Coaching for expatriates and returning expatriates
Why have coaching with me if you are or have been an expatriate? A little history…
I spent 16 years living and working in South East Asia- 3 years in Jakarta, 4 years in Bangkok and 9 years in Singapore. It was a truly fantastic experience. Jakarta was quite different to Hove…
I will never forget my first drive through Jakarta after a 16 hour flight. The first thing I noticed was the smell – those clove cigarettes – called Kretek. It seemed everyone was smoking them! Before leaving the airport we handed in our passports to some unknown official to obtain our work permits. “It will take about 6 weeks,” we were told. We being 7 new teachers going out for a new job and life in Indonesia . We were assured (rightly) that all would be OK. Then it was the traffic and heat and forms of transport that were just so different; becaks, a little bit like a rickshaw and the bajajs
churning out black smoke weaving in and out of the traffic.
The first few weeks were spent in a state of euphoria and excitement. Everything was just so unbelievable. A trip to Bali for the weekend was quite a normal thing to do! The tea plantation area was close by and we were surrounded by sights and noises and smells that we had never come across before. The culture of the people and their notions of time and what was right and wrong was interesting. Being late or not showing up = fine. Wearing trousers to a government office as a woman = not fine.
I was going through a typical phase; call it honeymoon if you like. Then the home sickness and frustration kicked in. Frequent power cuts or brown outs, 2 hour journeys to work when the roads were flooded and sometimes simply not understanding why some things happened became a source of upset and annoyance. But you get through it. Being on a contract and knowing when you are due to go home, you can.
Finally you get to the acceptance stage. It not all roses, but you can see the good and the more challenging sides and weigh them up.
I think the best thing someone said to me before I left was “If you don’t like it there you can jump on a plane and come home. You’re only half a day away from here.” Somehow the ease of coming home and giving up was enough for me to feel that I wanted to give it a go and not give up at the first (or even tenth) hurdle!
Perhaps you are going through a stage of integration into a new culture here in England. Maybe you are planning to travel or work overseas and the practical matters are sorted, it's the emotional ones you would like help with. Or perhaps you are returning expatriate and experiencing reverse culture shock. Whilst the countries we have visited and experienced may be different, the feelings and emotions can be very similar.
If you are feeling lost or unsure or want some clarity and techniques as to how to manage those feelings do get in touch.