Living the Expat Lifestyle as an Introvert: 4 Tips to Make It Happen

The idea of going halfway around the world to work abroad might sound like the adventure of a lifetime.

However, what if you consider yourself an introvert who isn’t exactly thrilled about the idea of having to start from scratch when it comes to your personal relationships?

It’s a fair question, especially given the fact that many expats are indeed introverted by nature.

For starters, consider that working abroad is rather a matter of necessity versus a simple choice. If you’re willing to go through the work to be able to send remittance across the globe or advance your career, living the expat life becomes a need rather than a want.

Likewise, consider the fact that not every expat is some sort of outgoing adventurer. Sure, people may make it seem that way through Instagram, but that doesn’t mean that they don’t need their time away from new people as well.

To help give you an idea of what it takes to succeed as an introverted expat, we’ve highlighted four specific tips. Whether you’re currently abroad or are mulling over the idea, any combination of these are fair game.

Set Up Your Support System

Keeping strong communication between yourself and friends and family is a must-do. Just because you’re an introvert doesn’t mean you can afford to go without conversation on a day-to-day basis, right?

Whether through social media or frequent Skype calls, having a pulse on what your loved ones back home can help you maintain a healthy mindset.  Simply be prepared to adjust to any time-zone changes accordingly and carve out some time to touch base. Merely knowing that you have someone to talk to on a day-to-day basis is a huge plus.

Don’t Stress About Finding a “Best Friend” Abroad

If making new friends right now wasn’t daunting enough, the idea of doing so in the midst of new cultures and hurdles such as language barriers might seem impossible.

That said, don’t feel the pressure to immediately be some sort of social butterfly in a new land. Likewise, consider the overlooked value of acquaintances and the fact that you don’t need to be best friends with everyone you meet. While there’s certainly pressure to acclimate, take it slow and consider that friends will come naturally as you network and manage daily tasks.

Of course, looking into networks of fellow expats is a smart starting point. You don’t even need to feel compelled to meet such people ASAP: start by talking it out online or through forms and meet up when it makes sense for you.

Make Your Time Alone as Productive as Possible

Introverts thrive during their time alone, but that doesn’t mean you should spend all of your time vegging out or neglecting your well-being. Activities such as reading, exercise and cooking are all productive ways to spend your time. Likewise, so is documenting your journey via blogging or something like a dedicated Instagram account for your adventure.

Find Social Situations You’re Comfortable With

Simply put, perhaps you need to rethink what it means to “go out” or “be social.”

Given the various things to do in any foreign country, the mere act of going on a bike ride, taking pictures or reading in a cafe are all ways to enjoy quiet, tranquil time to yourself while still putting yourself out there. You don’t have to create the expectation that everyday needs need to be some sort of “epic” adventure. Take it slow with some solo activities and then branch out from there.

Again, living in another country does not mean you have to be totally outgoing or constantly mingle with others. Consider what it truly means to be an introverted expat and how these principles can help you make your own journey work.