Living as an US expat in a country in crisis
Expats typically move abroad or a better life, perhaps for love, adventure, work, or retirement. We hope for an enriching experience in another culture, and an improved quality of life.
What happens though when our host country experiences a full blown crisis?
Journalist, Author and Bright!Tax client Marissa Tejada moved to Athens six years ago for love. The relationship didn’t work out, but Marissa had by then fallen in love with Greece, and she stayed, building a successful career as a freelance journalist and author. Her debut novel ‘Chasing Athens’ is available from Amazon (www.chasingathens.com), while Marissa also publishes a destination travel blog about Greece and Europe called My Greece, My Travels (www.mygreecemytravels.com).
I love being an expat. I enjoy having a wide circle of friends from around the globe. I love learning new languages, so I love learning and speaking Greek. I enjoy travel, as a travel writer and for fun. I think Europe is a fantastic part of the world to explore. The opportunities I’ve had to travel in Greece and Europe influenced me to start my destination travel blog, My Greece, My Travels.
Of course, I miss my friends and family. I also miss the familiarity of the United States and that goes for everything from food to how people communicate. I feel like I really appreciate the States whenever I return.
The crisis certainly affects you living as an expat in Greece. You can’t turn on the television or read the papers without seeing coverage about it – Greek or international media. Greek people are looking for work, middle class families cutting back to make ends meet and Greeks are thinking of leaving the country. There’s a general frustration with how politicians have been handling the country over the past years.
It is a frustrating and stressful time for the people here, but I think they are dealing the best they can. One thing that helps is that Greece is a very family oriented society so there is a lot of support to help each other in times of need. There are very positive stories, too. Many Greeks are rebuilding their lives , thinking outside of the box and finding ways to open up new businesses. They are seeing the opportunity possible in a crisis.
I think every expat situation will differ. There are still expats living here who have great jobs, and there are expats who have lost jobs and have left. If there is steady work for you to live the life you want and if you can build on a good network of friends and family, then it doesn’t matter if an economic crisis surrounds you. It’s also helpful to be positive. Among a lot of negativity, seeing the glass half-full and enjoying the positive aspects of expat life is a great way to meet new people and enjoy life abroad.