Every once in a while, I run into fellow expats who make it clear they aren’t interested in my friendship, declaring their intent to associate exclusively with local people because they want the full immersion experience.While this is a laudable goal, and certainly the fastest way to acquire the language and learn the nuances of the culture, most people can’t keep it up for long.My husband Rich and I spent many enjoyable evenings on the town with new arrivals from a wide assortment of countries, backgrounds, and generations.Age knows no boundaries One of the great things about being an expat in a town is that you have friends of all ages – in my case, from 20s to 80s.Taking a cue from my neighbour Nancy, I told the young couple I didn’t want them to go, this was obviously a bad decision, but how could I help?This was the first of many such losses, and as such, it served as a sort of inoculation that made the later ones easier to bear.Even Spaniards arriving from other cities complain of feeling like outsiders in Seville.As a friend from another Spanish town put it, “The Sevillanos welcome you with open arms, but they never actually wrap those arms around you.” Mix and match for sanity But then, all friendships have limitations.
I share great times with all of them, but in different ways.So should foreigners avoid the expat crowd when moving abroad?Always the 'outsider' Most friendships are built over a lifetime, and as an outsider you’ll always be playing catch-up.In an expat community, people come and go with tremendous frequency for every possible reason.
I began to understand why club members who’d lived in Seville for decades were always asking me, “How long do you plan to stay?
I have American friends with whom I can’t touch on a wide range of subjects without nuclear reprisals.
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Should foreigners avoid joining 'expat bubbles'? Blogger Karen McCann considers the pros and cons of mingling with expat groups when living abroad. Every.…