Why setting expectations matters

After relocating to a new country, an expat partner – even when they have a clear idea about what they will do – can’t ever be sure what happens next. But they can still avoid ‘nasty surprises’.

Ready-made schedule

More and more of today’s expats see their choice to live in another country as a shared journey. No one is following or trailing. Both parties have signed up for this exciting adventure in a new land and anticipate there will be benefits for each of them. But the immediate outcome from this joint decision is never aligned. The partner / spouse with a job has a clearly defined purpose and a ready-made work schedule. They know exactly where they are going on Monday morning. By contrast, their other half has yet to determine a role. They have stepped into the unknown and may feel a sense of uncertainty about their short term future.

Disconcerting experience

In our home country, opportunities often come to us. At the very least, we know how to navigate the culture. We also have a support network of family and close friends to fall back on in tough times. But when entering another country, where no one is expecting you, and where you have no support network, you can easily feel isolated and unsure of yourself. This can be a disconcerting experience. Even if you are a self-confident person with a strong idea about what you wish to do as an expat, you might discover carrying out your plans isn’t straightforward. Patience and perseverance are usually required, no matter what you wish to do.

Clarify your goals

Over the years, many members of our community have explained why they decided to relocate with their spouse / partner, using the words: “We wanted an adventure.”  And the expat life is an adventure. But let’s be honest, everyone signs up for the highs, not the lows! That’s why discussing your plans with a Global Connection consultant (or, if required, a coach) can have a positive impact on your adjustment. It can not only help you to clarify your goals but also manage your expectations. What’s possible in your host country and, just as importantly, what’s not possible? What challenges will you face when pursuing your plans?  By identifying, and acknowledging, potential hurdles and obstacles, you will be much more likely to avoid having ‘nasty surprises’ down the road.

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