It all sounds exciting as you celebrate your husband's new promoted job; you will all be moving to the middle east: a fresh start, a new adventure, new opportunities. You blindly walk beside your husband and think of the ideal life, yet you haven't given yourself a second thought.
What will you be giving up?
What will you do all day?
Whom will you socialise with?
These questions generally arise after you have moved and can lead to spouses feeling lost and unsupported as their husbands race on into their careers. You don't want to be negative, yet you need to find your feet.
It is essential, as a wife, to plan your life alongside your husband's.
Here are our top concerns & tips on how to improve your expat experience.
1. Culture shock
Culture shock is not on everyone's radar and usually becomes apparent after settling into your new expat country. Things are different.
You can feel that you are an outsider, an expat; even going around the grocery store is different from home. The language they speak is foreign; the way people dress, socialise, specific rules that do not apply at home become stressful to everyday life. Culture shock is all part of being an expat. Eventually, you will come to accept the norms of your new country, but it takes time, and it is indeed without its ups and downs and much confusion.
2. Be Proactive
Your career matters. What you do for a living is important too. Just because your husband is successful and perhaps makes decent money, staying idle will ruin your relationship. Figuring out a job or career move before you go is imperative for your fulfilment. Volunteering or enrolling in an online course are all self encouraging steps.
3. Find a community
Cultivating a new community is a daunting task, yet necessary for connection and a successful expat lifestyle. You most likely have friends and a support system at home. You regularly socialise and feel connected. Your social circle can change rapidly as you move abroad. Expat women can become lonely and isolated as they live such different lives, move around a lot and lose touch with people back home. Joining inter nations, going to networking events and focusing on proactively attending social engagements will help lay the foundations for a consistent and steady community.
4. Mental Health
Taking up a new hobby or joining classes like yoga, meditation, pilates, or even dance classes focuses on self-motivation interaction with locals and other expats while working on overall wellness. Hobbies are crucial to keep depression and isolation from setting in.
Consider even talk therapy (if need be). There is no shame in reaching out for help if you feel you are drowning in your new expat world. It can be challenging, and we all want to strive for glorious years abroad with our husbands. Not fraught with loneliness, depression and isolation.
5. Her Expat Life has a fantastic service
'A week in her life.' You can shadow a fellow expat lady in your new city for a week. She will be your host, guide, and confidant while showing you how to live like a local. This service will ease you into your new expat life and allow you to familiarise yourself with your new home.