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Stockpile near-death experiences and look anguished: a guide to expat etiquette

There are two unmistakable signs that you live in an expat bubble. First, the only time that you talk to non-expats is at work. Second, you look around at any social gathering and realise that no one is actually from the country where said gathering is taking place.

As always, you have choices. You can strike out on your own, boast of your friendships with local shopkeepers and street children, and tell everyone that you didn’t travel overseas to spend your time drinking with Americans and Europeans. This is an honourable path, but might leave you lonely.

Alternatively, you can embrace the expat bubble. Like any social situation in which a group of random people is confined to a small space – like a high school, or prison – it promises immediate transitory friendships, drama and the opportunity to scorn new arrivals.

As ever, striking the right balance between these two extremes is up to you, but here a few tips to help you navigate the process.

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