How to Cope With Losing Your Identity as an Expat

How to Cope With Losing Your Identity as an Expat

Moving to any country isn’t always an easy decision to take. Close your eyes for a minute or two and think about all your favorite people, food, or activities from back home you’d miss once you move abroad. Leaving them behind sounds tough, doesn’t it?

For some, it is about leaving behind the ones you love, and for some, it is about leaving behind one’s own identity which is in some ways bound to the language, culture, traditions, and beliefs. In today’s era, the Internet has given you the power to learn about diversification and multicultural lifestyle.

You can gain all the knowledge of the varying cultures from the Internet, but at some point in your life, you’re still going to risk losing your identity. Rather than falling into an identity crisis or even accepting a new one as your fate, you can always find ways to keep your identity intact.

Take a look at some of these things you can do to cope with these issues:

Find Your Way to Your Community

Remember how centuries ago humans would live in the form of tribes or clans? Well, some things haven’t changed. Just over a century ago, one would have never imagined how easy it would become to connect with people around the world. You live in a world where, despite feeling like you are alone in a foreign land, you can easily always find places abroad where your cultures, traditions, and beliefs are practiced.

While it won’t be hard to find many of your own people in the form of communities, you’d also find many of those wanting to learn from you about your language, culture, traditions, and beliefs. You’re probably wondering how all this would help you preserve your identity.

It’s simple. Just look for those people who want to learn from you about your culture, have regular meet-ups with them, and discuss with them the core elements of your identity which are valuable to you and your community. You’ll find yourself connecting to these people and cherish the new form of relationship which will enable you to recall all the good times you had with the ones back home. In helping them learn something new about your identity, you’ll be helping yourself remain in touch with it.

Call Back Home and Stay Connected

It’s no secret that while you miss the people back home when you’re living abroad, especially on the days of celebration, these people who you love so dearly are missing you the same way. I know how hard it can be to contact and talk to people on the phone when you’re busy trying to adjust to your new life, but you can always find some time to contact your loved ones at home. Seriously, they care about you and they want to know how you’re doing.

You can always call back home and celebrate the festivals which are part of your customs and traditions with your loved ones. Talk about all the rejoicing moments you had and how they helped you become the person that you are today. How they shaped your beliefs and values.

All the things you learned about at home, can now become your tool to not only share them with the new people in the community abroad, but also the ones who would help you remember how to continue practicing your values and beliefs. So what’s stopping you from picking up your phone and calling back home right now?

Learn About Your Culture

Ever wondered what others think about you or your culture? To answer that you must think about what you would think of them if they were to live in your home country. If you’ve just moved to a new country, then you’re probably wondering, “where can I find places here that will teach me about my own culture?”

The answer is easy – Socialize. Go out and meet people who are interested in your culture and ask them where they get their knowledge from. Do they go to academies or institutions where they teach about your culture and traditions? Well, you can go to those places, too! Not only will these people help you learn more about your culture, but they’ll also give you a chance to meet people who are interested in it.

Make your way to such places, become part of those institutions and help other enthusiasts gain knowledge about your country while simultaneously improving yourself and helping yourself develop a concrete identity.


Don’t be too harsh on yourself. You must be aware that the world is big enough for people to develop a multicultural identity. There are explorers and workers in the form of expats who move to different countries from time to time. It’s natural to want to have a concrete identity of your own that you can call home, but even if you do end up losing some of it, there’s no point in feeling insecure about it. Think of it like this: you’re not losing your identity, you’re just letting yourself grow. As a person. And if your new identity completely takes over your old one, then that’s just who you are. There’s nothing wrong with that.

Talk to the people around you and the ones close to you back home. Once you start discussing, people will want to accept the change in you and will voluntarily help you in finding you what you consider to be best for you. You may even find people wanting to be like you. Try to refrain from being around people who make you feel insecure about it. As long as you feel comfortable being in your skin, nothing will be able to make you “lose” your identity.

Stay true to yourself and seek answers based on what makes you happy and helps you become a healthier, more mature version of yourself.

The Takeaway

While all these solutions are purely based on what expats experience during their stay in other countries, you must understand that every country holds its own values and limitations. Some of these may be applicable to a larger extent in one country, whereas some would be unacceptable in the other due to political, cultural, or even religious factors.

Some of the best ways to stay in touch with your identity is to call your loved ones back home regularly and joining institutions where you can learn more about your culture and socialize with people who want to know more about it. A healthier way to deal with this would be to just accept who you are and learn to be more confident being in your skin. Your identity doesn’t have to concrete. It can be flexible, because you are whoever you are in the now. Your identity is constantly changing. Just like you.

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