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Expat Articles » Top 10 ways to cope with the transition to a new life abroad

Top 10 Ways to Cope with the Transition to a New Life Abroad

By Louise Wiles, Expatriate Coach and Founder of Success Abroad Coaching

There is no doubt that moving to live and work abroad can be challenging and stressful - learning to live in a different culture and often a new language adds a whole new dimension to how you operate at home and at work. And then of course there is settling into your new home and surroundings not to mention helping your family to settle into their new schools, lives and routines.

How can you cope with the transition in the best way possible?

Here are ten suggestions:

  1. Take an honest look at yourself. What are your strengths, knowledge and skills? How can you utilize these positively in the transition to your new life abroad?
  2. Take time to look after yourself. Major changes such as a move abroad are physically and emotionally taxing. You need to ensure that you have time to relax, unwind and recharge your batteries.
  3. Be curious - what is going well, what is not going so well? Think about your work and your home life. Where and when do you feel comfortable, where and when do you not? Why do you think this is? What can you do to improve and change your areas of discomfort?
  4. Focus on what you want, and less on what you don't want. Remember why you moved abroad in the first place. What were your goals for your work and home life abroad? If the hectic relocation process has meant that you have lost sight of your goals then take some time out to think about what they may be.
  5. Find support. If you are working, is there anyone who could act as your mentor, guiding you in terms of office politics and how things work. They could also act as your cultural guide giving you advice into how you should and shouldn't behave and helping to explain the reason for any difficulties you may be having.
  6. Work on your thoughts. We don't have to be controlled by our thoughts, calm your fears and reinforce your sense of hope and happiness. It can feel scary to step outside of your comfort zone, but the upside is the learning that comes from the stretch involved.
  7. Reassure. There will be difficult times but hopefully you know the reasons for making the transition and that they were sound and rational ones. Focus on the positives and reassure yourself during the difficult times that you will win through and find success and happiness abroad.
  8. Celebrate your successes. When things go well, when you have a good day at work and start to feel that you are making progress take time out to celebrate, even the little things, this helps to build confidence and a positive state of mind.
  9. Let go of how things were ‘supposed to be' and accept ‘how things are'. Find appreciation for what is.
  10. Keep things in perspective. Or try a new perspective. Don't feel that there is only one way. Remember, the only constant is change.

About the Author

Louise Wiles is an expatriate coach and founder of Success Abroad Coaching. She works with potential expatriates as they work through their relocation decisions and then provides ongoing support as they relocate. Her business focuses on helping accompanying partners create fulfilled lives in their new locations.