Balancing between home, local and expat friendships is key to happiness when living offshore.
Based on our personal experience and that of our clients, we’ve come to the conclusion that a happy and well-balanced expat fosters three distinct categories of relationships.
First they protect their sense of personal identity by actively maintaining links with family and friends back home.
Secondly they make local friends to ensure they live in the present. And make the most of where they are.
And thirdly they build connections with others who are living (or have lived) outside the cultures they were born into, sharing the highs and lows of the expat journey.
Location will have a big influence on how easy (or hard) it is to develop each of these spheres.
When I lived in Singapore and India there were huge international communities. Sometimes the challenge was just getting out of what could easily become an unrealistic bubble world. And making the effort to connect locally.
By contrast, New Zealand is quite a different setting without the international schools, clubs and other amenities which bring expats together.
If you’re feeling disconnected as an expat, take a step back.
Your initial response may be emotional. But analysing the situation objectively can help a solution emerge.
Consider the characteristics of the environment you’re in. And the spread of your relationships across the three spheres.
Are adjustments required?
Bridget is Principal at Mobile Relocation. Working in partnership with HR and executive teams, Mobile helps bring expat staff to fill key roles in companies and organisations throughout New Zealand.
Mobile Relocation - connecting newcomers with what they need to thrive in New Zealand.