How Important Are Expat Communities Overseas?

Expat Communities Overseas

How Important Are Expat Communities Overseas?

Before You Move Overseas, Meet The Neighbors…

If you’ve ever worried that, by moving overseas, you’ll be cut off from North American—or, at least, English-speaking—company, then please be assured that the world is far smaller than you think… as your fellow reader Michael Herndon recently found:


I’m staying in Valencia, Spain, until June 3. This afternoon I was at a fitness center about 15 minutes’ walk from my Airbnb apartment to sign up for the next month (only 30 euros!). An American came in at the same time to find out about signing up, and we began to chat.

He was still jet-lagged from his trip over from Florida (I left Florida March 28) and had just been to his first immersive Spanish class (I’d just left my two-hour Spanish tutoring session).

We both joined the gym and decided to walk back to the main plaza (Plaza Ayuntamiento) and have a drink. On the way, we discussed why we were in Valencia and realized that we were both doing a “try before you buy” stay in the city to see it not through the eyes of a tourist but as a resident.

I shared with him that this was my second trip to Valencia and that I had received referrals last year from Live and Invest Overseas for real estate professionals and an attorney. At that point, he stopped and exclaimed, “I was at the Live and Invest Overseas conference in Orlando in September last year!”

When I told him I was there, too, he asked how we could have missed each other… I told him it was hard to miss me because of my crutches and cast!

We laughed at the serendipity and continued to walk. We then realized that our apartments are on opposite sides of the main plaza… about a 3- to 5-minute walk from each other.

It’s great to find another Live and Invest Overseas veteran contemplating leaving the New World to explore the Old World!

Michael Herndon

It’s great to hear such stories of past conference attendees meeting by chance, in a foreign city thousands of miles away, as they find their way around.

Really, coming to one of our live events is not just about exploring your opportunities for starting a new life—and the practicalities of how to follow through.

It’s equally important, between presentations and workshops, to build your own circle of support—by mingling with the expats already settled around town, as well as your fellow attendees. Months down the line, these may be the friendly faces you pick out at the gym… standing in line to pay your bills… or in your language class.

These two readers, Michael and Joe, who are now exploring Valencia, didn’t happen to cross paths in Orlando… probably because the Retire Overseas Conference is our biggest event of the year (with 250+ attendees) and it would be impossible to get to know everybody (even when you’re the stand-out guy on crutches).

That said, if you’re joining us for our Retire Overseas Conference this August, don’t leave anything to chance. Be sure to network as much as possible, find out who’s interested in the same countries you’re drawn to, and swap contact details, so you can follow up later and share tips.

At our smaller in-country events—like those coming up in the Dominican Republic, Panama, Portugal, and Mexico—it’s even easier to get to chat with our expats on the scene and your fellow attendees… again, the folks who are likely to end up as your neighbors… whether in the same town or an hour or two away.

Of course, I’m not saying that you should only keep North American company when you go overseas. But even if you’re looking to settle in a place where you’ll be the first expat in town, there will be times when you’ll appreciate reaching out to a like-minded friend in the same country. Best to keep your options open…

And, while we’re on the topic of in-country events, I have an important reminder: The Early Bird Discount for our Live and Invest in Panama Conference expires this Wednesday, May 18.

If you’ve been thinking of exploring the diverse opportunities in Panama for yourself—from bustling big-city life… to vibrant beach communities… to a quieter pace on the stunning Azuero Sunset Coast (all of which, by the way, have an expat presence to help ease you into your new life)—you have two days left to secure your seat before the price goes up.

Nearly 100 of your fellow readers are already on the list to join us here in Panama City, June 8-10. I’d love to see you among them, too.

Valentine Fouché
Editor, Live and Invest Overseas Confidential

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