Moving to a new country can be both an exciting experience and incredibly stressful and challenging.
People have many reasons for relocating to a new country – sometimes out of choice and sometimes out of necessity. Whether your decision to move is optional or not, you may have trouble understanding the many feelings you are experiencing. If you have children involved in the move, it is safe to assume that they are not moving out of choice. They are moving because both or one of their parents have a work opportunity or, the move offers better education or medical services. This complicates some moves for families as their children may not adjust as well as initially planned.
As an expat a recent or upcoming move means many changes for families, including new work, school and living environment. Culture shock upon arrival proves a rollercoaster of emotions as we get used to new sights and sounds. In the business of setting up a new home, it’s possible to miss the signs that adjustment isn’t going so well.
In the business of setting up a new home, it’s possible to miss the signs that adjustment isn’t going so well.
As an expat here are some signs to look for:
- Extreme homesickness
- Withdrawal from people who are different from you
- A new and intense feeling of loyalty to your own culture
- Compulsive eating or a loss of appetite
- A need for excessive periods of sleep
- Marital stress
- Feeling sick much of the time
- Irritability or fits of anger over minor inconveniences
- Parenting challenges
Before you move, take the time to learn about the new place you will be living and what to expect. Together, with your family, research activities, sights and festivals – anything that may be of interest to you. Make plans to visit and enjoy these interests when you arrive.
Working with a therapist can help ease difficult transitions for family members by providing coping tools and skills to navigate new or difficult circumstances.