Adjusting to ExPat Life?

Making the adjustment to living and working in a new country takes time, and it is wise to prepare well in advance for that.  I have been coaching a guy who is still in the UK but has been offered a position in the ME starting soon.  Although the company he is joining has given him advice of a practical nature, there are a lot more gaps which need to be filled in order to prepare for making that first step.  Here is my top 5 tips for preparing this year:
  1. Make sure you understand the visa process.  Do you need to be sponsored by a local person or company?  If so, what are the exit visa arrangements?  Do you need permission to leave the country?  Whilst this is often part of the contract as leave for annual holidays, what happens if someone in your home country becomes ill and you need to leave quickly?
  2. You will need your visa sorted before you can do some of the basic things like rent a property, open a bank account, buy a mobile phone, allow time to get these things sorted and don’t underestimate the stress that working through these details brings, even when you have support from the company to help.
  3. Well in advance of arriving, and even before you accept a position, make sure you engage with the expat communities which will be there online.  Whether it’s via a blog site, or Facebook Group, there will certainly be a community of expats who will be happy to share their experiences, make full use of this before you commit to the contract.  This is especially important if you are making the change with a partner or family.
  4. Do your homework on the culture.  Working in a global business world where the predominant language is English, does not mean that business adopts the British or American approaches and cultures at work.  This is part of the real joy of working abroad, the diversity and creativity of working with colleagues of many different nationalities, however, beware of making assumptions.
  5. Expect to be managed differently, and you will find that the way decisions are made may be different also, not to mention how the organisation is led.
Adjusting to change is never easy, but I’d be happy to have a call and share more from my personal experience.
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