Re-labelling YOU. An interesting upside to expat life

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When packing your boxes to relocate to another country you have to opportunity to also pack away the normal conversation starters about you.

You can leave your past behind, so to speak.

It is not about running away from who you are, being ashamed of yourself or forgetting where you came from. It is about an opportunity to highlight other features about yourself than the once you are currently labelled with.


There is a high school reunion at your old school.

You go.

The minute you step into the room and stare at your old classmate you instantly remember who and how they are. The clumsy one, the first mover, the popular one, the quiet one and so forth.  

I do it. You do it. We all do it.

Remember people from where we left off. 

Unless, they have become or done something special or unique that you have heard about. In that case the labelling may have been updated.

It can be really hard to escape your “role”, in any relation really, and even harder for people to integrate “a new you” in their perception of who you are. 

This is where relocating and expat life  offers and add on to you.

When expatriating you meet people with no preconceived opinion about you. This allows you to present yourself, stripped of any past perceptions.

You do not need to have an issue with who you are, or was, to benefit from this. Meeting a new friend, right where you are in life, that has no cultural, habitual or previous knowledge about you can be very liberating and open up new ways of seeing yourself and talking about yourself. 


I know a girl from my childhood in Denmark. Thinking of this blogpost I called her and talked to her.

Back then I saw her moving to the US and I also saw her changing. Changing in exactly the way that I want to bring forward in this blog post.

My friend is called Rebecca. Rebecca was always the fun and (considered) not serious type. A girl with “party” and “trouble” written on her forehead and very efficient in always finding her way out of homework. She was great fun and when caught hanging with the borderline criminal moped-gang she would always find a way out.

Rebecca was perceived, and talked about, as not serious and as someone who would go nowhere in her life. She was talked about as unambitious. But fun.

Today Rebecca is a doctor. 

How did that (also) happen? 

Acknowledging that changing your personal labelling can happen, even though you never move an inch out of your environment, I have no doubt that Rebecca´s move played a huge part in her re-labelling.

Here is what Rebecca told me: 

“I moved to the US and meet people away from my normal environment. When I meet these people, I had finished partying, and all of the sudden I found myself hearing people refer to me as efficient, passionate about my studies, a go to person and also as a strong person. This then became me. Also.


I knew that it was always there inside of me, but being in a place with no one to highlight all the “interesting” things I used to do, sure was a gamechanger in conversation starters. I felt like I could finally rid the old cape. I do not, not talk about my past. I am not embarrassed about it.

However, the move away from any and all allowed undisturbed room for my other values to shine through”.

Quote: Rebecca.  

I will leave you trusting that the words above demonstrates my point.

What is your label and would you pack away anything in your moving box?

Thank you for reading along.

Kia – Expat Advisor

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