Undoubtedly, expat life can be very exciting. The experiences and challenges of life abroad teach new skills and enhance capabilities, create new meanings in life, and generally translate into valuable memories, which are worth remembering for many years ahead.
If you are an expat yourself, you know the feel of being ‘stuck in limbo, neither here nor there’. This feeling is quite understandable given that for many, life in the host country is perceived as temporary, however as time passes, ‘home’ in the native country becomes more distant.
The main concern is that while being temporarily abroad, the lives of one’s peers, relatives and friends back home move on too: Families grow bigger, careers progress and friends move to new homes. And even though equipped with new skills, experiences and prospects, you still need to find a job and renew your social ties.
So how can you make your move back home easier for you and your family?
- Expect change
Be ready to face changes in yourself, your attitude towards life and your opinions. Other people around you may be different due to changes in their own life which happened while you were away: a friend becoming a mother or a work colleague experiencing a new leading position can all be a pivoting experience for them too.
Experiencing environmental changes in your area such as shops closing, other ones opening or simply a one-way sign where there wasn’t any before can be discomforting but also very exciting.
- Identify the unchanged
Regardless of the time spent abroad and the country you have lived in, there are certain things that have remained the same at home. This can apply to people, places and activities. Identifying such unchanged things and focusing on them can help you in managing the transition.
- Find similar people
Family and friends back home who haven’t experienced life abroad, will find it difficult to grasp what your experience is about. Finding a group of people with similar international experiences can be a good way not only to share experiences and enthusiasm but also to establish a new social circle.
- Give yourself time to settle
Once you move back home, it can be tempting to start a redecoration project or reinventing your business. However, giving yourself time to ease into the life you have had before you left will enable you to identify the changes that have taken place inside of you and thus make a plan of what needs changing on the outside. Taking this process step by step is crucial for the success of it.