Where can an expat call home?
As an expat, the sense of never being at home is very real. The majority of people admitted the disheartening struggle of settling in upon returning home after having lived abroad for a period of time.
Moving to a country whose culture is somewhat opposite to the attitudes and beliefs of your home country can be, unsurprisingly, disconcerting. Equally, you risk facing just as many challenges when returning to your home country, regardless of the duration of time you have spent away – even if it is to simply reunite with your family and friends. Culture shock can impact you at any time, no matter how long you’ve been living in your country of choice, and knowing how to effectively tackle this when it does occur is important. It is important to also realise that culture shock can have a significant impact upon your return home, as your reintegration can be difficult if you have adopted cultures which are significantly different.
Ultimately, it is your choice where you decide to call ‘home’, whether it is your home country or the country you have moved to, regardless of whether it was, to broaden your horizons, for a work assignment, or for a better quality of life. Below we explore where home is for an expat.
For some, it was the reaction from the people who were supposedly close to them that made returning ‘home’ a lonely and challenging experience. It is evident that visiting ‘home’ can make you feel significantly left behind in time. Having picked up new words and phrases without the accent, reintegration is far easier when you avoid discussing your past, as this can come across as pretentious.
A great way to deal with moving related loneliness is to join a social group or club. Here, you will be able to reignite your interests and find a group of people who enjoy similar, if not the same, hobbies or activities as you.
How do you fit back in?
Having lived abroad, how do you fit back in? Expat life can be very exciting, but returning home after living overseas is certainly not easy. Whilst it might not be as easy as expected, returning home is by no means impossible.
Assuming that you have made plans regarding new living arrangements, a job and social activities for your return home, in order to avoid feeling somewhat stuck in limbo, it is paramount that you expect change, find a mentor at home and identify unchanged things that can help you to manage the transition more effectively, regardless of whether it is people, places or activities you choose to focus on.
How do you reintegrate?
While many people have found resettling into their so-called ‘home’ difficult, several have agreed that it is not entirely necessary. Instead, you begin to realise that because you have lived in numerous cultures, and that your personality and way of thinking has noticeably changed, attempting to adopt who you once were can sometimes lead to a reverse in your personal growth.
While expats can enjoy the best of both, including the enjoyment of experiencing a new culture and lifestyle, deciding exactly where ‘home’ is can be more difficult. Even though every expat will experience unusual, nostalgic emotions when returning to native countries, expats either have no home at all, or two – which is entirely the individual’s choice.
For more information and to find out how we can help with your move abroad, or your return home, please contact a member of our expert team today.