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How to: Survive and Thrive as an Expat in Cayman!

Welcome to Cayman… You’re going to be just fine!

Surviving and Thriving in Cayman – Lessons for the Discerning Expat:

Say yes to every invitation within the first 6 months. Basically, it’s 1989, you’re as vulnerable as that 3 year old you were on the first day of pre-school and you need to make mates! To the girly-girls, be prepared to take up sports. It’s basically embedded in expat life here. Buy some cute attire and make your peace with it!

You should also be aware, if you move(d) with a significant other, that people can sometimes assume it’s easier for couples in a new place – since you have each other. So, be prepared to work that little bit harder, but not much! GC isn’t consistently ranked one of the easiest places to settle in for nothing!

And, a cautionary note – for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction; don’t be surprised if you spend the rest of your tenure on island avoiding everyone you met in the first two weeks – but hopefully they might have linked you up with some nice little pals along the way.

Adapt. Explore. Embrace. – You’re in a new country and a very beautiful new country at that. You cannot expect life to remain as it was – You’re not in London, New York or Toronto now, Toto! Soon come. Embrace the pace. Caribbean life has much to offer; taste the local cuisine, snorkel at Spott’s beach and never become complacent about the beauty of a sunset stroll along Seven Mile Beach! While you’re at it, make sure and take advantage of the proximity of neighboring islands and countries like Jamaica, Cuba and Honduras.

It is your responsibility to keep in touch with friends at home. You left them, which means you carry the burden of responsibility to keep up the contact, and this is the tacitly accepted code of conduct. You’ll also need to be prepared to lose touch with a lot of your friends. With some, you’ll expect it. With others, if will be like a kick in the gut. Know that the strong will survive and you’ll never lose the friendships that are meant to stick – take comfort in this.

Make time to call your parents as often as you can. Choosing to live your life so far away from you closest family members can bring with it heavy feelings of guilt. Know that this is normal, but that it is important to live your own life too. Chances are, the opportunity that brought you to Cayman is likely a direct result of the opportunities afforded to you and values instilled in you by your parents; your education, your sense of independence and adventure, the maturity to start a life of your own so far away and thrive in your new environment. You are in this privileged place as direct consequences of the sacrifices made by your parents for you to succeed and excel. Just don’t forget them along the way – they feel the time passing between calls much more than you do.

Be kind, always. People are far away from their families, apart from a very lucky few with siblings or relations on the island. The very nature of Cayman, with so many people relocating on their own, can equally mean that it gets very easy to become wrapped up in yourself and your own well being. Everyone will go through some hard times at some point. And, even in paradise, life isn’t always easy. Your Cayman-friends are your Cayman-family. Protect them.

There’s no non-boring way to put this one; SAVE, SAVE SAVE! If you’re like the majority of people getting off that plane to start your Cayman life – You’re young, free, childless and mortgage-less! You’ll probably never have this much disposable income again! Unless you invent something – those people are minted! So, without being painfully dull here – be smart – and start a savings plan from day one. Then, you can retire to somewhere just as beautiful as the gorgeous CIs!

While I’m at it; find out exactly what you will need to bring in order to set up a bank account before you move! And, bring it…Trust me on this.