A to Z of Successful Expatriation™: M is for MEMORIES

Expatriates can consider themselves among the luckiest people on Earth because they get to generate the most exciting memories during their international assignments.  Memories of new places, new people, stimulating challenges, exploration of the unknown, etc, etc, etc.  And, if we are like the majority humans, for the most part we will remember the good parts and forget the not-so-good-ones.

Memories are important not only because they remind us of the fun we had, but also because they help us remember the journey we undertook to learn about the new place — and in the process, we remember what we learned about ourselves.  The journey is just as important as the destination (if not more sometimes), and so by collecting and preserving the memories of places and people, we also collect and preserve the memories of our learning and discoveries about ourselves.

So here is short exercise.  Answer these two questions (and, please, share your answers in the commentaries!):

(1) What do I most remember about my past assignments?

(2) What did I learn about those places and about myself in the process?

How did you do?  What was it like to look at your experience through the lens of your own journey?

Any other M’s out there?

For all the letters in the A to Z of Successful Expatriation™ click here.

And remember to check out our on-line courses on Culture Shock, Expat Know-How and on Cross-Cultural Training at the Global Coach Center Academy!

Copyright © 2010 by Global Coach Center.  If you’d like to reprint this, please do so but make sure you credit us (with a live link)!

2 responses to “A to Z of Successful Expatriation™: M is for MEMORIES

  1. It’s so true! My expat assignments were incredible in so many respects and I remember them fondly, but not everything during those years was wonderful. I had many frustrating, want to pull-my-hair-out moments (days or weeks), but what I remember are the people, the sights, sounds, colors, food, aromas and education I received from being out of my element.

    I’m always dreaming of finding a new expat assignment and how great it is going to be, but I tell people (and posted recently in my blog) that it was not all wine and roses, but that it’s the good memories that stay with me and cloud the overall experience with happy memories.

    Although I kind of figured I wasn’t the only one, it’s good to know this is just a “normal” part of the repatriation process — no matter how many years it takes.

    One last thing … it looks as though the biggest impression on me was the food. There’s barely a post on my site that includes regular “American Food” fare. Ethnic dishes dominate. 🙂

    I’m happy I’ve found your site and look forward to checking out more of your posts.

  2. globalcoachcenter

    Thanks, Fran, for your comment. Food is definitely a big memory for me too!

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