Not everyone has the chance to become an expat. That is, leaving your own country behind to work and live overseas for an extended period of time.

The night I first arrived in Singapore from my home city Davao City, Philippines. I did not know then that I would end up coming to at least 30 countries in the years to come, nor living in Singapore and eventually in France, from this day.

While the sound of being an ex-pat is exciting and indeed rewarding, it also comes with a plethora of new challenges.

Below is a list of lessons I would tell to the version of myself from over 10 years ago; a version of myself who have yet to step out of his own country.

  1. Do not wait; make things happen. If you are not happy where you are, leave and change something.
  2. Consciously look after yourself in every way – financially, physically, mentally, emotionally, academically, professionally, and socially.
  3. Break barriers: leave your traditional customs behind and adapt to a global culture, but remember to accept who you are and where you came from.
  4. Meet new people and challenge your own biases.
  5. Manage yourself and the direction of your life. Have fun and long-term goals in the present, commit to them, and take action to make them happen no matter how slow.
  6. Keep good friendships. They are always rewarding so are the efforts to nurture.
  7. Assume you will be alone in your old age, then plan how you can make that better.
  8. You don’t need to spend time with people that don’t give you value nor with people who do not want the best for you.
  9. Constantly improve and surround yourself with people who are better than you.
  10. Be pragmatic and decisive. Face your problems and solve them as quickly as possible.
  11. Be rational in your decisions, yet be empathetic and considerate of other people’s hardships.
  12. Always actively find ways to bounce up quickly when struck down and don’t let yourself be down for too long. Failure is only temporary.
  13. Be nice and smart, and try to be kind regardless.
  14. Be constantly motivated. Live a life full of adventures, as if it is your last day tomorrow. The best way to die is by spending time doing what you love and being with your loved ones.
  15. Give back.

Are you an expat? What would you add to this list?

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