This is another infographic about expats (see the sources at the end of the infographic). I chose to post it here on my blog, right after the post about the Sea Change Mentoring symposium I attended last Saturday, because many issues listed in this infographic have a major impact on expact children, and Sea Change Mentoring is one place to contact when facing issues like these.
Expat life is not as easy and smooth as many people think. Especially the different stages of expatriate adjustment should be taken seriously. These stages affect parents and children, and often not simultaneously. This is exactly why parents and children should reach out for help.
Another point seems very important to me: that expats or people who envisage this kind of life, should consider longer stays in a new location in order to give their children the opportunity to pass from a “gradual adjustment” to the “competence stage” and, in the best case, to the “mastery” (after 5-7 years). – In the expatriate adjustment lifecycle on this infographic I miss the stage of repatriation. Repatriation is an “important yet often overlooked component of a successful assignment experience“. During repatriation, expats face exactly the same stages as those listed in this infographic and the repatriation can be as challenging and traumatic as the first relocation. Especially for children who have spent a significant amount of their lives overseas (and many have probably never lived in their passport country!), repatriation is very difficult. Many repatriating families feel “culturally, socially and professionally out of sync with their new environment”.
This is why re-establishing a social life as soon as possible is very important in the first period of a relocation. It also helps against homesickness. – Everyone goes through the phase where the life before seems much better than the one in the new location (or “back home”). Therefore it is really important that, before entering this phase, i.e. while still in the “honeymoon phase”, expats should try to find like-minded people who can help them cope with the culture shock phase – or the reverse culture shock phase for those who repatriate.
The fact that “many brits abroad” seem to miss the sense of humour, really applies to everyone, Brit or not. Finding someone who laughs at the same jokes or at the same scenes in a movie gives us all a sense of belonging.
In this infographic, 70% “of expats say that social media contacts with friends and family helps to relieve homesickness”. I think social media are a great help nowadays. But it can also deter people from getting in touch with people in their real lives. Expats need even more to get in touch with people, with locals and like-minded people in their new location, to re-establish a new social life and create a safe haven where they can find help if needed.
If you’re facing issues like those mentioned in the infographic or know someone who might need some help, here are some sites to visit and contact (in alphabetical order):
This is NOT a sponsored post and I have NOT been asked to write it.
- Expats infographic (expatsincebirth.com)
- Moving Abroad? How to Find Other Expats To Make Your Transition Smoother (epicatravel.com)
- Networking abroad (marianvanbakel.wordpress.com)
- How to cope with repatriation (expatsincebirth.com)
- Expatriates Challenges Are Solved with Measurable Results (relonavigator.wordpress.com)
- The emotionally resilient expat [by Linda Janssen]. (3rdculturechildren.com)
- The Expatriate Adjustment Lifecycle: What you should know (rw-3.com)
- Sea Change Mentoring: Symposium on Supporting Global Youth (expatsincebirth.com)