The United States is a very diverse country. It has a wide variety of cultures and traditions found in every region of the country. The same diversity exists with Americans who choose to live abroad, whether ex-pats or immigrants taking up temporary residence in another country. If you are an American working overseas, here are tips for your consideration:
1. Stay Informed About Current Events Back Home
You may find it challenging to keep up with what’s going on at home while you’re living overseas. But staying informed will help remind you of your roots and provide information for when you return home if there’s been some disaster or other events that impact where you live.
Establish a network of friends and loved ones. Living abroad can be lonely sometimes, so having a reliable support system in place will help ensure you have someone to talk with when times get tough.
You don’t have to master a language, but showing effort and interest in the local tongue will go a long way with locals. Learning simple greetings or phrases can be very helpful as you try to navigate your new environment. If all else fails, always remember that hand gestures are universal.
While living abroad, US ex-pats are still responsible for filing taxes to the United States every year. Even working overseas, income tax is based on citizenship and residency. It doesn’t matter where you live or work. However, some exceptions may be when your country of residence has a tax treaty with the US, like US citizen working in Canada or Germany. There are many online options to file your US taxes, or you can seek the help of US accountants in many countries who have experience with ex-pat taxes and can help you.
Stay connected with family and friends by setting up a Facebook page or blog to keep everyone updated on your life. Try writing about some of the unique things you can experience as an American living abroad. That will help others feel more comfortable when they plan their travels.
Sign up for an online group or social media site that brings ex-pats together from your home state. This way you’ll find it much easier to make friends with others who share the same needs and interests as you.
If you’re living in a country where the cost of living is much lower than what you were used to at home, it’s easy to fall into lifestyle inflation and rack up debt. Try not to forget about all those things back home that are now free or cheap such as public transportation, utilities, and healthcare, so that when you return home, you’ll be able to save money. Learn how to avoid double taxation by doing research and choosing what is best for you.
Living abroad can be very difficult, especially for Americans who are not accustomed to the new customs and traditions if you’re ever unsure about something or have a question that doesn’t seem to go away, ask someone. Locals love meeting others from different countries, so they’ll most likely answer your questions with enthusiasm rather than annoyance.