Daily Archives: August 10, 2011

How do you know if expat life is for you?

Someone recently asked me this:

“When you were first offered an expat position, how did you know it was for you? How did you know that you’d be happy living away from home in another country and another culture?”

I had to think before I answered and even then I didn’t really know the answer.  Sure, I know the “how I know” now having been an expat many times over, but how did I know it then?  Was it a hunch?  A longing?  Hunger for an adventure?

Probably it was a combination of all the above coupled with a few other things yet the question made me think.  How can a person who grew up in a mono-cultural environment (if that exists nowadays, that is)  know if an expat position that’s being offered to him/her is their cup of tea?  How do they know it’s for them?

There are things out there in the world that are for us and there are those things that are not for us.  For instance, I know that bungee jumping is just not my thing no matter how excited many of my friends may be about it.  The same applies to life journeys –some journeys are for us and some are not.  But with journeys it may not be so easy to know especially if we have not tried.  So how would one know if an expat living is their thing before they embark on it?

Here are my thoughts and I’d love it if you can comment with yours below.

  • I think that for those people, who thrive on change, this desire for change may be a hint that expat life is definitely something to try out.
  • I think that those people who crave adventure are also lucky to know in advance that they will most likely enjoy it.

What are other ways to know?

NEW at the Global Coach Center: if you coach, train, or consult people who work across cultures, consider joining us for the Culture Mastery Certification and License Program.  We start September 21, 2011 and a discount is available to anyone who registers before September 7, 2011.