy experiences. If you ever have the chance of living abroad, whether as an expatriate or for an exchange, do it! It will be one of the best experiences you will ever have.