Believe it or not, one of the biggest challenges in the adventures of an Australian expat has little to do with what actually happens overseas. It’s what happens when the adventure is over and they return home that can bite the hardest.
During that time as an expat, horizons have broadened and they will never narrow again. So the return to Australia can be just as shocking, if not even more shocking, than the original departure – for the simple reason that a shock was not really expected at all!
So here are a few tips about the end of that expat adventure and the reverse culture-shock that could may face!
1. Ensure continuity
When abroad, expats have almost certainly set up a very different life with different hobbies and activities. So don’t just cut the cord on all of those activities – continue them when back home if possible. For instance, if you started volunteering on weekends, look around for similarly fulfilling opportunities back home.
2. Manage expectations
Similarly, returning expats often run into trouble because they think slotting back into ‘home life’ will be a piece of cake. But re-integrating can actually be just as difficult as adjusting to expat life – so don’t put yourself under too much pressure. Accept that you may feel a new sort of ‘homesick’ and trust in the steady process of readjustment.
3. Learn about ‘home’ again
That period of adjustment is partly due to the fact that ‘home’ has changed since you were last here. It’s not just your job that will have changed, but your friends, family and even Aussie culture as well. Simple processes you were accustomed to in Australia – like the process of paying for groceries via self-checkout, for example – may now be different, and you may even feel like a total outsider as friends detect changes in your personality and accent.
4. Plan ahead
Because this culture shock may be unexpected, returning expats can come unstuck because they didn’t plan for the move well enough. You may find it harder than expected to resume your career where it left off, partly because your skills are more advanced, partly because of cultural differences that you will have picked up along the way . You’ll also have to let the banks and various government departments know that you’ve returned (e.g. advising banks that you are no longer a no-resident, updating the electoral roll, updating contact addresses and contact numbers etc).
5. Seek tax advice
The number one mistake returning expats make is assuming that there are no tax consequences of returning home, or worse, failing to plan and prepare their finances adequately before returning home, with the result being a hefty, unexpected tax bill. Accordingly, if you are an expat about to return home to Australia, we highly recommend that you book a “Returning Home – Australian Expat Returning to Australia” tax consultation with us via our book an appointment page. With a no questions asked, money back guarantee if you’re not satisfied with the advice you receive, you’ll get the advice you need, absolutely risk free!
Expat Tax Services are specialists not just in Australian tax and Australian tax returns for Aussie expats, but in advising on all the little tax issues that make expat life tricky and in need of caring support. Get in touch today.