EXPAT WIFE CHALLENGES

OVERCOMING CHALLENGES FACED BY EXPAT WIVES


As soon as the jubilation of that international journey is worn off; what is an expat wife supposed to do? How does she fill her days and beat that dreaded expat blues when she has unpacked all boxes and all the new culture thrills she finds herself in has become well; less thrilling? 

Being or becoming an expat wife is exciting and frightening likewise. Life in a new area can bring all forms of 

new things. Like from new drinks and food to new rituals and habits. But one can encounter expat problems 

likewise. The most common problems faced by expat wives are:

                Loneliness

              Loss of financial Independence

                 Boredom


    The other challenges are

           Cultural differences

           Sorting out health care

 Finding good schools for the kids

 Relationship problems

 Learning the language  

 Cost of living.

Others are bad preparation, no friends and moving away from home problems. Most of these problems are relatively easy to deal with and others are not.

Every individual living overseas has their own problems and also ways of solving them; and all places in the world, of course, comes with different difficulties. Expats that reside in Dubai face problems different from those living in Shanghai or Cape Town. Below are most of the common problems faced by expat wives and some awesome tips that can make the new life of an expat wife easier:

1.    SOCIAL LIFE

One of the major problem expat wives struggle with as they try adjusting to their latest surroundings is establishing social lives. Looking for things to do and meeting new friends in the new area is somewhat challenging. When you just moved particularly; and you are still dealing with those things you left behind (family and friends). In the new town when you are processing the experiences and impressions it is these individuals you need most. But, it is ok to blend in at the same time, to meet new friends and establish new activities and interests. Saying “GOODBYE TO FRIENDS AND FAMILY AND AT THE SAME TIME SAYING HELLO TO STRANGERS” is the most difficult part for many  expat wives.

SOLUTIONS

1.     Ask a neighbor or co-worker for details on what’s going on.

2.     You can surf the net (expat forums) to know if you can become part of an organization, expat group or sports club.

3.     Introduce yourself to neighbors and expat wives and co-workers.

4.     Invite co-workers or neighbors for a drink

5.     Get involved in some volunteer work.

6.     Ensure not to get all that personal during your first encounter with anyone. Else, you’ll end up scaring them away.

2.    RELOCATION PROCESS

The relocating process is extremely stressful and sooner or later you encounter some problems. One needs to pack everything thing she needs to take with her and perhaps store or have the rest sold. You have to terminate some contracts and for the few first months that you are there; you need to prepare. In short; there is a lot you need to think of and do before moving abroad.

SOLUTIONS

1.     You can surf the internet for lists: what you need to take care of and those you can take with you. Find or make a list of those things that needs to be checked before moving.

2.     You can ask friends and family to help pack everything (Have each box numbered and write down / label the contents of each box). If possible employ the service of a relocation company.

3.     You can make use of expat forums, chat groups and platforms in other to get useful details about the new country.

3.    FEELING LONELY

It is difficult leaving your friends and family behind. Even if one regularly attends social events, have a good rapport with co-workers and make new friends, one can very much still feel lonely. One of the most difficult expat challenges to solve is Loneliness; because it means more than having no-one around. Most individuals have problems when it comes to making friends. Some have difficulties opening up even when they hang out with almost everyone. From time to time these individuals may feel lonely.

SOLUTIONS

1.     You can consider relocating with your close family members. (People who relocate with their family usually experience less loneliness)

2.     You can plan family reunions ahead. Plan where and when to meet members of your family if you find it difficult relocating with them all.

3.     Set up a Whatsapp, Facebook or Skype group with friends and family to talk about the latest news and gossip.

4.     Connect with your extended family and love circle regularly doing this will make you feel like you are not too far away.

5.     Sign up with an Expat Wife Life Coach you can find a good one at http://www.ExpatWifeAcademy.com

4.    CAREER CONCERNS

Some individuals move abroad basically because of their businesses and jobs, while others move basically in search of jobs. It means you are alone in either case. There is absolutely no friend or family member to support you whenever you are unhappy when there is a conflict at your work place.

SOLUTION

Preparation is extremely vital when it has to do with taking away few of one’s career concerns.

1.     Before moving abroad try as much as you can to know the market, main differences when it comes to rights, expectations local laws and customs. Check the country’s foreign policy, economy, and political situation.

2.     There are several social networks meant for expats and individuals over there that are willing to give a response to any question you have.

3.     Try connecting with other professionals that reside there.

4.     Try finding out if there are competitions in your chosen field and if there is the need for you to develop your skills further.

5.     Start a business online the book "Home Business For Expat Wives" has a lot of information on businesses that Expat Wives can start from home

5.    FOOD.

Every country has their own local / cultural cuisine. Some cuisines are very popular (Italian, French, Chinese) while others might not be available or promoted (Dutch, British, American). All countries have its own local / specialized spices, herbs, and vegetables. This might pose a great challenge particularly when it comes to finding the type of food you are used to eating.

Some of the  fruits might also taste different from what you are used to. Hence, living abroad as  an expat, your  preferred food ingredients can be a challenge.

SOLUTION

1.     Read about the cuisines of the country you intend traveling to before moving abroad. Perhaps may find a restaurant close to you where you can visit and try the cuisine of the country you plan visiting.

2.     You can make use of Google search or any other engine to get information about bars and restaurants in the new country where foreign dishes are served.

3.     Use forums for the expatriate to find out if there are shops that sell foreign food stuff and ingredients

4.     Pack some of your favorite food stuff and ingredients in your luggage

5.     You can ask your family and friends to ship some products to you, the ones you miss most.

6.    LANGUAGE BARRIERS

Speaking and understanding the language of your new country is one of  the challenges if not one of  the toughest expat problems. It takes effort and a lot of time to learn a language and speeding up the process is not possible if you dont have native friends and  have to study and learn the language on your own.

SOLUTIONS

1.     As soon as you have made up your mind to relocate register for the  language course.

2.     Look for native speakers of the language in your city and learn the basic communication phrases of the language.

3.     To master some basics; download some online language applications.

4.     Try listening and watching  local radios and TV programs when you relocate.

5.     When you get there try speaking even if you make mistakes. You will realize the individuals around will appreciate your effort and they’ll  help you out.

7.    STANDARD OF LIVING

Individuals that are moving abroad need to anticipate a different living standard (change in taxes, rent and salary)  also increase in the cost of living expenses.

These changes require preparations and adjustments. Does a salary increase mean that one will be able to save more or pay more in taxes, Will rent and other costs go up as well? How about cost of utility and food? Are there things you are not allowed to do? What about security concerns? These are some of the issues that affect an expat wife living abroad

SOLUTIONS

1.     Visit the new country before moving and see what the people living  there buy and how they live.

2.     Check out during a visit or online how much would be spent on apartments, cars, utilities etc

3.     Check out if what you earn is enough to cope with expense level of the country, and if what you'll be earning is comparable to other individuals with your qualifications/jobs.

4.     Ask people residing there of their experience (make use of expat forums and social media).

5.     Be mentally prepared for a lifestyle change. Ensure you don’t compare all you see with your former country; learn to take and see things as they come and enjoy the experience.


Article by Bibi Apampa a Life and Business Coach for Expat Wives, Best Selling Author of the book "Home Business for Expat Wives" check out more resources for Expat wives at http://www.ExpatWifeAcademy.com