7. Please comment on the process of adjustment to a new life and on reaching one’s settlement goals.
During the first few weeks in a new country most individuals are fascinated by the new. They stay in hotels and associate with nationals who speak their language and are polite and gracious to foreigners. This honeymoon stage may last from a few days or weeks to six months depending on circumstances.
Perhaps then you might encounter culture shock, and become hostile to your new country.
In the final stage of adjustment you will accept the customs of the country as just another way of living. You can operate without a feeling of anxiety although there are moments of strain. Only with a complete grasp of all the cues of social intercourse will this strain disappear.
For a long time you will understand what the national is saying, but you are not always sure what the national means. With a complete adjustment you not only accept the foods, drinks, habits, and customs but also actually begin to enjoy them.
When you go back “home” you may even take things back with you and if you leave for good you generally miss the country and the people to whom you have become accustomed.
8. In your coaching program you use an exercise called the “Wheel of Life”. Please tell us more about that.
The wheel of life is a tool used by a lot of life coaches; it shows on paper how happy the client is with each aspect of their life, their Career, Friends and Family, Fun, Health, Finances and Relationships. By scoring from 1-10 each aspect of their life they can see on paper what aspect of their life they need to work on to make them have a more fulfilling life.
You tend to find that clients who want to emigrate will grade themselves low in most sections, but when you ask them what the wheel will look like when they emigrate they grade themselves much higher.
However, a lot of people who emigrate without fully investigating their move first, find that there is a reality gap, and that they did not for example realise how important Friends and Family were to them before they left. Or their job or business didn’t turn out to be as great as they thought.
9. Please comment on some of the practical issues involved in emigrating, e.g. jobs, housing, schooling, legal and insurance matters, etc, and how to deal with them.
I’m not really qualified to comment on these factors apart from the fact that I ask the client to consider these aspects and where they would obtain the answers to them.
10. Please comment on some of the psychological factors involved in emigrating, e.g. culture shock, language and cultural hurdles, isolation from loved ones, etc and how to deal with them.
Culture shock is caused by the anxiety that results from losing all familiar signs that you have been previously been used to seeing.
Perhaps the “rules” in a country such as Tibet can be seen to be different. But what you may not understand is that other countries that seem the same, such as Australia or New Zealand do have completely different rules.
When you emigrate you enter a strange culture, where some or all of the familiar cues are removed. You may therefore feel like a fish out of water. A feeling of frustration and anxiety follows this. People react to the frustration in much the same way. First they reject the environment that caused the discomfort: “the ways of the country are bad because they make us feel bad”.
Another phase of culture shock is regression. “Home” suddenly assumes a great importance, everything becomes glorified, all previous difficulties and problems are forgotten and only the good things back home are remembered. It usually takes a trip home to bring you back to reality.
You can suffer culture shock in your own country from having to associate with different people from differing backgrounds, multiply that feeling and you might have an understanding of feelings of culture shock whilst abroad.
11. Please comment on some of the common mistakes people make when emigrating.
People basically are blinkered; think that just by moving then their life will be better. Furthermore they do not seek help, mainly because they don’t want to think that their dream is in fact not right for them. So they take a leap of faith.
Provided that people are aware of the potential pitfalls, and are able to plan and accept that everything will not always be hunky dory then they are more likely to be successful.
12. What are some of the key factors involved in “creating a life you love”?
The basic key factor is to create a life for yourself that is in line with your values. For example, if you value freedom and create a life for yourself so that the freedom you crave is absent then you will not be happy. On the other hand if security is a value you treasure then moving abroad without a plan will also make you unhappy.
You must also have goals, regardless of whether you intend to emigrate or not. Goals lead to personal satisfaction when you achieve them, and also provide a marker to indicate that your life is improving and you are closer to creating a life you love.
Thank you, David, for sharing your knowledge on the topic of expatration coaching and the critical decision as to whether to move abroad or stay put.