One of the hardest things about living outside your home country as an expat is making friends. What’s even harder is watching those friends go back to their home countries or move on somewhere else. Additionally, what’s even harder than that is watching friends who are native to your adopted country move to your original home country and leave you in their native country. That brings very mixed emotions to the forefront.

Of course I’m overjoyed for them, they are having an amazing adventure and lots of opportunities are on the horizon for them. It’s truly a wonderful time and of course they deserve all the happiness that a move like this can bring. It’s so exciting because I know just what they will be experiencing, what their very first times doing this or doing that will be like. Not only because I’ve experienced the opposite here but also because it’s my country, my way of doing things and I know how the mindset is and how different it can be to the British mindset on many issues and every day occurrences. There’s also a tiny bit of jealousy mixed in with excitement which is silly I know, but hey, it’s only natural I think.

So with heavy heart I wish them well and answer their questions and give advice and share stories with them. I am very happy for them and know that not only will they be experiencing a new country but that they will also be experiencing culture shock, language barriers (yes, really), and a perhaps a loss of self like I did when I first moved to England. It is a new challenge, a new adventure and a new chapter in their lives. I hope they find good friends and support networks to help them in their new adopted country.

One benefit for me is that when they return to England to visit their family and friends, they bring me American goodies that I love and miss. So it’s not all bad!


Meghan Peterson Fenn is the author of Bringing Up Brits, co-author of Inspiring Global Entrepreneurs, co-founder and Director of Design and Web at Shake It Up Creative. And, she is an award winning expat blogger.