During my time in Germany, I’ve come across a type of expat that I can only describe as the Negative Expat. All of us expats have times when we moan and complain about life in our new country as we go through that difficult adjustment time, which can last quite a long time. However, the Negative Expat doesn’t stop complaining. To them, everything in their new country is bad. The language is too hard, the people are too rude, nothing is like it is at home etc, etc. Every conversation you have with them is a series of complaints and they can find nothing good about the country they have found themselves in. Even after they leave their new country and head back to the safety of their home country, they keep bad mouthing the country they had their expat experience in.
Unfortunately, some expat groups seem to be full of people like this. It is one of the reasons why I have stopped going to expat meet-ups. I want to give life here a real chance. I don’t want my social life to be dominated by these types of people. My friends here are mainly long-term expats who have chosen to make Germany their home. I find them much more inspiring to be around. They are, to me, a symbol of someone I could become if I put in the hard yards and learn to integrate.
Now, I’m not going to recommend that those of you who have recently moved to a new country avoid all expat gathering, like quite a few expat sites do. Go to meetings and connect with people as they can provide lots of support and invaluable information. However, be on the lookout for the Negative Expat and spend as little time as possible with these people. Choose to spend your time with those who, like yourself, have decided to make the most of your expat experience. Also, get out and get involved in groups that are not targeted to newly arrived expats so you can meet people who have chosen to make your adopted country their home and talk to them about their experiences. You will learn a lot more and get more out of your expat experience then listening to the never ending complaints dished out by the Negative Expat.