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Life as an Expat

Expat life Rod

Rodrigo from our HCA office in the UK talks about moving from his hometown in Brazil to explore the world and live in other countries with his wife, a Physiotherapist. If you’re thinking about making the move to work Australia, read more about Rodrigo’s journey below. 

My life as an expat has been an incredible journey. I feel very fortunate that I’m able to experience life outside my home country, Brazil, since 2006. It all started with my post-graduation studies in the Netherlands in 2006. What was supposed to be a 1-year trip ended up being 11! Right after I completed my studies, my wife thought it was time to fulfill her longtime dream to live in Australia. She fell in love with the country after 1 year working under the Working Holiday Visa. After a long process to have her Physiotherapy degree recognised in Australia, we were granted the Australian Permanent Residency.

My wife and I never talked about the length of our stay in Australia. We just wanted to start a new life in a new country without having to worry about time restrictions. From 2007 to 2015 we lived in three different states in Australia, travelled around the country, explored South-East Asia and made a lot of friends along the way. However, we both realised that after eight years it was time for a new adventure in a different part of the world. So off we went to London, the city where we have been living since then.

In my personal experience, the first two years living abroad were the hardest ones. The idea of living away from your home country is quite overwhelming at first. There is a strong impulse of packing your bags and moving back during that period of time. The emotional attachment you have to your home country can go beyond sharing the same language and cultural values: home is where your family is and I believe this will never change for me.  However, I’m glad I did not succumb to the temptation and stayed as things got better with time. Once you understand the culture, become more proficient in the country’s language and start working things improve. You have a great sense of belonging and that you are contributing positively to society.

Living abroad is a real eye-opener when it comes to knowing about your own country. Surprisingly, the country that I got to know more about was, in fact, Brazil. Once you are away for a period of time certain aspects of your own culture (good or bad) become clearer. It’s great to be able to appreciate what you once took for granted. I never paid attention to the beautiful hills that surround my parents’ home in Rio de Janeiro, the beautiful beaches and I never thought I would miss watching football that much!

I guess it’s all about embracing the new and getting rid of the old bad habits that you might have. It’s very important to assimilate when it comes to a happy life abroad, but never forget who you are and where you came from.

It’s been an incredible 11 years since I left Brazil. It was never planned to be that way, but sometimes the unplanned may bring you the most rewarding life experiences. Deep inside I knew that I could always go back if I felt my journey abroad was over. I guess that’s what keeps me going: I do have a place I can call home no matter what!