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What expats miss the most

Firstly, let’s get something cleared up. This could seem like quite a scary article. If you’re beginning to plan your move overseas, you’re probably in the hugely excited stage when you’re thinking about all the new things you’re going to discover and experience – rather than thinking about what you’ll miss.

So, a quick straw poll of Working Inners (most of us whom are migrants ourselves) about what we missed the most from our home countries, revealed that the overwhelming response was… food based. Yep, it turns out we’re creatures of habit and associate happy memories of home countries with tucking into local delicacies:

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Now that we’ve established this is really not scary at all, here are the top five things expats miss:

Number one: family and friends

Friends and familyAn obvious choice and probably something you’ve already considered, whether you’re moving to the same hemisphere or an entirely different time zone.

What you can do

Technology is the expat’s best friend. Now you can still literally see your nearest and dearest thanks to Skype via regular catch-ups over the internet – and it won’t even cost you.

Emails will allow you to send pretty instant communications as often as you like so mum won’t feel like she’s missing out on your everyday life.

Living overseas means you can embrace one of the best ways to communicate – personal handwritten letters. Rediscover the thrill of an actual letter in your mailbox, rather than a bill or advertising flyer.

If you’re missing an important event – a wedding, christening, birthday – you can still feel involved. Send a card, a parcel or record a video message.

Make sure you plan your next visit back home and when your family will visit you in your new home so that you have something to look forward to.

Number two: your old salary

SalaryIf you’ve researched your equivalent job or already been offered a job and your salary doesn’t match what you’re used to, don’t despair.

What you can do

Remember why you’re relocating – better job opportunities, better career progression, better and bigger projects, better lifestyle, better weather… all of which are, literally, priceless.

Number three: food

FoodAs we’ve already established – especially around the Working In team – you could find yourself craving local tastes that you just can’t get your hands on in your new home.

What you can do


  • Rope mum and dad, family or friends to send you care parcels stuffed full of the food you’re missing.
  • Check out whether there are any suppliers in your new home town. For example, New Zealand has plenty of British grocery shops available throughout the country that stock all the British favourites.
  • Leave a bit of space in your suitcase when planning a trip back to your home country and bring some goodies back with you.
  • Order your favourite treats online – there’s bound to be websites available that will ship you what you’re missing.

Or, even better, you can embrace change (come on, you’ve emigrated – you’re ok with change) and try the local alternative or equivalent. You never know, it may even be better than you’re used to.

Number four: shopping

ShoppingIf you’re used to popping out to a crowded high street and picking up the latest fashion at a wallet-friendly price, it can be a shock to wave goodbye to your favourite labels – whether it’s trusty M&S undies or Topshop threads.

What you can do

Hop on the internet – a lot of major retailers will ship internationally, and some will even do free international delivery.

If you’re more of a browse the racks and try on plenty of stuff type of shopper, it’s time to explore local suppliers and find new favourites.

Number five: weather

WeatherSounds weird but there’s a phenomenon called the bouncing Pom where Brits migrate to perpetually hot and sunny climes only to return to rainy Britain because they miss the occasionally bad weather.

So if you’re used to rain, you may find endless sunny days a bit wearing. If you’re used to plenty of sunshine, different seasons could be a shock.

What you can do

Again it’s about remembering why you made the move and embracing your new lifestyle – come rain or shine. Take the opportunity to be out in the sunshine as much as possible or to rug up against the seasonal chills and rain.

It’s also the chance for a new wardrobe. Donate your old unsuitably seasonal stuff and buy the local alternatives. Once you’re dressed like a native and appropriately for whatever the weather is doing, you’ll feel a lot more settled in your new life. Now’s the time to finally buy a rain jacket, polar fleece or numerous pairs of flip flops, even if you’ve never owned any before.

In conclusion

Yes, there are going to be things you miss but you also know now how to combat your feelings of longing for these commonly missed things.

Plus in the grand scheme of things, they’re all pretty miniscule. If we made a list of what you wouldn’t miss about your home country, we’re betting it’d be quite a bit bigger – traffic jams, rain, people not speaking to you on public transport, queues…

Been there, done that?

What do you miss the most about your home country and how do you deal with it? Leave us a comment below and let us know!

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