Cross-Cultural HOME || Saying Goodbye || Managing Stress || Landing Overseas ||
Succeeding Overseas || Adapting || Moving On || Resilience || Learning More

You now happily manage life in your new country with only occasional mishaps...just in time to leave. Many people neglect to prepare for this stage of cross-cultural living. You have changed, perhaps in ways you don't even realize. Meanwhile, "home" has changed as well.

Research shows that re-entry culture shock is often worse than what you experienced when moving overseas. Prepare, just as you did for the overseas move. Recognize and allow time for the grieving process. Learn about the culture you are going to. What is new? What has changed? Examine your personal culture, now probably a mixture from different places. What habits and attitudes have you picked up? How are you different? Pull out all of your stress management, coping, and cultural learning strategies. Expect ups and downs, even once you first think you have adjusted, remembering that the "re-entry" process can take a year or more.

If you are moving to another country, don't think that your status as a cross-cultural "expert" will suffice. You still need to study the new culture, learn the language (or the local variation), and apply the attitudes and strategies that help you adapt. Keep that commitment to learning and growing. As Shakespeare wrote centuries ago, "We know what we are, but know not what we may be." Enjoy the journey!

Twelve (12) Hints for a Successful Move

  1. Say goodbye properly before you leave.
  2. Anticipate as many changes as possible in the upcoming move, and plan ahead for them as a family and as an individual.
  3. Assess resources and get information on the new post, culture, schools, community, country, etc.
  4. Identify those friends from whom you can get help, both in the U.S. and abroad.
  5. Prepare for the continuation of what’s important to you (take books, establish relationships with specialty stores).
  6. Remember what worked before, and try to avoid what didn’t work.
  7. Recognize and pay attention to all feelings that go along with a move to a new culture.
  8. Deal with the stress of moving and living at the new post by taking care of yourself with regular exercise and good communication with people you trust.
  9. Be prepared to try some new things: speaking the new language, making new friends, trying new foods.
  10. Reflect in some manner on the process of moving and encountering a new culture. Keep a journal or write to a friend with whom you can share everything.
  11. Remember that the moving process, while exciting, can also lead to feelings of confusion, boredom, fatigue, and anxiety during the getting-settled period. These are normal and will pass with time.
  12. Be kind to yourself and those with whom you live. Don’t expect overnight changes and acceptance. Reach out for support from others in the community.

Transition to Washington information


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