My Expat Story: Greg Dewald

My Expat Story: Greg Dewald

An American expat in Argentina

At Global Living Magazine we want to connect with our readers. We want to know what you’re all about, what you love, where you’ve been, and where you’re going. The best way to do this? Hear it straight from you!*

We received an email from American expat Greg Dewald, who lives in Argentina. Greg is the founder and CEO of Bright!Tax, an online accounting firm that exclusively serves the 7 million Americans who are living abroad. For years Greg has had the good fortune to travel abroad – mostly for business and sometimes for pleasure. He’s been able to see many countries and cultures and, for him, the common thread through every adventure is that he wanted to do more – to see more. Here is his Expat Story.

GregDewaldWhat’s your favorite part of expatriate life?

When I was at university I had the opportunity to spend a summer in the U.K. on a scholar exchange program. It was a significant turning point in my life and I knew immediately that I was experiencing something special.

Having grown up in the States, my world view had been pretty much relegated to all things American. The way we lived. The way we worked and played. The way we perceived (and even discussed) the world outside and America’s role in the global community. All of these things had been through the lens of a young person who had never had the opportunity to see the world from a new and different perspective.

Once I had completed my first adventure in the U.K, I was forever changed. I was able to see the world from a much broader perspective and while I love the States, I now realize that there is a much greater depth and reality that I wish everyone could have the opportunity to experience. There are nuances and intricacies of daily life abroad that one can simply not perceive until one actually sees them and feels them first hand.

What’s been the hardest part?

Presently I am living and loving having the opportunity to reside in Salta, Argentina. I have been here now, off and on, for around 5 years and when one spends a greater length of time in a different country, I have learned that there is a necessary and personal “re-balancing” that needs to occur.

While settling in my new home in Argentina I now see that I had arrived with certain expectations about what I was bringing to my new adventure and my own certain ways of doing things. I am smiling as I write this now, because I remember upon arriving that I felt a certainty that within short order I surely would be able to adjust my new environment to my needs in order to be able to navigate my new environment in my way. I actually felt this as a sense of mission and that was my original state of mind.

I soon realized though through countless and what are now laughable episodes that I was not going to change Argentina. If I was to live and thrive here I discovered that I had to accept that I was not going to change or fix anything, rather, I found that I needed to open myself and realize that Argentina was going to change me! I also embraced the idea that either one is up for it – unexpected and at times tumultuous change (sometimes very disconcerting), or one is not (and you tuck-tail and go back home.) This was a crucial turning point for me and, I think upon reflection, it is the real reason I am here.

Now I have arrived at a different place within myself with regard to my interaction with my new home-country. I have become more malleable. I have adapted. And I have changed. And I now realize that by giving myself to that. That concept of change, I have broadened my perspective and appreciation for things and ways of life and ways of doing things that had once been foreign.

What is the greatest lesson you have learned while living abroad?

Actually, now I no longer think of myself as American. Rather, I now think of myself as an American who is living globally. A global citizen. A citizen of the world. It makes me feel as if my perspective has broadened. It is much more expansive and inclusive.

The greatest gift I have received and my greatest pleasure while living here in Argentina is that, although there are cultural differences in the ways we live and do things, I have learned that all people, the world-over are all remarkably the same. We all want to feel connected with others. We all laugh and we all cry (and so often about the same things.) We all wish to succeed and to find a security in our own part of the world. And if one is giving of oneself (putting yourself out there) then others tend to be so gracious and very giving of themselves as well.

I consider my life here in Argentina to be a wonderful opportunity and a beautiful mystery and that, if one is willing to open oneself, then the rewards one may receive are countless and beyond measure.

Find out more about Greg and Bright!Tax by visiting www.brighttax.com, and connect with him on Twitter @BrightTax.

*If you’d like to be featured on our My Expat Story section, send an email to Alison at info@globallivingmagazine.com and tell us about your experience as an expatriate by answering the questions listed here. Please include: a picture of yourself, your website/blog information, and/or Twitter handle so we can help you connect with other expats from around the world!

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