Adjusting to Life in a New Country

In today’s trend toward globalization, international companies, educational institutions, military services, and governments around the world are relying more and more on employees and their families to live and work in a foreign country. Whether such a foreign assignment is six months to a year or longer, having the opportunity to work and live abroad can be both a daunting and very exciting prospect for expatriates and their families.

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 lives. Along with those new opportunities, however, comes a whole host of dilemmas, such as being away from family and friends, adjusting to the norms and vales of a new country, and learning a new language.

It has been recognized the importance of offering cross-cultural training to employees and their accompanying families when they relocate to other countries. These training sessions help the employee and his/her family to quickly and smoothly adjust to a new location, thus resulting in a higher efficiency and productivity of the transferred employee. Families who move to a new country often have different perceptions of social and cultural events in their new host country that can cause misunderstanding and can interfere with their personal adjustment. Additionally, the inability to make one’s perceptions understood also affect interpersonal relations with host nationals resulting in isolation and different degrees of stress.

Adjusting to Life in a New Country is a program that offers training sessions to international newcomers and their families to help them to navigate the challenges of the new culture within a context of cross-cultural exploration and adult learning. Our program is unique in the fact that it provides a safe place where newcomers can share their experiences, ask questions, and receive information in an environment of mutual respect. More importantly, the program utilizes the intercultural training sessions to help newcomers overcome signs of cultural shock by building confidence and helping them to adjust to their new community more easily. This allows them to rapidly become productive members of the community.

I have conducted Adjusting to Life in a New Country in Brookline, Massachusetts with Liliana Busconi, from the Fall of 2008 to the Fall of 2014.  Liliana’s biography is below.

The program was recognized as one of five successful programs in the 2011 Families and Global Transition Conference in Washington, D.C..  To learn more about the Adjusting to a New Country Brochure program, read our brochure.

about Liliana Busconi, Ph.D.

Liliana Busconi, Ph.D. is a native of Argentina. She earned her degree in Biochemistry from Universidad Nacional de Buenos Aires, Argentina. She moved to Boston in 1990 with her family to do her postdoctoral training at Harvard Medical School.

After six years in Boston, she returned to her home country. She experienced firsthand how difficult is to move from one country to other and discovered that it was just as hard to adjust to life in the United States as it was to go back to her home country after being away for several years.

Liliana and her family returned to Brookline in 2001 and, as a consequence of her own experience, she became very interested in the challenges of adapting to a new society and returning to one’s native country. This interest led her to take a cross-cultural training workshop to train her in the processes of intercultural transitions and adaptation.

In 2008 she decided to create a program for international families with children in the Brookline Public School system. She saw this as an opportunity to help new families who were now in the position she was once in, as well as a way to give back to the community that had helped her adjust to Brookline many years ago— including teachers, ELL teachers, and counselors.

After meeting in 2009, Liliana Busconi and Andrew Miser decided that their different backgrounds yet similar interests and experiences could complement each other in reaching out to the international community. Together they have developed a cross-cultural program for international newcomers moving to the United States, called Adjusting to Life in a New Country. They piloted this program in Brookline, Massachusetts.  This program was recognized as one of five successful community support programs for international families at Families and Global Transition Conference in May 2011.

After working for many years in research at Boston University School of Medicine, Liliana now enjoys teaching at Emmanuel College.