How To Make An Expat Map: Welcoming People To Your Community

Living abroad is hard. If you want to make your community more accessible, consider building an expat map. Here are 9 local items to include.

When you move abroad, you'll find a whole new world of possibilities open to you. However, leaving behind your old life and beginning a new one in a foreign country is about more than just experiencing something new. 

One of the benefits of expat life is a more refined sense of identity. It's a great time to branch out, discover a new passion, and think about what you want to bring into your life and what you want to leave behind.

There's nothing like uprooting your life and relocating thousands of miles away from everyone and everything you know to force you to face your true identity front on. Moving abroad provides a fresh start for those who have had trouble defining themselves independently of their background or the expectations of their social circle. 

The other side of the coin is that leaving behind friends, family, and everything you've ever known is among the toughest aspects of relocating abroad. If you want to help others in this difficult position, an expat community map is valuable in making a community more welcoming and accessible to newcomers.

What Is An Expat Map?

As mentioned above, you can help your country's other expats settle in more easily by providing them with an expat map of your city.

What kind of expat community exists in your area? Spread the word about what you want others to see or know by marking them on an interactive map and inviting others to do the same. You can make the interactive map accessible by sharing it with everyone in your expat community through different platforms.

How To Make An Expat Map

Businesses That Sell Items From Home

When you first landed, you couldn't wait to try all the local food or cook how the locals did, but when the novelty wore off, you were desperately aching for your grandmother's special dish. You could've quickly cooked it, but you needed the main ingredients, and you weren't even sure if they had them in your new country. 

Fast forward to today, you know where to get anything and everything you need for those days when you long for your hometown. Help a fellow expat out and include businesses that sell items from home in your interactive map - perhaps stores that carry seasonings and candies unique to your state. A taste of home would be one mouse hover away. 

Restaurants That Specialize In Traditional Foods

How about those that don't cook? They've made their rounds in the must-try restaurants of the city. It's now time to see if anything can come close to their favorite childhood dish. Any restaurant can claim they serve authentic Ramen, but that remains to be seen.

Plus, suppose some have vowed to switch to a plant-based diet. Pointing out where to find traditional cuisine and restaurants that meet special requirements in your interactive map would be nothing short of amazing.  

Businesses Owned By Fellow Expats

It seems like yesterday you felt like you were the only one from your hometown in your new country, and how wonderful it felt when you found out Nancy from the nearby shops is from the States too. You didn't have to look up the French term for specific items or hope against hope that you could pass off as a local. 

Connect people to expat business owners through your interactive map. You're contributing to the community and helping individuals acclimate to their new environment at the same time since everybody speaks the same language.

Bilingual Businesses

Sometimes only your mother tongue will do. An expat can increase their chances of being approved for a loan when they can explain their good financial standing to the banker in their language during an interview or quickly persuade a lawyer to their side during a case. A newly-arrived expat with a unique condition will undoubtedly feel more comfortable speaking to a doctor from their country. Ensure to include bilingual businesses in your interactive map and categorize them accordingly.

Local Churches

A church is a fantastic place to start for anyone seeking a sense of belonging. Make map points of churches that either follow the faiths of your home country or have a sizable expat population. 

Local Expat Meetups

Residents of your new country might never understand that everyone stays home to watch the boxing match of your home country's ultimate sports idol or that fiesta is a bigger deal than, say, Christmas from where you're from. But your expat community will, and that is why local expat meetups are great inclusions in your interactive map. A big expat population in your city means more opportunities to socialize with others who share your background and enjoy activities like watching sports and celebrating national holidays.

Job Opportunities

You remember it all too well. Your spouse's job took you to a new country. You wish you had something going on with your life, too - a sense of accomplishment. But it was hard to find anything online there; you wish someone had referred you to a job opening. 

Include companies and job postings in your interactive map if the tables are turned, and you're the one recruiting now, or you know of businesses with experience employing expats, taking into account their immigration status.  

Language Schools

You can still recall when you first fell in love with the language. Who wouldn't be the Italian language is simply… bello

If you want to fit in with the locals, taking some lessons to learn the language is a must. It's also a terrific way to expand your social circle. Make sure to include language schools for both kids and adults in your interactive map.

Other Resources

There is so much more information an expat would need, and you could make it your mission to create interactive maps to support your fellow citizens. Police stations, foreign exchange, moving or relocation companies, insurance providers, hospitals, and of course, embassies should be at the top of your list. Proxi lets you complete your interactive maps with detailed descriptions, photos, and relevant links and share them on websites or social media.      

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