In HSBC's Expat Explorer survey we asked 16,000 expats what 'Expat life is…?'

Expat life is…

Click on each line to explore further

Expat Life, Interpreted

In HSBC's Expat Explorer survey, 16,000 expats completed the phrase "Expat life is…" Click on the eight most popular words above, to explore how each was used to describe expat life.

We engaged a poet, journalist, blogger, and an artificial intelligence to draw their own interpretations of expat life from the data:

Picture of expat contributor: Robert Peake

Robert Peake

Poet

American, living in England

"Eightfold Expat"

Picture of expat contributor: Anna Nicholas

Anna Nicholas

Journalist

British, living in Spain

"The Art of Adapting to Expat Life"

Picture of expat contributor: Watson

Watson

Artificial Intelligence

Multinational, living in the Cloud

"Personality Portrait: The Expat"

Expat responses

A great opportunity to expand your horizons, but be careful, as it is difficult to give up.

Male, Age 35 to 54, Living in Bermuda

Always challenging, never dull and ultimately a privilege.

Female, Age 35 to 54, Living in Papua New Guinea

An interesting adventure which broadens your outlook on life.

Female, Age 55+, Living in France

An exciting experiences that challenges my perspectives every day and forces me to stay out of my comfort-zone.

Female, Age 18 to 34, Living in Spain

Very rewarding. You become a more rounded person because of your interactions with so many diverging cultures.

Male, Age 35 to 54, Living in United Arab Emirates

Difficult at first but worth it for a better life.

Male, Age 35 to 54, Living in Australia

Better now that I'm closer to the world.

Male, Age 18 to 34, Living in Singapore

Keeping flexible, adaptive and curious. Enjoying new experiences with an open mind. Living in a different world of concepts.

Male, Age 55+, Living in Costa Rica

A challenging life that promotes growth and a new deeper fulfilment.

Female, Age 35 to 54, Living in Netherlands

A great adventure and learning experience if you are open to it.

Female, Age 35 to 54, Living in Thailand

Exciting and intellectually stimulating.

Male, Age 35 to 54, Living in United Arab Emirates

Fun, interesting, challenging, never stopped learning new things, being more independent, getting to know more people, seeing more things.

Female, Age 18 to 34, Living in Singapore

Difficult at first. It is important to be persistent and make a real effort to integrate into the culture and language, because in the short-term that is what locals appreciate.

Male, Age 18 to 34, Living in Netherlands

Challenging but ultimately rewarding and a great life experience.

Female, Age 35 to 54, Living in Germany

Exciting and different everyday.

Female, Age 35 to 54, Living in Mexico

Reflects the best decision we could have made. We have a better quality of life and are better off financially.

Female, Age 35 to 54, Living in Sweden

Exciting and often challenging but worth it for life experience and the improved quality of life.

Female, Age 35 to 54, Living in Netherlands

A great experience to open horizons and make the most out of life.

Female, Age 18 to 34, Living in Australia

Exciting and liberating.

Female, Age 18 to 34, Living in New Zealand

Interesting and an eye-opener in a myriad of ways. I have lived abroad for more than half of my life on 3 different continents.

Female, Age 55+, Living in Germany

Difficult during first years, but you will finish by embracing your adoptive country. Every single experience is different, so do not listen to unhappy endings!

Female, Age 35 to 54, Living in Canada

Exciting, rewarding, challenging and every day is an adventure.

Male, Age 55+, Living in Hong Kong

A fabulous opportunity to grow and think differently.

Female, Age 35 to 54, Living in Turkey

A one-of-a-kind experience to get to know yourself better, get a global perspective and to grow yourself and your business.

Male, Age 35 to 54, Living in Brazil

A great experience and helps significantly with career growth and family bonding.

Male, Age 35 to 54, Living in Malaysia

Endlessly challenging, endlessly stimulating, and wholly worth it.

Male, Age 35 to 54, Living in Singapore

An interesting and enriching experience.

Male, Age 35 to 54, Living in Japan

Challenging as you must always be learning something new but that is also what is exciting about it.

Female, Age 55+, Living in Spain

Exciting, challenging, rewarding and a completely worthwhile experience.

Female, Age 18 to 34, Living in Argentina

Difficult but also incredibly enlightening.

Female, Age 18 to 34, Living in Ireland

More challenges at new environment, better life style.

Male, Age 55+, Living in South Africa

A chance to broaden your mind and experience life from a different point of view.

Female, Age 35 to 54, Living in Spain

Unsettling at times, being away from family and friends can be tough, but the experience is rewarding and has benefitted my CV and perspective on life greatly.

Male, Age 35 to 54, Living in United States

Challenging and empowering at the same time.

Male, Age 55+, Living in Colombia

Extremely interesting and changes your perspective on the world.

Male, Age 55+, Living in Cayman Islands

A new, exciting experience, a call that keeps you alive, moving and with plenty of energy to discover new things, lives, people, society, landscapes.

Female, Age 35 to 54, Living in Denmark

The adjustment is difficult and emotional initially, but the experience for our family has been very rewarding.

Female, Age 35 to 54, Living in Indonesia

Difficult but necessary to make a better life for my child.

Female, Age 35 to 54, Living in Canada

Much, much better than I had anticipated.

Male, Age 55+, Living in France

Like Narnia! A strange, adventurous, exciting and sometimes daunting, different world.

Female, Age 18 to 34, Living in Bosnia and Herzegovina

Great but can be challenging and a decision to become an expat should not be taken lightly.

Female, Age 35 to 54, Living in Mauritius

A great opportunity to be grasped with both hands.

Male, Age 55+, Living in New Zealand

Fun and exciting and opens the doors to so many opportunities.

Male, Age 55+, Living in Philippines

Exciting and interesting, opening up new possibilities and opportunities.

Female, Age 18 to 34, Living in Germany

Difficult at first you have to stick at it and take the knock backs.

Female, Age 55+, Living in United Kingdom

Extremely challenging and rewarding, the best way to find yourself.

Female, Age 18 to 34, Living in Ireland

A unique and different life.

Female, Age 35 to 54, Living in Mexico

Difficult, but extremely rewarding. It makes you a better person overall.

Female, Age 35 to 54, Living in Ireland

Is challenging but provides opportunities to work with a truly international group of people in countries and in environments that are simply not available to those who remain in their home country.

Male, Age 55+, Living in Gabon

A great challenge with many rewards.

Male, Age 35 to 54, Living in Brazil

Exciting and eye opening.

Female, Age 35 to 54, Living in Hong Kong

Interesting and humbling since it opens up the world and allows your to experience different cultures and to realise that there is so much to learn.

Male, Age 35 to 54, Living in United Arab Emirates

Difficult if you are not someone who is willing to put yourself out there to meet new people and try new things - be adventurous and expat life is fun.

Female, Age 18 to 34, Living in Belgium

Exciting, rewarding and the basis for ongoing personal development.

Male, Age 35 to 54, Living in Mexico

Opens your mind to many different perspectives.

Male, Age 35 to 54, Living in Thailand

About immersing yourself in the local culture and enjoying the better quality of life the country offers.

Male, Age 35 to 54, Living in Malta

A great experience to teach you to think out of the box. You learn to think globally.

Male, Age 55+, Living in Mexico

Challenging but widens your world view, which is important.

Male, Age 18 to 34, Living in Japan

Interesting and challenging, it opens the mind to new experiences.

Male, Age 35 to 54, Living in Portugal

Exciting and rewarding but you have to work at it - it won't come to you.

Male, Age 55+, Living in Qatar

A challenge, but once you have understood the differences and accepted them, it's a very rewarding experience.

Male, Age 55+, Living in France

The most difficult challenge you can take in your work life.

Male, Age 35 to 54, Living in Canada

To explore more opportunities and a better life.

Male, Age 18 to 34, Living in China

What you make it. Being an expat is very different to being a tourist. There are challenges, but the slower pace and quality life is worth it.

Female, Age 35 to 54, Living in Mexico

A great experience for the entire family, one must try it at least once.

Male, Age 35 to 54, Living in Malaysia

Challenging and heart-warming.

Male, Age 55+, Living in India

Interesting and fulfilling, but you only get out what you put in.

Male, Age 35 to 54, Living in Australia

Exciting, unpredictable; it is a learning process and a way to develop in all areas.

Female, Age 55+, Living in Egypt

A rewarding experience if you open your mind to the cultural differences and enjoy them.

Female, Age 55+, Living in Turkey

Difficult at first but gets better, much better.

Male, Age 55+, Living in United States

Healthier, more relaxed, better paid, warmer and full of choices.

Male, Age 35 to 54, Living in New Zealand

Different but the challenge or learning is rewarding and leads to growth within and without.

Male, Age 35 to 54, Living in United Kingdom

Positively challenging. It demands various innate and learned personal traits that you develop over time and grow as a person.

Female, Age 35 to 54, Living in Czech Republic

A great adventure.

Male, Age 18 to 34, Living in Jersey

A way of starting a new and exciting second life.

Male, Age 55+, Living in Turkey

Interesting and wonderful provided you are prepared to jump in with both feet and make adjustments.

Female, Age 35 to 54, Living in France

Sometimes great and sometimes difficult. Takes a certain person to do it successfully.

Female, Age 18 to 34, Living in Japan

Sometimes challenging, sometimes rewarding, often fulfilling.

Male, Age 55+, Living in Poland

A different kind of cultural experience.

Female, Age 18 to 34, Living in China

Difficult at the beginning, but gets better when you feel the new country is your home country.

Female, Age 55+, Living in Spain

Both rewarding and challenging. It requires resilience and an open mind.

Male, Age 35 to 54, Living in Canada

A challenge, but a great experience.

Male, Age 55+, Living in Indonesia

Exciting and provides fantastic experiences and opportunities.

Male, Age 35 to 54, Living in Hong Kong

Interesting, full of surprises at the start and also peppered with challenges that make for an even more exciting life experience.

Female, Age 35 to 54, Living in Australia

Very difficult at first but quickly becomes the most wonderful experience you never thought you could have.

Female, Age 35 to 54, Living in Luxembourg

Challenging but rewarding and exciting when you try to integrate.

Male, Age 55+, Living in France

Different every day.

Male, Age 55+, Living in Vietnam

More diverse - makes you more open-minded, and a better human being.

Male, Age 35 to 54, Living in United Kingdom

A great opportunity for my family to see other parts of the world and be more open minded.

Female, Age 35 to 54, Living in Hong Kong

Exciting, challenging, frustrating, rewarding.

Male, Age 35 to 54, Living in Saudi Arabia

Interesting and vibrant - you never feel 'ordinary'!

Female, Age 55+, Living in Hong Kong

A difficult but exciting thing to do, and everyone should do it at least once in a lifetime.

Male, Age 18 to 34, Living in Philippines

By turns rewarding and frustrating, mind-opening and much like life anywhere else. An adventure. What you make of it.

Female, Age 35 to 54, Living in Switzerland

Beautiful and full of difficulties.

Female, Age 35 to 54, Living in China

More relaxing, better quality and a large circle of friends.

Female, Age 55+, Living in Spain

Is a wonderful life experiencing different cultures, customs, languages and point of views of life.

Male, Age 55+, Living in Mexico