The Expat Experience

  • by XpatAthens
  • Tuesday, 30 January 2018
The Expat Experience

I was thinking the other day about the ‘expat experience’, and all the ways that it impacts each of us. In particular I was thinking that the expat experience has a way of bridging social gaps that would otherwise prevent people from socializing together or even ever meeting each other.

Wherever we’ve come from, whatever our social or cultural background, showing up on the doorstep of a new country creates challenges and experiences that are at once difficult and self-affirming. And sharing those challenges – laughing or crying about them – brings people together in unexpected ways.

The other night, at the rooftop party of XpatAthens, I had the pleasure of meeting a bunch of new people – from a surprising range of backgrounds – who all shared this major thing in common. And it was great.

• The American accountant who moved to Greece on a whim, and now never wants to leave.
• The South African consultant who travels around the world but calls Greece home.
• The Greek-Canadian who discovered a passion for writing guidebooks – for children.
• The singer who lives in Las Vegas but can’t wait to return to Athens.
• The young Greek guy, raised in the UK, who now works as a diplomat.
• The Brit who fell in and out of love – and stayed.
• The Australian yoga instructor who chose Athens over Melbourne.
• The young Greek girl who is moving to New York to study English – and who will have the same expat experience over there.

On the surface, these people may have nothing in common. But one step below the surface, we all have so much shared experience. And this is the level that counts – the level where we are all, at the end of the day, more similar than we first assumed…

Until next week,