Some questions for expats

[name_m]Hi[/name_m], I’m a teenberry so even without the virus this is a long way away, but I’d like emigrate out of the United States (Right now I’m thinking [name_f]Canada[/name_f] or [name_u]New[/name_u] Zealand, leaning towards [name_u]New[/name_u] Zealand, but I’d like to hear as many stories as possible). If any expats (from any country!) in this community would like to answer some of my questions, I’d be pretty grateful!

  1. At what age did you immigrate?
  2. Did you immigrate with anyone? If yes, who?
  3. About how far away did you immigrate? From what country to where?
  4. [name_m]How[/name_m] long did it take for you to get citizenship in your new country/what kind of permits or visas did you have in the beginning and how has that changed?
  5. What is your favorite thing about your new country? What is your least?
  6. What was the hardest thing to adjust too in your new country?
  7. [name_f]Do[/name_f] you travel back to your birth country to visit anyone (family, friends, etc)? If yes, how often?
  8. If you have kids, have they been to your birth country? [name_m]How[/name_m] often have they visited and what is your “routine” when traveling with them?
  9. If you could go back and change one thing about how you immigrated, what would you change?
  10. [name_m]How[/name_m] did you tell your family that you were immigrating? What was their reactions?
  11. What do you do to stay in touch with your family? [name_m]How[/name_m] do you get around a big time zone difference when calling or face-timing?

Thanks in advance to anyone who responds!

Hi there! I’m not an immigrant but I am a born-and-bred Kiwi. If you have have any questions about [name_u]New[/name_u] Zealand fee free to flick them my way :blush:

My family are not expats any longer (we moved back home after two years), but I can still provide some answers.

At what age did you immigrate?

I was in third grade, so I must have been about seven, going on eight.

Did you immigrate with anyone? If yes, who?

I immigrated with my parents.

About how far away did you immigrate? From what country to where?

We immigrated from the US to China. The flight was about fifteen hours.

How long did it take for you to get citizenship in your new country/what kind of permits or visas did you have in the beginning and how has that changed?

It took me and my mother about two years to get a six year visa, and my father had already been gone for that time.

What is your favorite thing about your new country? What is your least?

My favorite thing was being able to interact with people of all different cultures. I was one of the only Indians in my school at home, and I really liked the exposure. I didn’t like how bad the WiFi signal was at home, though.

What was the hardest thing to adjust too in your new country?

It was hard to adjust to walking everywhere instead of driving. I had never taken the metro before, and that was a new experience for me too.

Do you travel back to your birth country to visit anyone (family, friends, etc)? If yes, how often?

When we lived there, me and my mom went back home every summer. We also made it a habit to come back for New Years’.

If you could go back and change one thing about how you immigrated, what would you change?

I would change how little I stayed in touch with my school friends. A lot of friendship-changing events went down when I was away, and I would’ve liked to hear about them firsthand.

What do you do to stay in touch with your family? How do you get around a big time zone difference when calling or face-timing?

My grandparents lived nearby, in India, so they flew in to see us much more often than they do now. There wasn’t as big a time difference, so it was much easier to talk to them than it is now. My family friends, though, all of whom live here, I did not interact with until we came back for the summers.

Also, I’d like to add, moving back was a horrible experience for me. For the remaining two years I had in elementary school, I was known as “the girl who lived in China” and no one ever really treated me normally.

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[name_f]My[/name_f] family immigrated to :tr: when I was a baby (so I don’t remember it), but I’ll try to answer your questions.


1. At what age did you immigrate?

I was few months old :blush:

2. Did you immigrate with anyone? If yes, who?

With my parents and my triplet-brothers (I have another older brother, but he was already an adult when we immigrated, so he didn’t came with us)

3. About how far away did you immigrate? From what country to where?

From [name_f]England[/name_f] to Turkey, takes 2/3 hours by plane.

4. How long did it take for you to get citizenship in your new country/what kind of permits or visas did you have in the beginning and how has that changed?

I got citizenship when I was 5.

5. What is your favorite thing about your new country? What is least?

[name_f]My[/name_f] favourite: Friendly, cheerful people
[name_f]My[/name_f] least favourite: System of education

6. What was the hardest thing to adjust too in your new country?

I can’t answer that, I’m here ever since I could remember!

7. Do you travel back to your birth country to visit anyone (family, friends, etc)? If yes, how often?

We visit our family every summer.

11. What do you do to stay in touch with your family? How do you get around a big time zone difference when calling or face-timing?

There isn’t a big time-zone difference between :uk: and :tr:. Only two hours.

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I am currently an expat and I left home to get my [name_m]Bachelor[/name_m]’s! I will be moving back to my country once I graduate but when I first left I was planning on staying abroad.

1. At what age did you immigrate?
I left at 19 to go study abroad.

2. Did you immigrate with anyone? If yes, who?
Nope, all alone!

3. About how far away did you immigrate? From what country to where?
I went pretty far away from home… I was born and raised in the Caribbean and I moved to Southeast [name_f]Asia[/name_f].

4. [name_m]How[/name_m] long did it take for you to get citizenship in your new country/what kind of permits or visas did you have in the beginning and how has that changed?
I’m currently on a student visa and it was a fairly easy process for me… I guess it’s because the immigration rules here aren’t very strict since I know of others who have gotten working visas and permits and it wasn’t difficult for them either.

5. What is your favorite thing about your new country? What is your least?
I love living here! The culture here is very different from back home and, while I do miss how much more outgoing, loud, and open people are where I’m from, I do enjoy the experience and learning about all the cultural differences.

6. What was the hardest thing to adjust too in your new country?
Honestly, I’m a pretty adaptable person so regardless of how different some things were, it was really easy for me to adapt to living here and I didn’t have any trouble adjusting.

7. [name_f]Do[/name_f] you travel back to your birth country to visit anyone (family, friends, etc)? If yes, how often?
I’ve been living here for two years and so far I have only been able to go back once… sadly, since it’s so far away it’s pretty expensive to travel back and forth so I have to limit myself. I will be going next year though!

8. If you have kids, have they been to your birth country? [name_m]How[/name_m] often have they visited and what is your “routine” when traveling with them?
No kids yet! But if I were to have and be living away from my home country, I would definitely try to visit with them as much as I can!

9. If you could go back and change one thing about how you immigrated, what would you change?
There’s nothing much I would change really… I guess maybe plan a bit more? Moving here was a bit of an impulse decision and I didn’t do much planning before coming so I had to figure everything out once I was actually here haha!

10. [name_m]How[/name_m] did you tell your family that you were immigrating? What was their reactions?
I was searching online for universities and I found the website for the one I’m currently studying in… I told my mom I was going to apply and if I got accepted I would move. She always knew that I wanted to leave home and never come back (funnily enough, living abroad made me realize how much I actually love my country and once I graduate I’m moving back… even though the original plan was to live somewhere else) and was completely supportive as she had traveled and lived across [name_f]Asia[/name_f] when she was my age as well. I didn’t tell my dad I was moving until after I got accepted to my university… he was pretty shocked and didn’t wan’t me to leave but he accepted that it was something I needed to do and let me go… but not without complaining lol!

11. What do you do to stay in touch with your family? [name_m]How[/name_m] do you get around a big time zone difference when calling or face-timing?
There’s an 11 hour time difference so it’s quite tricky managing our schedules! But regardless I still talk to my family almost every day, mostly messaging but we do video calls often as well.

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  1. Nine years old
  2. My family (parents and sister)
  3. A long way - [name_f]England[/name_f] to Australia
  4. Took us four years to get citizenship - we had permanent residency before that I believe
  5. Best thing is the weather! Least favourite would probably be that I miss a lot of the food back in [name_f]England[/name_f] and can’t get it in Australia.
  6. Probably just the new environment and the different way of life, also not fitting in at school.
  7. We have visited [name_f]England[/name_f] fairly regularly since moving to see family and friends, on average once every two years, but that will not be happening anymore due to both coronavirus and family complications.
  8. N/A
  9. Obviously at the age of nine I couldn’t have really changed anything, but I wish my parents had told me earlier that we were moving! Many of the teachers at my primary school knew before me that I was moving to Australia as my parents only told us two months before it happened…
  10. N/A - my parents had known for several years about moving to Australia so I’m not sure how they told other people about it!
  11. We call and video-call family and friends, usually when it is our evening and it is their morning.

You miss [name_f]English[/name_f] food? :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye: :nerd_face:

Generally speaking, it depends where you’re coming from and going to. US to [name_f]Canada[/name_f] and US to NZ would both be easier transitions. Between the two, it’s a bit of a toss up, but I reckon NZ would be ever so slightly easier for you than [name_f]Canada[/name_f]. Having said that, it would be much easier for you to gain residency in [name_f]Canada[/name_f] than NZ.

My background: I and my wife and kids are dual citizens of two countries on opposite ends of the globe. I personally have lived in five countries on three continents / continental regions. And studied abroad in a sixth country on a fourth continent (which happened to be my mother’s country, where I have many relatives). Also, my employment is working with young international travellers, and I’ve travelled widely myself.

  1. Mostly in my 20’s

  2. Ultimately, met my wife and immigrated to the country she grew up in.

  3. As above

  4. About 6.5 years, start to finish, granted in my mid 30’s

  5. Favourite: It’s home. After years wandering, love having a place to put down roots. Least: it’s expensive. One of the most expensive countries on the planet. In the past, when visiting relatives in other places, I’ve taken an extra suitcase, to bring back cheaper items.

  6. Transitioning from my birth country to my home country was relatively easy. The cultures are similar, and my wife was a natural bridge explaining differences when they mystified me. The only hard part was being far away from loved ones. Previous transitions in other countries were much harder for me.

It’ll depend on your personality, but you should have minimal external issues moving to either [name_f]Canada[/name_f] or NZ, though there are xenophobic folks everywhere who will not be keen on you in their country, esp you being American.

Honestly, if you’ve never spent time abroad, your first step should be to explore both countries. I’d connect with online expat communities in your countries of interest. But if and when you do move internationally, I would not silo yourself off in an expat community. Rather, plug into normal life as soon as possible. Expat communities are great when you’re celebrating holidays from the homeland, but they can be toxic in everyday life — made up of unintegrated folks keen to gripe about the new country. Avoid like Covid.

  1. About once a year a few family members will travel in one direction or the other for a visit.

  2. Yes. We have eight kids, so international travel is intense. It takes a lot of prep and planning (and is expensive, but thankfully subsidised by keen grandparents). [name_m]Long[/name_m] flights and time changes are the hardest part, so a move to [name_f]Canada[/name_f] rather than NZ would mitigate both for you.

Culturally, our kids have mixed accents that vary between the two countries depending on whom they’re speaking to, but are never 100% pure for either country. This sets them as slight outsiders for both countries, including their birth country. It’s also awkward when dealing with things in my homeland - the kids are assumed to be able to understand, say, the coins in my birth country, which of course they do not.

  1. I might have given up my birth country citizenship. I debate this in my head often.

  2. My parents are romantics, and loved the idea. They love my home, and what we’re up to here. Though it’s also very hard on them, with so many of their grandkids far away (again, we have eight kids). And sometimes, my father makes jokes in poor taste about trying to get away from him.

  3. Facetime, Skype, Messenger, Messages… it’s pretty easy to stay in contact. We chat multiple times a week. Often multiple times a day.

Hope you find your home - a place to plant yourself, flourish, grow older and wiser, and die happy.

:joy:
Thanks @namelover55 and @tp_b for the thoughtful answers!

@tp_b - since I figured I would do a test run during college (go abroad completely for college instead of just a semester like normal) so I would do a couple of clubs at said school. Although I guess if I go to college in another country that sets me behind on work references if I decide to stay in the US instead. Another thing to think about…

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I wouldn’t worry about local work refs. I reckon your overseas experience would be a benefit, rather… distinguishing you from the crowd.

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I miss the fish and chips, [name_u]Walker[/name_u]’s crisps, all sorts of sweets and chocolates, [name_f]Sunday[/name_f] roast (they don’t have proper pubs here), Pizza Express and then the Chinese and [name_f]Indian[/name_f] as well (they have different things in Australia!)

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