7 New Year Resolutions Every Expat Should Make
Many of us set ridiculously unrealistic resolutions for the new year that are hard to keep in January and then completely forgotten by February. However, as an expat, there are a couple of very beneficial resolutions you can actually keep and achieve throughout the year. Here are 7 new year resolutions every expat should make – and keep to!
Learn a new language – or improve it!
I love languages so this one is actually a lot of fun for me. Being an expat, life is a lot easier when you are able to communicate with the locals in your host country. When I lived in China, I joined a weekly Chinese language circle where foreigners and locals got together to help each other learn and improve. It was a great thing and I made so many friends. When I moved to Korea, I joined the local YMCA and took classes every Saturday, which was very helpful as well. I also stocked up on language learning books and studied at home. What if your native language and the language in your host country are the same (e.g. American living in the UK)? This is a great opportunity to branch out and learn a new foreign language. I, for example, want to start learning Japanese because it’s very close to Korea and a place I can travel to very easily.
Try new dishes
One thing I love about living abroad and traveling is trying new food. When I travel to other places around Asia, I always make sure to try as many local dishes as possible. However, when I’m back in Korea, I often don’t appreciate the variety of local dishes anymore. There are so many soups, stews, seafood, meat and noodle dishes I haven’t had the chance to try yet. This year, I will try to venture out to local restaurants and order some more unfamiliar dishes. Pinterest is also a great place to find new inspiration. For example, when you search for “Korean food”, you’ll get an almost unlimited amount of food pictures and descriptions to choose from. Save these, take them to your favorite local restaurant and ask if they serve any of these. You never know, maybe you’ll find your new favorite dish of all time!
Make New local friends
A lot of expats fall into a bit of a trap when it comes to making friends abroad. Since birds of a feather flock together, you might not have a large circle of local friends. Not only will you be able to understand the host country’s culture a lot better when hanging out with locals but you’ll likely also improve your language skills and make unique experiences related to cultural events and holidays. This is not to say that you cannot make new foreign friends as well! Living abroad, you will encounter a large pool of like-minded foreigners from all corners of the world. You will not only be able to learn more about your expat country, but many other countries around the world as well.
Living abroad in a different country means adapting to a new culture and learning about new ways of doing things. Adjusting to these differences isn’t always easy and might come with a bit (or a lot) of a headache. However, if you keep an open mind, it will be a lot easier to adjust to your new life abroad. This makes for the perfect New Year resolution to keep, as it can also apply to many situations and life circumstances. Why not explore the local way of doing things by attending cultural events or heading to local museums and culture centers?
The most popular resolution for a new year cannot miss on this list either. Being fit and healthy is just as important when living abroad as it is back home. Set new fitness goals this year and check out the local gym. A great alternative (or addition) to the regular gym are local sports and activities. Living in Asia, you can choose from a great variety of martial arts classes that are widely available and not as costly as back home. In Korea, a lot of people practice Taekwondo but Judo or Muay Thai are also popular Asian activities here. If you don’t want to sweat away indoors, simply head out and explore the local scenery. South Korea, for example, has 22 national parks across the country!
While expats in general love to travel and explore their host country, there’s always more cities and more places that can be explored! Take the train, bus or ferry and head out to new adventures. Maybe this year, you can finally make it to that one place you’ve always wanted to go but never had the time? Or you can finally try out that train pass and explore a couple of new places along the way. A lot of countries offer attractive rail passes for foreigners allowing them to explore a variety of places for a flat rate price. These include the Eurail pass in Europe, Korail in Korea JR Pass in Japan and many more around the globe! Even airlines offer attractive passes to encourage people to get out and explore, such as the Asean Pass from AirAsia.
Keep in touch
Last but not least, it’s important to stay in touch with friends and family back home – and don’t forget all the other friends you have made along the way! Life is hectic and busy for us abroad and for our loved ones back home. However, losing contact is the last thing we want. Luckily, we can take advantage of a variety of tools to easily communicate with people thousands of miles away, be it via Skype, WhatsApp or email. Tell your friends all about your experiences abroad and let them provide you with the latest gossip and news from back home. This year could also be the year one or more of your friends or family members come and visit you in your new home! How exciting would it be to show them around and impress them with all the cool things your expat country has to offer?
To an exciting year 2018!
These seven new year resolutions every expat should make will hopefully give you some inspiration to try something new this year. You don’t need to work through all seven points on this list but can pick a couple of the points and try to stay determined to achieve them. I also recommend filling out my 2018 Goal Planner, that you can download for free here. May you have many new experiences, try new things and meet new people in 2018!
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