Homesick British expats are coming home in droves – but face major culture shock

Boris Johnson 'needs to step up for British expats' says expert

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Two thirds of expats, pushed by the pandemic and lockdowns, bought properties in their home countries, according to property firm Knight Frank. And 29 percent said they were moving back home full time.

But what is making expats come home?

Many expats had to reassess during the pandemic.

Far from friends and families, they had plenty of time to figure out whether their lives overseas was really worth it.

Not being able to fly home when they could always get a quick flight back before, expats all over the world have taken Covid as a sign they needed to move back to be closer to their loved ones.

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“The world is a fantastic place – and actually a very small place, relatively speaking, when you can travel freely,” said Emma Linnitt.

“But when you can’t travel freely, then the world is that big place again and it’s all just too difficult.”

Emma and her husband moved back to the UK after 19 years in Hong Kong.

She said: “England was always home; I really struggled with the idea of Hong Kong as home.

“And it got harder and harder to say goodbye to people. Getting on the plane felt like my heart was being wrenched out.”

Moving back was not as easy as they may have thought, with “cultural gaps” to be filled in.

One example given was Strictly, “what the hell is that, and why is it on TV”, asked Emma’s husband.

British expats live all over the world and the move back isn’t necessarily easy.

But some “repats”, as the expats coming home are being called, are “in a honeymoon period” and extremely “excited to be home”.

It all depends on where they are coming back from and what their lives had been like overseas.

While there are often talks of cultural shocks when moving away from home to another country, repats are prove moving back also comes with its own problems.

When the excitement of being overseas has ended and opportunities to do anything are cut short by a pandemic, home beckons.

Moving overseas, whether for a job or the allure of something new, took a hit with the pandemic.

Being away from friends and family stuck in a country where they couldn’t do anything was not an ideal situation for many expats.

And uncertainty also weighed in, with many wondering when they would ever be able to come home.

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