As you embark on your global relocation, there are so many variables in the equation. It may surprise you how long it takes to settle in, even if you are moving to a familiar country. To avoid feeling displaced, here are 4 things everyone in your family can keep in mind to prepare for your international move.
1. Consider how your mindset will shift.
Your eyes will see things differently once you live in a new country. You may think you understand this from moving within your home country or traveling abroad, but it will be different as you go through a global relocation. Your values, beliefs, traditions, and awareness may change over time. Some people find this hard to articulate when talking with old colleagues, friends, and family back home.
Be patient with yourself and those you try to share these things with. Your dear family and friends will try to understand, but this experience will be truly unique to you.
2. Be aware that you may over-romanticize your experiences.
As with any change, it’s easy to only focus on the good things. Once you complete your global relocation and start missing the country you formerly lived in, you may over-romanticize the experience. Make a list of positives and challenges from the country you are missing. Really get down to the reality of the place. It will help to have an accurate picture in your mind.
We conveniently leave out the challenges, and this skews our perspective. Recognize the pros and cons of your life in the former country to avoid criticizing your current circumstances with thoughts like, “Things were so much better there.”
3. Say a nice goodbye before leaving.
Be sure to visit all the places, people, and things you wish to see one more time before moving to your new country. The list may be things that were very important to you – or things you always meant to experience but never got around to doing so.
Take photos of things that hold significant meaning to you, but that you won’t be able to find online. Sure, you can find landmarks and city streets with Google Earth, but what about the view from your favourite table at the coffee shop you visited every week? Or the fruit and cheese shop where the owner always gave you a nibble of cheese to sample? Having photos of these places – as well as the people you encountered in your everyday life who you likely won’t keep in touch with – will allow you to revisit those fond memories whenever you are missing your former country.
4. Understand how children may perceive the new country.
Prior to your relocation, talk to your children about the new country’s culture. Ask your children what questions they have about the country. You may be surprised by their response, such as “Are there trees?” Their perspective is so different from an adult’s. Addressing even the smallest of details can help put them at ease.
Once you move, your children will likely feel there is much they don’t understand – such as day-to-day things they were not a part of or things their new friends know. Their response to many questions may be, “I don’t know.” This can be hard. In the months leading up to the relocation, take time to introduce children to some of the differences in your new country compared to your current country to make the experience less jarring. What resources and books can they read on the new country? What TV shows are set in the new country? Can you schedule a call with their new teacher? Get creative on ways you can introduce them to their new home.
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