Expat Residential Communities & International Co-travelers
Travel and foreign living seem to many people a luxury they cannot afford. Yet for many North Americans, if you have saved up, it isn’t necessarily such a stretch. Many have found a way to enjoy retirement or extended vacations in a mild climate and exotic culture. In places where North American currency has an advantage, living in expat residential communities can help your savings go further. Your spending can often benefit the host nation. Digital nomads find that even without savings, they can live an adventurous life in foreign places. Many put in a lot less work time than they would need for monthly rent in urban North America.
ways to be a welcome and respectful expat
1. Learn a lot about the norms of your host country.
Study expat sites specific to your chosen location to learn cultural norms and avoid being intentionally disrespectful. Is bargaining rude or expected? Is a tip welcome or insulting? Is taking selfies in a religious site frowned on?
2. Make an effort with the language.
While you may never become fluent in their language, a little effort can go a long way. Start with “hello,” “goodbye,” “thank you,” ‘”please,” and “I know very few words.” It’s especially important to study up on signs, so that you can comply with regulations.
3. Follow laws and regulations.
Foreign life is not where you want to give expression to your rebel tendencies. Out of respect to your host nation, and for your own safety, make a point to learn and follow their rules. The consequences of not doing so could be a lot more severe for foreigners. In addition, take it from the experts, keep your finances in order and reported accurately.
4. Avoid controversial topics.
You might be an adventurous type who relishes debate, but you might need to save it for your fellow expats. Until you know a culture thoroughly, it’s best to keep your political and religious opinions to yourself.
5. Help rather than compete with the locals.
Buying semi-rural or rural property together as expats may result in a more affordable location in a scenic spot. Yet take a look at the larger picture. Are relatively wealthy outsiders like you causing the rents or purchasable land to rise out of the price range of locals? If you are part of this trend, consider purchasing instead in areas that are workable for you but are not workable for the nationals. For example, there are villages left nearly empty as people move to find work. These might be ideal locations to re-populate with digital nomads and retirees. You will do well to communicate with your neighbors and be an ally, not a source of aggravation. If you do find yourself having lessened the quality of life for locals, find a way to give back. Make sure it is a contribution valued by the locals, or better yet, suggested by the locals.
Examples of Expat Residential Communities
Usually so-called expat communities are connections online, which can still be helpful. IC.org/directory can help you find intentional residential communities in many nations. Participating as an existing intentional community member might be an excellent option to get started, even if eventually you have in mind a specific type of community you want to start.
Consultants for Expat Communities
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Members Interested in Expat Residential Communities & Co-travelers
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Expat.com is one of many websites serving people looking for extended residence in foreign nations. There are many destinations that have a high population of North American expats. There’s no end to blogs, vlogs, and travelogs with plenty of advice. There are also many Facebook expat communities in a variety of locations.