Expatriate Life and Trailing Partners
The experience abroad can be significantly different for the expatriate worker and the trailing partner. Not being able to find a job for the accompanying partner, difficulty with a foreign language, and not being able to establish a local group of friends are just a few of the causes of stress which can eventually lead to a premature repatriation. You can take a number of actions before you leave home to prevent that from happening.
First of all, clarify your individual and collective goals. Are your objectives to explore the region? Gain lifetime friendships? Enhance your resume? Expose your children to a different culture?
Socializing is key to enjoying your time abroad. It takes one solid friendship in the country to make the difference between a good memory and an unforgettable one. Trailing partners have greater opportunities to meet people, either locals or other expatriates, explore the area, learn new skills specific to the country such as language, arts, and sports. Pinpoint what you would like to do, pursue the interest immediately after arrival, and maintain an unflinching focus on it.
For More Info
Information sharing and online discussion groups see TransitionsAbroad.com's section on expatriate websites, many of which include forums which discuss issues related to expatriate life for all involved.
For expert advice from relocation specialist, go to Robin Pascoe's site: www.expatexpert.com.
KERI KUBOKAWA has lived in South Korea, Japan, Germany, and Singapore in various capacities including student, at-home mother, and manager for a Fortune 15 company. She lives in Temecula, CA with her husband and son.