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Adjusting to a new environment

Adapting to a new environment when moving abroad or finding your place back in your home country when your assignment ends is a change than can be challenging. I partner with you through the ups and downs of the expat alignment cycle, so you adjust quicker and smoother to your new environment than you would on your own.

Research and expatriate experience testify to the fact that while each international assignment is unique, there is an identifiable pattern of ups and downs that relocating individuals and families typically go through. This process is often referred to as the expat adjustment cycle.

Like most things in life, it all makes sense in hindsight. It however can be hard to recognize the phases and understand your challenges when you are in the middle of it.

I have lived abroad on and off and gone through the phases myself multiple times. As a high school student I went on an exchange semester, during my studies I've lived  in China and Taiwan for almost 3 years. After graduation I packed a bag and immigrated to Taiwan where I've worked for 4 and half years. When I returned to my home country I struggled to re-adjust and reconnect with old friends and it felt even harder than moving abroad. That's normal!

Does this resonate with you? You don't have to go through this alone. I can help you navigate through the expat adjustment cycle faster and smoother than you would on your own.

Cultural Awareness Coaching
The Expat Adjustment Cycle

​The Honeymoon Phase

Everything is exciting! The strange sights and sounds are enticing and you are an adventurer for even being there! It’s fun to figure out what the food packaging means when the writing is completely unintelligible! You run about your new city being a tourist, taking in the scene, learning a few words in a new language, and posting gobs of photos for your friends and family back home! Moving abroad is awesome!!

The Loneliness

At a certain point, it hits you that you have left your entire social circle and support network at home. It’s hard as an adult to go out and make new friends, especially when you have not had to for a long time. This is the stage where you resign yourself to being more on your own than you are used to until you can tap into a social community in your new home.

The Slump

The buzz wears off. You find it less and less fun to grocery shop buying mystery products. You run out of shampoo or toothpaste, and discover that there’s nothing remotely similar in the new place. You need new clothes and there’s nothing that fits you. Someone was rude, or you just couldn’t convey what you wanted to a vendor because of your limited language skills. You got lost and everyone pointed you in different directions. It all becomes just too much. This sets in around the six month mark. The culture shock took its time to settle in and now all the weirdness is just weird. It’s one thing to go on a vacation to another land and experience all the weirdness as an “exotic other” way to live, but it’s another thing altogether to deal with it on a day to day basis, and never get a break.


You figure out the rules of the new place. You have enough language skills to cope with the most common day to day needs. You’ve figured out how to grocery shop, how to commute to work, where to go out for fun in the evenings. You have made some friends, and have a social life. Sometimes it’s too much fun, and you need to say no to people in order to have some quiet time. Things are good. It all starts to feel kind of normal.


If you have been abroad for some years and especially on successive international assignments, the process of returning home can be as arduous and traumatic as the initial relocation. The home environment to which you are returning may have changed considerably. The frame of reference you have of “home” is not what it appears to be anymore when returning back. You have problems adjusting back to “normal life” again. You have changed, too. Your international experience is perhaps not appreciated to the extent they would expect and people around you have a different reality. It’s a cultural transition again, but on home soil. The reverse cultural shock.

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