Make Your Own Expat Leaving Letter


Living abroad comes with its own unique adventures, such as finding an apartment, trying different foods, embracing foreign culture, etc. It’s a big reason why expats tend to stick together and share their experiences. But if you’ve ever been a part of an expat group, there’s one experience which you quickly become aware of- and that’s going away parties for when someone decides to leave. After having been to several in a month I can safely say that it’s never easy telling everyone about your decision. That’s why I’ve crafted this handy letter for when you decide to leave your expat friends behind! Please feel free to use it whenever you like.

Dear (friends/family/people I drink with),

After having lived for (6 months/3 years/2 days) in (name of city), I am (sad/happy) to say that I will be leaving for a new adventure. It has been such a (unique/eye opening/depressing) experience living here that I don’t know if I can simply sum it up in a few words, but I will try.

It seems like only yesterday I arrived from (previous location). I was immediately (surprised/thrilled/disappointed) to find that everything I thought I knew about this city was (right/wrong/vague). Although it may be (hard/easy) now to believe that I was (confused/on top of things), I (struggled/thrived) thanks to the help of (friends/family/a hobo at the main station). Within a (short/long) time I felt (at home/alienated/myself up).

Who could forget that first fantastic trip to (Barcelona/Amsterdam/IKEA)? Or when I got my first job (waiting tables/as slave labor for a startup/servicing wealthy businessmen)? Or how I found my apartment by (looking online/asking a friend/killing a man)? Such memories! If you had told me in school that someday I would be (partying/studying/begging for change) with my friends from (Indonesia/Portugal/Narnia), I would have never believed you. Now I’ll never forget thanks to my (photos/concert bracelets/Zika virus).

There have been ups and downs, highs and lows. Learning the language was (a challenge/something I’m getting to/something I gave up on immediately). Going through the registration process to live here was (easy/hard/hell). Yet through it all I had my (friends/family/people I met at a party) there to support me. I’ll cherish them always.

So here’s to the memories, to the experiences, and to the journey that was part of living abroad. Though I may never be able to (move on/come back/cancel my internet contract), it is (simple/difficult) to say I couldn’t have done it on my own. Perhaps someday, when I (have enough money/can stop running from INTERPOL), I’ll be able to return. Until then, let me say with all sincerity, (“Thank you”/”I love you”/”Fuck you all”).

(Your Name)

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