So You're Going Overseas!

You are reading this section because you have either already decided to move overseas or are in the process of deciding whether or not to make the move. If you have been given the choice of whether or not to accept an overseas assignment, consider yourself fortunate. Many organizations aren't that democratic. Perhaps for your own personal or professional reasons you have lobbied for an international relocation. Whatever the case may be, many factors must be taken into consideration in order to make a successful move.

To Go or Not To Go?

You've probably already done some homework and read about or spoken to others who have gone before you. You have, undoubtedly heard the best and worst case scenarios. Some international moves have been absolutely the best thing one family has ever done and probably the worst decision another has ever made. A successful move is contingent on many things, but here is a short list of the some of the considerations for evaluating your suitability for an overseas assignment.

Employee considerations:

  • Is it the right timing in your career path?
  • Do you have all the information you need to understand the requirements of the new job?
  • What is the financial package and how does it impact your family's style of living and financial situation?

Family considerations:

  • Is it the right timing for your family?
  • Have you and your partner ever made a major move before?
  • What is your spouse's / partner's career ambitions?
  • What are the educational alternatives in the host country?

Expatriate with Success

  • Advanced Preparation - The key to a successful move is advanced preparation
  • Look-see trip - An exploratory trip to your country of assignment is, without a doubt, the best method for gathering valuable information for the upcoming move
  • Cross-cultural training is imperative for the employee and his/her family to understand the adjustments they will have to make. The more informed you are about your move, the culture, country, customs and people, the fewer surprises lie ahead
  • Transition Training - Understanding and preparing for the five stages of transition will help pave the way for a smooth relocation. Arm yourself with tools and strategies for hurdling the road blocks
  • Language training is vital to expatriate success and satisfaction. It is just as, if not more, important for the accompanying spouse to receive language training as s/he is on the front lines of dealing with host country issues and culture on a daily basis

Managing your move

There are a multitude of details to be addressed before, during and after any move, but even more so with international relocations:

  • Planning ahead - how to avoid last minute scrambles, getting all the paperwork done
  • Packing out - timing of the pack-out, deciding what goes in storage and what goes in air and sea freight
  • Saying Good-bye - how to leave well in order to enter well
  • Culture shock - confronting a new culture. The ups and downs of adjustment
  • How to make new friends - social diversions
  • Moving pets overseas
  • Adapting to your new environment
  • Special issues of overseas living - dealing with house staff , health and security
  • Issues of the trailing spouse - the moveable marriage, dual careers
  • Keeping up with family and friends at home - keeping your family culture, traditions and values while living abroad
  • Home leave - avoid the pitfalls and reduce your stress
  • Repatriation - counter-culture shock, the challenges of returning, being an invisible immigrant

IFT can help with all these aspects of international relocation and more. Please check out our list of services.

International Family Transitions: 166 Forest Street, Winchester, MA 01890 - (781) 369-1068

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