The flip side of living abroad
When we think of living abroad, we think of
the positive end of the coin and overlook the other side of the coin. However, the flip side often catches many
professionals or students off guard, as they find themselves thrown into the
unknown without adequate preparation or an understanding of what lies ahead of
them. Encountering challenges while living abroad is an inherent aspect of relocation.
If not considered prior, once the initial thrill has passed, a sobering reality
sets in, and too often expats realise that they lack the necessary prior training
or awareness to navigate the following barriers:
Language: this can be a substantial obstacle, hindering effective
communication and integration into the local environment.
Limited personal or professional
network: absence of a support system or connections in the host country can contribute
to feelings of isolation and a sense of being apart.
Unfamiliarity with cultural
norms: Observing and understanding the cultural norms of the host country is essential
for successful integration.
Job Search challenges:
Navigating the job market in a new country has its own set of challenges, often
requiring adaptability and resilience.
collectively can give rise to a sense of isolation, lack of integration and
mounting frustration. However, the key to getting over this phase and moving
forward lies in acknowledging that everything is new and requires a growth mindset
and open approach to adaptation.
Learning the language.
Building a local network.
Cultural familiarisation: understanding what is visible above the water and what is hidden below the surface (Iceberg Model of Culture).
Persistence in Job Search: when facing challenges in the job market, maintaining tenacity and confidence in one's skills are paramount. Also, reach out to the local network for their help.
While the journey may
be demanding at times, transforming it into a fulfilling experience means embracing the
reality that some aspects will differ from what we are used to. Prior research and networking are essential.
adaptability, and a growth mindset are indispensable tools for turning the
difficulties of living abroad into a truly enriching adventure.