Moving to another country can be incredibly exciting…it can also challenge your feeling of belonging, especially if you don’t have familiar faces, places, and activities that help you adjust to a new life. When the boxes are unpacked, the pictures are hung, and the dust settles, there may be moments when you question your new life and your choice.
Managing the change of environment and successfully dealing with how those changes impact your psyche, emotions, and overall well-being is the focus of Expat coaching. When a person is transplanted to a new and different country, “culture shock” emanates from a lack of familiarity with the new area, new language, new tastes, new customs, different values, different behaviors, and changing traffic patterns to name a few. There is a loss of control over your environment that may make you feel like an outsider… one who doesn’t belong. Those feelings may result in: irritation, frustration, feeling overwhelmed, and disconnection.
Dr. Chérie has extensive experience living abroad, and can relate and understand. Rather than having these undesirable feelings dictate your reality, clinging to what you left behind, she can ease your transition, and help you successfully adjust to your new environment… and your new life. Dr. Chérie can help you embrace your new life and enjoy the experience!
Read About An Expat’s Experience: The Five Stages of the Expat Experience.
Frazzled and frustrated? Been there, done that. There’s something about being a newcomer to Paris (or perhaps any new place) that turns the most competent of us upside down. One day, you’re working at a high-powered job, juggling career and family responsibilities, doing the volunteer thing and even whipping up cupcakes for your kid’s birthday party at school. Then you find yourself in Paris and it seems like it all goes to hell. The end of the day arrives and your list of things to get done is longer than when it was when you got up.
You have heard of the stages of grief, right? Dr. Elizabeth Kubler Ross, world renowned expert on death and dying, neatly defined the emotional stages that everyone goes through when confronted with the worst news possible: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and then finally acceptance. It occurs to me that there is a similar progression for expats and it goes something like this:
Elation: After months of waiting and wishing, you’ve finally gotten the confirmation. You are moving to Paris! How exciting. What a great adventure. Your friends are jealous and you can’t stop dreaming about what life will be like in the City of Light: the sunsets, the bridges, the champagne, the pastries, the art, the style. The city is beautiful, charming, and elegant. The food is divine.
Panic: You can’t find an apartment or your kids haven’t been accepted into school. Your household goods are sitting on the dock somewhere waiting to clear customs despite the fact that they were supposed to have arrived two weeks ago. You desperately need those items and don’t want to go shopping for replacements while you wait. Your French, which you thought was pretty good, turns out to be inadequate. Or you don’t speak any French and you feel like an idiot trying to accomplish the most basic tasks. Routines at work make no sense. You can’t figure out what to cook for dinner and the checker in the market is making faces at you as you struggle to differentiate among the coins in your wallet. You need curtains, light fixtures, school supplies, a dentist, a vet, a haircut, and a stiff drink.
Frustration: You’ve been waiting four weeks and you still don’t have phone service. You’ve gone to the prefecture with all the forms for your carte de sejour and you were missing two critical documents; only no one told you that you would need them. The relocation company your firm hired to help your family adjust is worthless. The clerk in the supermarket is still making faces at you because you can’t always figure out which coin is 10 centimes, which is 20, and which is 50. Your boss is breathing down your neck but no one is responding to your e-mails. Everything, even the smallest task, takes forever to get done. It’s raining (again) and you just stepped in a pile of dog poop.
Realignment: Every day still has its struggles but things are starting to fall into place. You have successful interactions with shopkeepers, neighbors, and professional colleagues. Your apartment, while maybe not a showpiece, is becoming a home. Your kids start making friends and they’re no longer constantly whining about missing home. You discover neighborhood gems: parks, restaurants, shops. You know how to get from point A to point B by metro, bus, or car. You act like you’ve got it down but there’s still a long list of tasks you’re too chicken to take on. You’ve managed to get a haircut but the results weren’t pretty.
Adjustment: It has taken a long time to get to here, probably a lot longer than you would have expected. For some it’s three months, for others, it takes a full year. You may not feel integrated into French society but you better understand how things work. Your level of French has improved. You have created a network of relationships with locals and other expats. Your kids never want to leave. You have gained 10 pounds. And you have to start the process of renewing your carte de sejour.
Are you Expatriating to Thailand?
First and foremost, Welcome to Thailand!
Upon arrival you will be joining a new country, culture, and community. Your relocation company will take care of all the physical and logistic aspects to your move. This process will be exciting, filled with new opportunities, and experiences.
There are aspects related to relocating, however, that go beyond the physical movement of things. These aspects relate to managing change and how those changes impact your psyche, emotions, and overall well-being. Our work starts when your relocation companies job is complete!
After the initial 90-day settling in period, your spouse, your children, and even you may begin to feel homesick, disoriented, and unexpectedly miss friends and family. This is all normal! Let Dr. Chérie and her husband Michael help you embrace your new life and enjoy the experience.
Dr. Chérie and Michael do this through a series of Coaching Sessions that focus on your ability to manage change on seven levels: intellectually, psychologically, emotionally, behaviorally, interpersonally, financially, and spiritually. They have the resources to become rooted and happy in your new life.
Dr. Chérie and Michael look forward to assisting you in acclimating to your new home in Thailand. Feel free to contact them: Chérie Carter-Scott, Ph.D. & Michael Pomije, Phone: 081.252.5905 or 087.990.5770 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Michaelpomije@gmail.com.
BOOK A COACHING SESSION WITH DR. CHERIE
Here are some enlightening comments from expats in Thailand. Culture Shock in Thailand *.pdf Contributed by paulgarrigan.com
Are you an Expat Spouse? Some helpful insight into moving abroad with your significant other.
Contributed by Mary Tod.
Thriving as an expat spouse—Six steps to success as an expat spouse.
“How will I cope once the going gets tough?”
Personal experience, conversations with other expat spouses, and research have identified six steps to transition through the expat cycle and thrive in an expat assignment.
Step 1: Build Awareness
The first step is to understand how moving to a foreign country has affected you by considering all dimensions of your situation as dispassionately as possible. Use this example to prompt your own thinking.
Step 2: Accept Need to Change
Because so much has changed, an expat spouse needs to face the reality of reinventing herself. She does this by acknowledging that she is the one who has to adapt. Spend time looking through your personalized version of the example in Step 1 as you consider where and how you will change.
Step 3: Discover Possibilities
With awareness and acceptance it is now time to take charge of your life again. Each individual has a blend of roles that forms part of her identity (e.g. mother, professional, mentor, wife, friend, care giver, and so on), a personal set of interests, strengths and skills, and a range of motivating activities.
During Step 3, an expat spouse brainstorms possibilities for using or exploring her interests, strengths, and skills in light of each role, in light of changed circumstances and personal motivators. Listing possibilities opens the way to new beginnings.
Step 4: Establish Your Focus
After working through Step 3, the challenge is not whether there are possibilities, the challenge is where to focus. During Step 4 an expat spouse sets priorities and makes choices based on her personal goals, motivators, and constraints.
Step 5: Plan Your Steps
Dreams are seldom fulfilled without a plan. In Step 5 an expat spouse creates a structured, realistic plan to move ahead. Such a plan enables real change and a feeling of accomplishment.
Step 6: Work Your Plan
The final step is to work the plan. It is exhilarating and energizing to have a realistic plan and to commit to actions, one step at a time, against the plan. With imagination, commitment, and a sound plan almost anything is possible.
With an open mind and deliberate effort, opportunities abound for an expat spouse: to develop latent talents, to do something you have never had time for, to take a different career direction, to build new skills, to return to school, to travel, to learn a new language or refresh one that is rusty, to get involved in community work, to learn about a new culture and traditions.
Working through each step, an expat spouse/partner will gain personal insights, develop a clear understanding of the challenges and opportunities of an expat assignment and use techniques that will help at other times of change. She will learn that by developing a personal plan with a long term perspective, she just might open herself to a whole new approach to life.
A Final Note
If you are relocating to any locale, from Algeria to Zimbabwe, you will need to keep in mind that an adjustment needs to begin within you. Expats must realize adjustment is required to take advantage of the new opportunities that await. You may find it difficult, but do not become discouraged. Dr. Chérie and Michael have helped many before you, and they can help you. They will help you make your new surroundings, no matter how unfamiliar they are, a home. It is natural to feel as if you may have lost something, however, this will change as you realize all that is to be gained by this new life experience. If you find your adjustments difficult, want to build a plan to help you really feel like a true member of your new community, or simply need to talk to someone who has walked a similar path before you, please do not hesitate to book a coaching session or e-mail them.