What is success for an expat partner? For newcomers to a destination, it’s about finding your feet, adjusting to a new culture and starting to view your new life positively.
Change is inevitable
When an expat partner moves to a new country they will start to experience what we call ‘the Cycle of Change’. After the honeymoon high, everyone must undergo an adjustment period. It can be a challenging time of life. Expat partners can end up experiencing depression, loss of identity, homesickness.
Enjoy your first success
Remember that undergoing any of the above emotions does not equate with failure. In fact, if the definition of success is ‘the accomplishment of an aim or purpose’, don’t forget to pat yourself on the back. You have accomplished your first goal: moving to another country. From there, there are other goals to set and successes to enjoy.
The big picture
Where’s the nearest supermarket? How will the kids get to school? How do I pay our electricity bills? These are not inconsequential matters. Take a step back and remind yourself of the big picture. You have moved to another culture. Finding your feet is absolutely a goal worth prioritising. Each of these small steps builds familiarity and that’s definitely the direction you want to be travelling. So create a list of to-dos and when you strike one off consider that moment a success.
Over time you can set new goals as your journey of adjustment continues. For example, connecting with the community, perhaps through learning the language, and building up your social network through expat groups or sports clubs. In the mid- to long-term, finding a rhythm to your days and a range of fulfilling activities will help you move forward on positive terms.
You’re not on your own
Always remember that feelings of disorientation and insecurity are quite normal for expat partners. You might think you’re the only one who is struggling but that’s never the case. That’s why finding a social club or joining a language class so often comes with a huge additional bonus, namely, camaraderie. You’ll meet other newcomers who are feeling just as unsure and after you grab a coffee and laugh away some of your anxiety, you’ll feel your mood lift. You might even find yourself walking home with a smile on your face – and why wouldn’t you? After all, you have just had a successful day.
This article was originally published for the thousands of expat partners that Global Connection supports around the globe. It is reproduced here in its original form.