As I mentioned in an article a few days ago, a large number of people who move here from Western Countries end up leaving within the first year. I would say it is more than half of the people return home, although I have not seen any real official figures on that. Some friends and I always joke with each other when we meet new foreigners here. After we have talked with them for a while or whatever, when they leave, we look at each other and one of us says “how long do you think he will last?” Ha ha…. Not trying to be mean, but the people leaving happens so much that we almost wager on it!
So, when I have mentioned this before, comments started coming up asking why they leave. Well, I can’t say for certain, because I am not one of them. But, I do have some ideas, based on my observation. Let’s look at what I see.
Firstly, the number one reason why people leave here is that making the adjustment to living here is very difficult. At first glance, it seems like the culture here is very similar to our culture in the States and in other first world countries. But, that is only on the surface. In actuality, people here are very different than we are, and their actions are sometimes 180 degrees out of phase with us. Things are done slowly here. If you go somewhere and order your dinner it might take an hour or more for the food to come. Adjusting to things like this is not easy. It seems small, but when all of these things are piled up on top of each other, it makes for a difficult adjustment. It took me several years to adjust. A lot of people give up before they complete the adjustment. And, honestly, there are a lot of things that I have just resigned myself to accept that I will never adjust to them, I can only decide to accept them and not worry.
For other people, maybe they have a falling out with the wife’s family, and rather than moving to another part of the Philippines, they just return home. One thing for sure, if you are living around the wife’s family, they will be asking for money. For a lot of foreigners and their spouses having constant requests (even demands) for money is uncomfortable, and they quickly tire of it.
Another common reason why people return home is because they simply run out of money! This is probably either the number one or number two reason for returning home. They come with a wad of money, expecting to use that in order to set up a business which will sustain them, but they are never able to make a go of it, and as their cash reserve dwindles down to nearly zero, they decide that they have no choice but to go back home where they know how to earn more money. I personally almost fell into this problem myself. After only two years here, I got to the point where I had virtually zero left, after coming here with a nice nest egg. I had to make a choice – go home, or figure out how to make money so that I could survive! Luckily, being in such a tough spot, I was able to hunker down and figure out how to earn a living. Now, I know how to make money here, and I don’t believe that I will ever be in that position again. It’s not a comfortable place to be. However, as uncomfortable as it is, it is a place where many ex-pats find themselves!
Other people decide that they don’t like the hot weather here, and want to get back to a cooler climate. Some don’t care for the food here after a while. There are a multitude of reasons why foreigners go back home, probably thousands of reasons. About the only way to really discover if this is the place for you is to come here and try it for a while. Since you are reading this, you have an advantage. Being the kind of person who researches sites like this and other such sites, you are doing your homework before moving, and being armed with information is the best way to keep from being another foreigner who moves back home!