Cross-Cultural Adjustment

Having the opportunity to work and live abroad can be a very exciting prospect for expatriates and their families who are redesigning their lives, changing their careers, or looking to travel. When moving to a foreign country, expatriates have opportunities for learning about other cultures, for challenging themselves in new ways, and for living more adventurous and exciting lives. Along with those new adventures and opportunities, however, comes a whole host of dilemmas and new challenges.  They can’t be avoided.  Examples include:

  • Living in the new country with a sense of disconnection, of feeling different, and of not belonging.
  • Not being understood or being able to make one’s needs known.
  • Being away from family, friends and long-time work colleagues.
  • Having new roles and responsibilities within the family.
  • Experiencing difficulties in managing routine daily affairs, such as grocery shopping and managing health needs.
  • Being culturally stereotyped
  • Not understanding of social norm and rules
  • Having one’s own cultural values challenged

To learn more about these challenges of international living, visit my Cross-cultural Adjustment Resources page where you will find papers and resources, not only discussing the impact of these challenges on couples and their families, but also coaching tools that can be helpful in dealing with these dilemmas.