Heading home? With the end of the school year coming to a close, we are seeing families head in new directions. For some, this means heading “home” after years living abroad. While there are plenty of challenges associated with the so-called “reverse culture shock”, there are plenty of tips on making the transition as smooth and drama-less as possible. We chat with Crown Relocations for their top tips on surviving repatriation with kids in tow.
With all the excitement of going away parties and end of school year fun, the move home can be an exciting time. It's typically after you settle into your new home, new school, and new job where you can start feeling a bit insecure about the move. To mitigate that feeling, it's recommended to build a repatriation plan before you move. What is this you ask?
* PROFESSIONALLY: When you head home, there can be confusion on how to apply your skills learned abroad to bring it home. Even if it’s not a specific role there should be a career path that capitalizes on the new skills that will be learned on the assignment. After all, it’s the high performers that are being moved around the world and those are the employees that need to be retained. It's recommended that you keep a log of successes and activities, no matter how small, and develop that into the three or four new skills that have been formed. This can give you the confidence to bring your new skills and leadership learnings into your new career at home.
* PERSONALLY: It's important for partners and kids to make a repatriation plan as well. It's well known, most people back home have limited interest in hearing about your adventures and trips while abroad. So break it down into bite-sized chunks so people can become more engaged. Managing this expectation in advance will be helpful for the whole family and who you are creating a dialogue with back home.
The whole family can get involved in this exercise. After living abroad, your whole family has had incredible experiences. Whether you are working, going back to the workforce after a brief sabbatical, or heading to school, you can write down how these experiences have translated into new skills that benefit you, your role, and your life.
* You tried a new dish in Thailand! So what? It demonstrates that you will try new things
* You learned a new language? Great! You can pick up new skills quickly
* You made new friends? Sure did! It means that you can build trust and relationships across cultures
While you and your family have been away experiencing a world of change, those at home might not have experienced an equal about of change. You might notice that relationships that you once had are different now.
A few tips on settling into your new routine:
* Manage your expectations in advance and understand that life back at home did not stop while you were away.
* You will also need to note that settling back into your full routine at home can take time and there will be feelings of frustration and sadness in between the excitement of the move. Don’t feel guilty about missing where you relocated abroad. It’s OK to love both places.
* No matter your road to settling into life back home always remember what you did. Relocating abroad no matter the timeframe is a big step that many people never get to experience. So take great pleasure in remembering all the great adventures you had and all the adventures that lie ahead of you now. New adventures await!
Little Steps Asia knows what families need.
Sign up for our email newsletters to get the most out of Asia!