You are probably wondering why I became an Expat (and still an Expat up to this day) if there are A LOT of inconveniences alongside the lifestyle. Yes, there are days when it is hard. Yes, there are days when I feel I want to pack my bags and go back home. But as I’ve written in my previous article here, the decision to become an Expat must originate from the fact that you genuinely felt the benefit outweighs the disadvantage. And in my case, it did – or at least, I felt it did.
Our circumstances may be different. But if you are thinking of becoming an Expat, let me share with you some of the “gains” I got by relocating abroad. Read through it and maybe (just maybe), it will help you come up with the decision for yourself. Or, if you are a fellow Expat like me, maybe this article can resonate with you and know that there is a fellow Expat who share the same sentiments as you do!
Better work and travel opportunities
I was blessed to get hired by a reputable company as a fresh graduate in my home country – something that some of my fellow graduates struggled with. I was also blessed to be from a “debt-free” family despite not born from a rich household. Maybe, just lucky both parents are really (REALLY) good handling money and expenses – and was able to successfully raise us in a simple lifestyle.
It is safe to say that I am not the typical Overseas Filipino Worker (popularly tagged as OFW) who relocate abroad in the hopes of earning more to have a better financial status at home. One can argue that I need not become an Expat since I was earning “enough”. But my desires to travel the world and seek better work opportunities for myself were my biggest driving force for my decision.
I tried to find these (especially the better work opportunity aspect) before I handed my resignation and relocated abroad. I remembered chatting with my manager about what I want to do with my career. And let’s just say that even if she was sympathetic, we didn’t meet eye-to-eye. She felt I wasn’t ready – perhaps, not even skilled enough. But in my mind, I know I am. And that conversation firmed my belief that this Company was not the place for my career growth – I have to look elsewhere!
Itching for change
Are you familiar with Stacie Orrico’s 2003 song “(There’s Gotta Be) More to Life”? If yes, let me tell you that at the time I was contemplating to become an Expat, this song became my “mantra”. The song’s lyrics resonated within me strongly as I spent days and nights having personal dialogues in my head.
Personal, career and environmental changes were my driving force. At the time I was particularly unhappy with “where I was” before the big move, I kept trying to look for a silver lining so things will brighten. It was effective but because it was forced, the effect did not last long. I always go back being unhappy and asking myself (as Stacie sang in her song), “What is this thing that I feel like I’m missing and why can’t I let it go”?
This played a minor role in my decision to become an Expat but played a major factor why I am still an Expat today. Prior my move, I was living with my parents. It was not culturally (or traditionally) common in the Philippines to move out from parents’ house (not unless getting married). Plus, I didn’t want to spend half my salary paying for rent – I’d rather give the money to my Mom!
We were given responsibilities at home. But by living alone, I learned how to run a household. I learned how to manage my monthly salary to make sure it won’t run out before paying the bills and keep some of it for savings. In short, I matured in the way I spent my money. And appreciated my Mom’s “financial lectures” even more! And in the truest sense of the word, I became an adult.