If you are like most Canadians living abroad, you are an adventurist soul. You have moved abroad to learn about the people, the culture and perhaps the language of the country that you are now living in. I would encourage you to maintain that spirit of adventure. One of the last things that you had perhaps considered was to join an expat group. However, joining one could prove key to your ability to integrate into your adopted society. A social network of fellow expats can be a resource to lean on in the time of need and a resource to tap into when you need information. I would whole heartedly encourage you to consider exploring the expat groups that are in your community. Here are some reasons to seek out an Expat group:
Being an active part of the community is clearly very important but when your heart begins to long for home, it’s truly wonderful to have a group of peers that understands your situation. Even in an expat group that you find is not entirely made up of Canadians, the simple fact that they are expats means that they would most likely be empathetic to your situation.
Expat groups can offer you a network of individuals that can assist in finding employment and navigating some of the local employment laws that you may not be familiar with. Individuals that have experience working in your country of residence can be an invaluable resource of information. They can help you avoid traps and awkward situations with difficult employers and, if you are an employer yourself, can offer you a resource of potential employees.
Where are the best locations to get away? What about a good bank? Is there a good dentist? These are just a few of the many questions that an expat group can help resolve. There are a myriad of issues that the expat life can present and having a group to bounce questions off of, can be incredibly reassuring.
Finding an expat group
One word- online. It can be as easy as that. One of the best resources is an amazing site called InterNations.org. This is an online organization with some 390 cities worldwide. You can search for Canadian groups specifically using this tool.