3 STEPS TO PREPARE YOUR INTERNATIONAL MOVE ON A DEEP LEVEL
When it comes to moving abroad a lot of material and training to prepare for your move will revolve around what your destination is like: customs and traditions, language, politics, the weather, safety, living standard, the most important DOs and DON’Ts… These are all very important things to know about and to help you make an informed decision.
Here comes the BUT: It isn’t enough.
Here are 3 more things I strongly encourage you to do, to make that move abroad easier to handle, more successful and more meaningful:
1.) Go the extra mile: find and communicate your true motivation for this move
This is important, so that you know exactly what you are doing and most importantly why you are doing it once you go through your transition phase. It becomes even more important if you are moving with a partner or family. In this case, you should tell them what exactly motivates your move in detail and bring them on board with your vision.
Here’s why: Say, you want to move abroad to boost your career and this will require you to work long hours and to travel a lot upon arrival. Your focus will be on your new job. Your partner and children will therefore not be able to rely very much on you while they are handling their culture shock, transition into a new home, schools etc. Do you see where this is going? Sharing your motivation and what exactly that means with them, will help them to prepare mentally and practically and will spare you a lot of frustration once you arrive.
2.) Boost your intercultural communication skills ASAP:
What does that mean? It means going further than just learning about curiosities and etiquette rules of your destination. It means developing skills so that you can avoid suffering from a culture shock as well as misunderstandings with future co-workers and locals. You can read up on the topic, get a professional to train you, join workshops and even start doing a few things right away on your own.
Here’s a fun one: Train your non-verbal communication abilities by putting a foreign TV programme on mute/subtitles off and try to guess what is being said. After a few minutes: rewind and watch with subtitles in your language. Did you get it right? BRAVO: continue!
3.) Prepare to having to question yourself
This is something I am working on a lot with my clients. Living in a culture that is very different to your own can confront you with your deepest inner convictions and values. You may rationally understand that people behave differently but it may feel offensive, rude, distant, bizarre… The list is long.
Why does it feel that way? Because certain behaviours of other cultures may be entirely opposed to what you have lived with all your life. In other words: The way you have seen the world up to now is being questioned by the way these people behave. This can hurt.
Now, there are a lot of things you can do once you are in this situation. But in preparation for your move it can be extremely valuable for you to assess what your deepest convictions and values are. It will make it easier to identify why upcoming situations may feel frustrating to you and that this is an area where you may need to work on bridging a cultural gap. So: What is important to you? What would your co-workes, family or friends describe you as, in terms of values and typical behaviours? Try not to just come up with a list of key words but to define each key value in detail with its specific meaning and importance to you. Once you move: keep this list and consult it when you feel interculturally challenged. You will be suprised as to how much it helps!
Could you use some help with this? I am passionate about supporting expats! Reach out and schedule in a free call with me.
You can reach me on +44 (0)74 868 57457 or via e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org