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In expat communities there are ‘stayers,’ ‘goers,’ and ‘newbies’ — there are also the complainers

By Terrance Hansson

Often overlooked by Cuenca expats, the majority of whom are retired, is the fact that most of the world’s expats are young people of working age, many of them teachers on annual contracts.

Moving to another country is a challenge for everyone and can be overwhelming for some.

Despite the difference in circumstances, both retired and working expats face the similar challenges. These include adjustment to new cultures and languages, and making friends with both other expats and locals.

Expat blogger Jerry Elmore, who teaches in China, discusses the annual phenomenon of expats who must decide if they will leave their positions for another one or sign a new contract and stay. At the same time, there are in-coming expats who are taking new positions and joining the expat community. Emore calls them “stayers,” “goers,” and “newbies.”

The relationships between the three groups can be problematic. Expats often form strong friendships with newcomers only see them end when those expats decide to leave, Elmore says. Many of the expat “stayers” tend to protect themselves emotionally by only associating with other “stayers.” At the same time, the “newbies” are excited to be in town and are eager to form relationships with the “stayers,” many of them needing help in learning the ropes in their new home.

In the meantime, the “goers” often feel guilty for leaving their friends behind, according to Elmore. Some of them, particularly those who decide to return to their home countries, feel a sense of failure or even shame for not being about to “make it” in the new country.

“Being an expat is not easy for anyone,” says Elmore. “It requires a toughness and mindset that accepts difficult challenges and can handle a high level frustration. If someone cannot break the habit of constantly comparing things to their home country they will probably never be content living overseas.”

He adds: “Expat social media is well-represented by complainers who seem to hate their adopted home. Their problem can be about the food, the transportation system, local customs, the politics — it really doesn’t matter. They always claim their objections are based on practical and objective grounds but most of them are simply unhappy people who will be miserable wherever they are.”

24 thoughts on “In expat communities there are ‘stayers,’ ‘goers,’ and ‘newbies’ — there are also the complainers

    1. From my experience, the “know it alls” (who are really “know-things”) are also the complainers. I know of a couple frequent commenters on this site who fit the description.

      1. To complain or not to complain that is the question – Sounds like you are complaining here – cheers mate!

    2. Donald Trump? Sure lots of damaging Narcissists ignorants running about lying endlessly to lack of self worth …. cheers!

    1. I’ve always found your posts to be relevant and entertaining and we have some of the same complaints, such as people that think their “whatever” is the BEST!. How can it be when yours is, right?

  1. comparing back home to Cuenca can be a positive and pleasing experience // I was in Los Angeles recently and was paying minimum of $ 150 for third rate hotel // Herein Cuenca across river tomebamba // Lovely suite // $ 40 a night // Yes I complain .// its not Ecuador /// its California

    1. Keep in mind that folks who stay in California hotels for $150/night normally earn more than $450/month. It’s all relative. When you have that kind of attitude, don’t blame the Ecuadorian market lady for trying to sell you an orange for 25 cents. Count your blessings that you don’t have to count your pennies here in Ecuador.

    2. Maybe money should be eliminated then. It’s a big mess in international exchange. Better yet, give everyone sufficient money to do whatever they like .

  2. It’s the same wherever you go…stayers, goers, newbies and complainers…No matter where you go, there you are…We’re all tourists here on the earth…

        1. I have read that guy for years and I still don’t understand anything he writes. He’s sort of like a Rhett Oracle Questioner light. Both are unintelligible.

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