International experience is becoming a prerequisite for many top executive and management roles. Yet without doubt moving abroad is an enormous challenge , where one has to come to terms with new customs, rules, language and many other frustrations which include not finding your favorite ingredients for your homemade meals. The first days particularly may feel like you have no control over the new environment however above everything else you can control –
A survey conducted by Worldatwork revealed that about a third of employees expressed disappointment with their overseas experience. 20% found it so unsatisfactory they returned home early.Certainly there can be a number of factors that lead to this : some include unrealistic expectations, misunderstandings of the support from the organization. Despite the odds, the way one chooses to react to the circumstances will determine the success in the transition. Maintaining a balanced attitude and keeping emotions weighed objectively will be constructive in shaping a positive expatriation experience. Have a sense of humor to keep your health, joy and general well being in check. Most times many expatriates have the most ridiculously funny stories to share. ( These probably weren’t funny during the encounter but they add on to the hilarious misadventures 🙂 ) From dealing with some intense culture shock, delays in shipment of goods or lost luggage or day to day glinches due to language. The most important thing is to take control of your life through your attitude and engagement to open yourself to enjoy the full blown benefits of any overseas experience. Its a deeper experience compared to a tourists experience. The advantages to be gained overseas are greater than the hurdles to be climbed in the end. It’s preparation that sets the pace. Whether you are moving for the first time or are now a seasoned expatriate holding many international moves – all involve the same steps – preparation , moving , settling in, adjusting.
You will require the following basics to start preparations :
- Passport, Visa and other Requirements for the legalization of the move
- Specific work related information
- Prior Learning of the language and culture of the country and city
- Support in finding accommodation/ housing
- If you own a home decide what will happen to it , if you rent find our procedures to cancel contracts and move out on time
- Find out medical requirements ( vaccinations etc )
- Support in moving your belongings
- Information on living conditions
- Financial, Tax and insurance advice
- Have a trip to explore the area beforehand
If an organisation is sending you – it will provide some level of support. It is in the best interest of both you and the organisation to be clear from the start about the kind of support that will be provided and what will be your responsibility. It is very important to take time to find out about the processes and to gather as much information as possible also for the whole family if you are moving with your spouse and children. Family adjustment is one of the major reasons for prematurely terminated assignments. Hence finding the right specific support and information prior to going overseas is essential to ease the stress of moving.
Are you preparing for an adventure overseas, planning to move abroad ,a seasoned expatriate with multiple international experience portfolios – how have you created a successful experience living in a foreign country or how are you planning to pave a fruitful journey?