Expat-life: living and working abroad

Making the decision to live abroad for work and to take your family with you is a very brave step. Living abroad is, after all, a totally different experience from simply being there on holiday, contrary to what non-expats may think. It is largely a step into the unknown, set aside for the adventurers among us. Even if you are very well prepared, you will face a large amount of unfamiliar and new things with which you will need to learn how to live or how to solve. Nevertheless, when the first turbulent time needed for adjustment has passed, expat life can be extremely enriching for both you and your family. You will come in contact with so many new and exciting experiences that you never would have lived had you stayed home. An expat adventure, however, demands solid preparation. Mainly expat-partners who previously enjoyed a meaningful and fulfilling life, who previously worked and were active in an extensive social network, can feel this switch to expat life as a big loss. Suddenly there is no meaningful goal in your life anymore. Without fully realising, a move abroad brings about an enormous change in your identity. When all the boxes from the move have been unpacked and all the administrative tasks done, feelings of boredom, loneliness and aimlessness might settle in. Without a goal in your life, you have no clear direction and motivation to achieve anything. From this might arise dissatisfaction, feelings of unhappiness and even some illnesses, such as depression. To avoid this and to turn your expat-adventure into a success, you need the right approach. Here I can support you, guide you and help you get on the right trajectory. I can draw from my experience as expat-wife and my expertise as systematic life-and business coach to lead you to this success. I am Belgian and have not lived in Belgium for 10 years. A 3 year stay in the United Kingdom and the rest of the time in Germany have given me a first-hand experience of the pros and cons of expat-life and have made a different and more enriched person of me. My journey, however, was anything but easy and, throughout, I had to conquer many different obstacles and problems. For me, this was an enormous learning experience and I would love to share this experience, along with my expertise as a systematic life-and business coach, with people in a similar situation, so that they may travel a slightly easier path to a successful and happy expat-life.

The preparation

To make the step to an expat-life, or to go from one mission to the next, you have to be very organised. Start in a timely fashion. I can give you a whole range of practical tips, and mostly, coach you, to optimally prepare your stay abroad. In case this period becomes emotionally overwhelming – the whole adventure is making you anxious, for example – then I can support you.

Life abroad

No matter how prepared you think you are, you will face things you did not expect or it will not go how you planned it at all. How do you deal with this? How do you take the first step to a solution. How do you give your new life abroad a meaning? Especially for the expat-partners: how do you avoid sinking into a black hole and spiralling out of control? I can support you, guide you and steer you to what you want to make out of expat-life.

The return

Though it may seem easy to return to your native country, this can also come with its fair share of problems. It is almost harder than the first step abroad. You have become a different person in the meantime. How do you find your new place in your country of origin? How do you reconnect with those who stayed home and your old life? Do your children want to return with you? After all, they have also become different and richer people. With the right preparation and coaching, I can also turn your return into a successful experience.