5 THINGS NOT TO SAY TO A BRITISH EXPAT
Upping Sticks and moving abroad is a very exciting time in someone’s life as they prepare for a life as a “British Expat”. However don’t forget that people may feel apprehensive and vulnerable at this time in their life too. If you have a British Expat friend or family member making the big move, you may want to refrain saying the following…
“ARE YOU FLUENT YET?”
Seriously? It’s frustrating enough with any language barrier and even after a year, many of us are not even at Kindergarten level. Asking if we’re fluent yet makes us feel embarrassed and inferior so please don’t keep asking!
“NOT THAT IT MATTERS TO YOU”
I may call my new Country now home but this doesn’t mean I’m not concerned about the state of affairs in my old home. In the run up to the UK General Election 2015, I’ve been told more than once that it doesn’t concern me because I’ve been in Australia for two years. I still care about the NHS, our education system and all the things that make Britain, Britain. It matters to me. Don’t tell me it doesn’t. #Britishatheartstill
“YOU DON'T KNOW HOW LUCKY YOU ARE”
Reiterating how ‘lucky’ we are implies that courage, hard work and tenacity played no part. If you want to live where we live, you can but you choose not to. That’s not because you’re unlucky; it’s a choice you have made, just like my new country is a choice I’ve made. You make your own luck. You choose where you want to live and you can change your life too.
“ARE YOU MAKING FRIENDS WITH MORE LOCALS”
Yes I’m aware I have more English speaking friends than non-English speaking friends, but they’re easier to connect with – for now. Until I learn the local language to an advanced level the conversation is always going to be limited. English is the language I think in, cry in, joke in, and sometimes I just need people that are effortless to be with. Things take time. Im sure I will make more local friends over time what’s the rush?
“WHEN ARE YOU MOVING BACK HOME?”
My new country is my new home. Maybe I’ll ‘move back home’ one day but I don’t know that for sure. For now, I’m making a go of things in my new country. Please support me instead of acting like it’s a phase.
So next time you are speaking with your loved one who has moved abroad, just remember that one of these off the tongue cliché quips, however heartfelt they may be is probably best left unsaid!
By Emma J-P