The Expat Diaries: Make It Work!


As an expat, Tim Gunn’s famous catchphrase, by necessity, became my personal mantra. Only a week to find somewhere to live in London’s competitive housing market? Get on SpareRoom, hustle like hell, and make it work.

Not getting enough freelance work and uncertain that my savings will stretch until I find regular employment? Start pinching pennies, send out a million CVs, and make it work.

Feeling lonely and like it’s impossible to meet anyone? Reach out on social media, create an online dating profile, and make it work.

I have to admit that I wasn’t always very good at rolling with the punches. I enjoyed the comfort of routine and changes, whether big or small, could often be enough to make me uptight and uncomfortable.

As an expat you’re suddenly thrown off the deep-end. You don’t have the luxury of a familiar environment and there are no routines to count on. Even simple, everyday things like navigating the supermarket or interpreting the slang of a native speaker can feel daunting at first. But with a little bit of research and a lot of tenacity, you just push through and make it work.

Even now that I’ve lived in England for nine months, I’m still continuously faced with new situations that I’m not sure how to deal with or obstacles that, at first glance, seem impossible to overcome. But they don’t overwhelm me in the same way anymore.

That’s the great thing about being an expat. You find out what you’re made of. You adapt more easily. You learn how to make it work.

Love, silver linings, & new beginnings,

Image via 913 to 619.