Expat spouses - Overcoming the challenges that face them

Posted by Nick Niesen on October 26th, 2010

When a spouse is assigned an overseas assignment, the partner is faced with many obstacles that are often ignored. Unfortunately at this time not too many companies offer their support to the spouse.

According to research done by Val Boyko into 'global solutions for international assignments' at the Families in Global Transition conference in 2004, she found that the partner's biggest challenges are that they feel:

* Unrecognized.
* Unsupported.
* Let down because of inaccurate or irrelevant information.
* Isolated.

Maybe you or a friend is experiencing life as an expat partner where you thought you would be able to work, but have found out that it was is a near impossibility; or that you have assumed that internet access would be easily available to maintain contact with friends and family only to discover that it takes months to get connected; or you are a newcomer without an expat community around you AND you can't speak the language.

This happens all the time to expat spouses.

So what is the solution?
Tips for the expat spouse

1. Team Work:

Try and get everyone to work together to understand and accept your needs as a spouse. Speak to whoever is in charge of the expat assignment, build up a relationship with him or her before you move and become as informed as you can. Encourage them to give you honest and accurate expectations so that you can make the best choices for yourself and for your family.

2. Your role:

Find out about the issues that generally face expat spouses. Make yourself aware of the challenges you will meet. Take up the responsibility and to make it your business to know. Do not rely on others to provide you give you what you may need.

3. Support:

Make contact with existing expats in the country you are about to move to through groups, message boards, and online forums. Set up a relationship and support system for yourself even before you land at the airport. Begin to explore possibilities before you head out on your new adventure.

4. Education:

Educate yourself - there really is so much information on the web. Don't assume that the experience will be similar to your impressions. It often is not! So be curious and pro-active. Do not be afraid to ask for help. Let others know what you need. People want to help and it could be your very lifesaver in a time of need.

And finally...you may want consider hiring your own coach to give a speedy start to your overseas success!
Quote of the week

"Don't wait until everything is just right. It will never be perfect. There will always be challenges, obstacles and less than perfect conditions. So what. Get started now. With each step you take, you will grow stronger and stronger, more and more skilled, more and more successful." Mark Victor Hansen.
Powerful question of the week

"What would you like to happen now, this week, next year .?"

Write it down, be specific and make an action plan to make it happen.
Expat lifecoach

As an Expat Life Coach, my purpose is to support expatriate assignees, their spouses and families in developing tools that will help make the expat experience work for them. If you are skeptical or curious about how the coaching process works, feel free to take up my offer of a COMPLIMENTARY coaching session. After the session, you can take whatever tools you developed to support yourself along your expat journey. Please email me to set up your FREE session.

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Nick Niesen

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Nick Niesen
Joined: April 29th, 2015
Articles Posted: 33,847

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