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You are here: Home Moving to Relocation Getting help to live your best life abroad
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11/07/2010Getting help to live your best life abroad

Getting help to live your best life abroad Amanda van Mulligen speaks to three professionals who help expats deal with issues related to life abroad.

Faced with a new life abroad, and the absence of a familiar structure, environment or network, many expats struggle to settle and feel at home.

A little help along the way can be all too welcome. Amanda van Mulligen speaks to three professionals who help expats deal with issues related to life abroad.
 
Debby Poort, an American therapist based in the Netherlands, is a specialist in integrative psychotherapy and offers therapy and counselling to adults (www.yellowwood.nl/).  She reports that the transition to a new life overseas often hits harder than many would think.

“A common issue that expats come to me with is loneliness, usually caused by isolation and a lack of close friendships. Being in a new environment can trigger vulnerable feelings within us that were otherwise not in our conscious awareness when we were home in familiar surroundings,” she says.


Many expat partners in particular feel lost once the initial adventure and excitement of a life overseas fades. For many a feeling of emptiness takes over and a sense that there must be something more.

Nynke Bruinsma, a Dutch expat living in England, from The Expat Coaches (www.theexpatcoaches.com), explains that she is commonly faced with expat partners who are trying to deduce what they want from their time overseas,

“Quite often expat partners have the feeling that they should be happy with their lives because there are no financial worries. They don’t need to work, and they have the opportunity to live abroad. But they often feel that they miss ‘something’.”

On top of this, life goes on overseas as it does at home; life continues to throw its own set of challenges and issues no matter where home is.

Nicola McCall from Live Life Now Coaching (www.livelifenowcoaching.com) is a British coach living in the Netherlands who specialises in expat issues. One of her aims is to improve how expat assignments are fulfilled. She says that whilst her clients come to her with a wide range of issues, there is a central theme running through the challenges they face,

“My coachees come to me about career, divorce, work issues and reaching their goals – but the core of all our work is around identity, purpose and fulfilment.”

Ensuring that not only an assignee, but their family too, can adapt to life overseas should be a priority for employers sending staff abroad, after all expats cost companies at least three times more than regular staff, and the risk of a failed assignment is high.

According to the ExpatExpert.com/AMJ Campbell International Relocation “Family Matters!”Survey, more often than not family or spousal reasons are attributed to why an overseas assignment fails; cited often are marital issues, problems relating to children’s education, spouse career issues or adjusting to expat life. The short of it is that making sure an accompanying partner is happy overseas is key to the success of an expatriate assignment and investing in external support to reach this goal would seem money well spent.

The principle aim of any coach or therapist is to provide an expat client with the tools to adapt and thrive in a new country, to learn to understand themselves, deal with change and work towards their own personal fulfilment, whatever form this may take.

Expat coach, McCall elaborates,

“I listen without judgement, help identify blind spots and unwrap the real story about an issue to find the reality. I offer a safe time and space in which the coachee can be their authentic self, where they can unburden, reconsider, review, dream and plan.”

Bruinsma echoes the importance of providing a client with a safe environment to be heard,

“The heart of coaching is really listening to what the client is saying. The coach asks a lot of questions to help the client get insight into their issues. Because clients answer these questions themselves, they paint their own picture of what is important and what they want to achieve.”

Poort emphasises the importance of giving clients the space to find their own solutions by giving them the tools they need,

“I take on the role of an understanding, unbiased listener. I also provide an atmosphere where clients can share their story and their concerns without the fear of being judged or coerced into making decisions not right for them and their lives.”


Sharing fears, insecurities and issues with a therapist or setting off on a personal journey with a coach often provides clients with the safe and supporting environment they need to come up with solutions themselves. Debby Poort says,

“Clients often just need affirmation that they are not the only one struggling, that their experiences are typical, and that they have the ability to solve their own problems. Most clients move forward without much further intervention on my part.”

Bruinsma reiterates that coaching provides clients with the tools so they can take action themselves,

“Clients always move forwards and deal with issues. Sometimes it only takes a few sessions for a client to see everything in perspective and get into action. Sometimes people know in their heart what it is they would like to do, but they haven’t said it out loud yet.”

McCall hopes that with her coaching her clients are empowered to take steps to move forwards,

“I believe the coachee has the solution within themselves and what I do is help them see new ways of thinking, being, problem solving, encourage ideas, help them decide and design their actions and goals. It is clear from feedback that clients find new momentum, spirit and focus to tackle their issue.”


About the author: Amanda van Mulligen is British born and has been living in the Netherlands since 2000. She is a writer specialising in issues relating to the expat community, life in the Netherlands and career matters.

For more information visit her website at www.TheWritingWell.eu or read her blog about life in the Netherlands at http://letterfromthenetherlands.blogspot.com/. You can also follow her on Twitter.

 

Ask Expat Aunt/ Uncle on Expaticato seek advice and tips on how to make the best of life abroad

Make the best of living abroad by posting your questions to Expatica's new experts.  Visit the Ask the expert section of the Expatica country site relevant to you and click on the 'Expat Aunt/ Uncle' category to ask your question for free. Go to page 3 of this article for the direct links to Expatica's Expat Aunt/ Uncle per Expatica country.

 

Switzerland
Ludmilla Skinner is Expatica Switzerland's Expat Aunt. Write to her to seek advice and tips on how to make the best of life in Switzerland, by going to Ask the Expert  for Switzerland.

 

 

Belgium
Andre Keil is Expatica Belgium's Expat Uncle. Write to him to seek advice and tips on how to make the best of life in Belgium, by going to Ask the Expert for Belgium.

 

 

 

France
Janice Barnett from Pathfinders Coaching is Expatica France’s Expat Aunt. Send your questions to Expat Aunt Janice Barnett or Helen Thrupp,.

 

 

Spain
Nick Snelling and Susan Hunter are Expatica Spain's Expat Aunt /Uncle. Write to them to seek advice and tips on how to make the best of life abroad.

 

 

Luxembourg
Mindful Mimi is Expatica Luxembourg's Expat Aunt. Write to her to seek advice and tips on how to make the best of life in Luxembourg, by going to Ask the Expert and selecting Expat Aunt & Uncle.

 

 

UK
Piercarla Garusi is Expatica UK's Expat Aunt, who understands what it’s like to be an expat here. Write to her to seek advice and tips on how to make the best of life in the UK.

 

 

The Netherlands

Write to Expat Aunt in the Netherlands Nicola McCall to seek advice and tips on how to make the best of life abroad.

 

 

 

Germany
Gesa   Kramer






Write to Expat Aunts in Germany Doris Fuellgrabe,Jamie Muller and Elouise Taylor and Gesa Kramer . Visit Expatica Germany's Ask the expert section and go to the Expat Aunt & Uncle category to see all experts.

 

 

 




1 reaction to this article

Steve Warren posted: 2010-08-28 19:30:50

I have found that the transition of an international move can effect people emotionally in a way totally unexpected. There are obvious differences between one's home country and the new but its often the accumulation of the less obvious and unexpected that pile up into something termed as 'culture shock'.

Quickly integrating into a community helps you through this. Others have an incredible way of bringing perspective into our world.

We have watched and supported expat families settle into the Netherlands and enjoy seeing them find their best life here.

Congrats on all you're doing.

Steve Warren
www.c3amsterdam.nl

1 reaction to this article

Steve Warren posted: 2010-08-28 19:30:50

I have found that the transition of an international move can effect people emotionally in a way totally unexpected. There are obvious differences between one's home country and the new but its often the accumulation of the less obvious and unexpected that pile up into something termed as 'culture shock'.

Quickly integrating into a community helps you through this. Others have an incredible way of bringing perspective into our world.

We have watched and supported expat families settle into the Netherlands and enjoy seeing them find their best life here.

Congrats on all you're doing.

Steve Warren
www.c3amsterdam.nl

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