When you choose to follow a partner on an international assignment, you are also choosing to tear up a script you know by heart and rewrite a new one from scratch.
Wind of change
It was the Austrian-born economist Joseph Schumpeter who coined the phrase ‘creative destruction’ when describing a theory of economic innovation he’d derived from the work of Karl Marx. According to Schumpeter, the “gale of creative destruction” would be a way for an economic structure to revolutionise from within, incessantly destroying the old one, incessantly creating a new one…
Out with the old…
To many members of our community this theory might chime with personal experience. Doesn’t the act of moving to a new country, as an expat partner, mean choosing to end one way of life and begin another? Many of you have had to give up your jobs. That means restarting (if not reimagining) your career or establishing an alternative path as a fulfilling occupation, for example, volunteering, setting up a business, or studying. Doing so in a new culture is always a step into the unknown, one that results in reinvention.
In with the new
When you relocate, you must also bid farewell to your families and friends and start to build up a new social network from scratch. There’s often a new language to be learned. But even if you don’t have to speak the local lingo fluently, you must still figure out how to adapt to the culture. Literally everything will be new to you – the local cuisine, the traffic, the way people interact. It is in this unfamiliar place you will reconstruct a whole new existence. That means plenty of thrills but… a few spills, too.
Help is at hand
But fear not. Many of the stories on our website reveal how getting out of your comfort zone and reinventing yourself in a new culture can be a uniquely enriching experience. Yet every expat partner faces challenges. Many of you will have doubts. Some might even question the decision to have left your home country in the first place. So no one would ever suggest it’s easy. What we can say is that expat partners aren’t doing this alone. When our consultants identify the needs of each individual, they’re helping the expat partner figure out how to take those first positive steps toward establishing a new fulfilling way of life.
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.