My name is Heather Demir, and I am a social worker from the USA with a strong interest in learning about other cultures. I spent my 20s learning Japanese, Albanian, and Serbo-Croatian (none of which I speak any longer), having studied abroad twice in Japan, working in Kosovo, and tutoring Japanese expats living in Michigan in English. I have been an expat living in Istanbul, Turkey, but also traveling frequently to Dubai, since 2015. I love the opportunity this affords me and my family to travel, meet new people, and grow as humans. My family is also bicultural: my husband is originally from Istanbul, so our children are in a unique position of knowing the culture and language, but also understanding the many layers to their identities. Being an expat, and a member of a bicultural family, has been quite an experience!
...can full of excitement, as you test your ability to navigate unfamiliar territory. If you live in a place where the culture and language are different from your own (and even if they are not) living abroad can provide a valuable learning opportunity.
However, living abroad can also be full of challenges. Living apart from loved ones, attempts a being heard and understood, and difficulty finding ways to fit into the new society can give rise to many difficult emotions - both from present but also from past experiences. You may find yourself feeling powerless, hopeless, lonely, frustrated, nervous, or even scared in your new environment.