Expat Reflections: 2020

What did this year hold for those living abroad?

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If there’s one takeaway from COVID-19, it’s how intricately we are connected in life through a shared human experience.

As December draws to a close, here are 3 reflective questions that are answered by 6 expats in different countries around the world. Their experiences, values, and lessons as global citizens paint a clear picture of the depths of our interconnectedness.

How can you relate?

Photo by Manuel Peris Tirado on Unsplash

Question 1:

What experiences of 2020 will you always remember?

At a personal level, I witnessed the development of my 2 last children…which is a joy and blessing that compensates all the negative things going on.

Luigi, living in USA


Werner, living in USA

Being in complete lockdown for 65 days, when I was alone in my 600 square foot apartment, was memorable because of how challenging it was. Not something I ever wish to do again.

Sarah, living in Spain

The joy of a run after 3 months (of lockdown).

Heather, living in Spain

Zoom for school, exercising, game nights, and conversation; learning how to cook (and participating in) writing club; (attending the high school) graduation in pajamas…They were all unique to 2020.

Kevin, living in Argentina

Resilience, patience and creativity. Resilience because of what the entire world is going through, patience because it is mainly out of our control, and creativity because of how people found ways to reinvent themselves.

Aymara, living in China
Photo by Tim Mossholder on Unsplash

Question 2:

What value have you found in this year of living abroad, COVID and all?

Equality at home.

Heather, Spain

Appreciation for family moments that will not happen again. (I’m grateful to have) a job, security, and insurance but most of all to have the technology, which kept us closer.

Aymara, China


Werner, USA

From now on, I’m (staying close to) people with integrity.

Luigi, USA

Your tribe is always with you, no matter how far away they may be.

Sarah, Spain

A better understanding how other countries approach the crisis.

Kevin, Argentina
Photo by Isaac Smith on Unsplash

Question 3:

What lessons have you learned in 2020 that you hope to carry with you into the future?

People come first…there is no amount of work, time, or money that can bring them back. So enjoy them.

Luigi, USA

Flexibility is key. Keep it simple.

Heather, Spain

The only truth in life is family and friends, as love comes and goes.

Werner, USA

Empathy. Everyone handles things in different ways.

Kevin, Argentina

Patience, kindness, and self-care.

Aymara, China

Resilience. Actively go after what you want in this life.

Sarah, Spain

As 2020 draws to a close, please join in these reflections, wherever in the world you may be. May you cherish the positive, release the negative, and remember the value of the year as we carry our learnings into the future.

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