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Expat Advice: Dream vs. Reality of Expat Life in Baar, Switzerland

Submitted by Bette1111

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Describe how you "dreamed" expat life would be before you moved overseas. Please provide as much detail as possible.

I envisioned expat life to be an experience that would change me and my family. I hoped it would be a change for the better! I thought it would broaden our horizons, and give our children a more global perspective of life. I focused on the idea of it as a big adventure, a way to step out of my comfort zone, to learn more about myself and the world outside the US.

How has your expat experience met the expectations you dreamed about before you moved abroad?

In many ways, my expat experience has met my expectations. I did not fully take into account how difficult living in a foreign country can be, in terms of the mundane aspects of life. (First, we lived in London, which was not terribly different from the US. At least we knew the language fairly well!) Moving to Switzerland has been difficult for two reasons. First is not knowing the language, and the inscrutability of the Swiss German spoken language. Second is the challenge of navigating the community, learning the rules and societal expectations (of which there are many).

How has your expat experience NOT met the expectations you dreamed about before you moved abroad?

The extremely high costs of goods and services are not enjoyable to live with. Also, although in the US we may take this to an extreme, I do miss the variety of goods available, as well as the convenience, say, of a Target or Walmart. Thus, I have adjusted my expectations, recognizing that there are plenty of 'things' I can live without. I thought I would travel within Europe more. The reality is that we as a family get caught up in our daily lives, and tend not to take as many trips as we'd dreamed about.

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Comments about this Report

Feb 15, 2012 17:11

I completely understand about the traveling part! My husband and I have lived in Brazil for three years and done some traveling around. However, not as much as we would have liked to have done. Sometimes our friends back home seem disappointed that we have not been to more locations, but we work like everyone else!

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