Being a single expat and how to make the most of it

Being a single expat and how to make the most of it

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Anyone who has moved to a new location and new culture for an extended period of time can tell you it can be very challenging and scary. For the single expat, this can be even more intimidating and intense, but it doesn’t have to be! Mattaya from M Parker Counselling tells us how you can make the most of being single in a new country.

Facing a whole new culture on your own without the support of a partner can make the whole process of integrating and adapting to a new culture even more lonely. The reality is though, lots of people can do it and even find it more rewarding to have started over in a new world all on their own!

Let’s talk about some ways to get to that triumphant moment when you can say “I did it, and I did it solo!”.

Cut yourself some slack

The first thing you need to do is give yourself a break! Managing being in a new country is hard, and sometimes being single is hard too, but you are doing both, so it is okay not to be rocking it 24/7.

Pick one goal at a time (finding your local grocery store, setting up a bank account or even just picking your favourite café) and feel the accomplishment of completing that goal before pushing yourself onto the next one. 

Reframe the negatives

Being single can sometimes feel like a really big negative and make us feel even more isolated, but it can also be so freeing! You have this amazing opportunity to go out and meet new people from both the Dutch community and the expat community.

Being an expat can feel lonely too, that is why there are so many meet-up and Facebook groups that are the perfect way for you to meet other people in similar situations, even in times of COVID (Zoom calls, park walks, coffees to go are a great way to start).

Rather than focusing on how lonely it feels, try focusing on the empowering sense of freedom and adventure that can come from building a brand-new community for yourself.

Getting mental health support

Sometimes being on our own and facing all these challenges can add up. It can cause a lot of stress, anxiety and even depression. That is okay though, it doesn’t mean you have failed or can’t accomplish all you set out to do, it just means it might be time to ask for help from a professional.

Mattaya works as a psychotherapist with expats from all over the world to help them feel more confident, find better ways to adjust and manage their anxiety, and help them succeed in their new home. If you are feeling stressed, burnt-out, anxious or depressed, do not hesitate to reach out! The first intake session is free and can easily be booked at your convenience on the M Parker Counselling website. It is not a weakness to get mental health support, but rather a sign of strength and determination.

Mattaya Parker


Mattaya Parker

I am a 26 year old Canadian woman living abroad in the Netherlands since 2018. I did my undergraduate degree in psychology and anthropology at the University of British...

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