Guest Post by Dr Cate Brubaker
Three Tips for Returning Home After Living Abroad
If you’re going through re-entry (repatriation), you might feel like you’re riding a roller coaster with unending ups and downs. Rest assured, it’s completely normal to feel that way – returning home after living abroad is a challenging transition!
In fact, for most people, re-entry is THE hardest part of the entire expat experience.
Here’s the good news! With the right approach, you can turn re-entry into a positive force in your life.
Here are three tips to get you started:
1. Unpack your emotions.
Returnees are often surprised and overwhelmed by their complex feelings of returning home. Listen to those feelings! Your emotions provide important data that tell you what you want and don’t want in your relationships, career, and life going forward.
Don’t minimize your feelings or sweep them under the rug. Instead, find an outlet for expressing your positive and negative feelings in a healthy way.
A few examples: write in a journal, work with a coach or talk with a trusted friend.
2. Reflect on your evolving identity.
You no doubt feel changed by your experiences living abroad, but you might find it difficult to describe exactly how you’ve changed. And you might feel disappointed if friends, family, and colleagues at home don’t readily notice or appreciate those changes.
It can help to reflect on who you were before you went abroad, who you were while you were abroad, and who you are now that you’ve returned. In what ways have you remained the same? In what ways have you changed? What did you learn while abroad?
3. Find new adventures.
Many returnees miss the daily adventure and novelty of living abroad once they’re back home. One of the best ways to thrive after returning to your home country is to intentionally seek out new adventures. For some that could mean frequent weekend day trips or exploring their home city with the eyes of a tourist. For others it could mean starting a new hobby, pursuing a new sport or even launching a new business.
Make a list of 5-10 adventures that you’d like to pursue at home, schedule them in your calendar, and have some fun!
Living abroad wasn’t always easy but you made the most of it and thrived in a different country and culture. With the right attitude and approach you can thrive in re-entry, too!
Have you moved from one country to another, or recently returned home? What tips helped you on your journey? Please share in the comments below.
If you think this article would be helpful to someone, feel free to share it.
Thanks to Cate Brubaker for her guest post
Dr. Cate Brubaker is the author of the Re-entry Roadmap creative workbook and founder of SmallPlanetStudio.com, the go-to website and community for globetrotters who’ve lived abroad.