Make the most out of your life as an expat – Terry Neuenhaus

Deciding to move to a foreign land is a daunting proposition to most people. You are leaving your native country, family and friends. Possibly you do not speak any other language than your native tongue. You have never lived abroad before. How will you adapt to these circumstances? Before I decided to live in Ecuador I had the luck to live in various countries. Uruguay, Panama, Austria, and a short term in Morocco. I was able to adapt pretty easily to living in these different places because of the mindset I had. I have always believed that “When in Rome, do as the Romans”. Believe me, this will make life a lot easier. Accept the differences of your host country. Don’t swim against the tide. Nothing will be 100% like your home country.

I have seen too many expats here in Quito complain about the way things are done, or not done. The food is awful, why aren’t the business hours the same? Appliances are expensive compared to North America. Why can’t the people speak english? The Internet is too slow, etc.,etc.,etc. If you want to survive living abroad you have to realize that this ain’t Kansas as the saying goes. You have to learn to roll with it, it will save you a lot of stress.

Another way to make life easier is to learn the language. This will allow you to assimilate into the culture and open up a lot of doors. You don’t have to speak 100% like a native, but knowing enough to converse will enable you to make friends, shop, go to the doctor, navigate the bureaucracy and simply, make your life a lot easier.

Get out of your comfort zone and meet some of the Ecuadorians. Don’t limit yourself to only associate with members of your own country. Read the local news, watch some Ecuadorian TV. All of this will help you in becoming more conversant and knowledgeable. Most of all, don’ t feel embarrassed speaking the language. Ecuadorians are very forgiving if you make mistake, and they really appreciate it if you try.

Travel within the country. Get to know different places, other cities and small villages. This will broaden your horizons and allow you to fully enjoy what the country has to offer.

These are just some tips to allow you to have an easier life living in a another country and truly enjoying what the country and its people have to offer. Bienvenido a Ecuador!

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