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The Expat Identity Crisis

You were always aware of who you were. In the picture you had of yourself, you were happy, confident, and quite secure.

Then you moved away from all that you were familiar with. Away from your home, your country, your family, the school you attended, the people with whom you socialized, and your job.

And, undoubtedly, the relocation signaled a fresh start. New people to meet, new places to visit, and new adventures to go on. However, you miss all of the aspects of your identity, self-image, and sense of safety, and you feel lost and overwhelmed.

When the dust settles after the move, many expat partners feel this sense of loss. The Expat Identity Crisis kicks in after setting up a new house, sorting the children into their new routines, and making sure that all the essentials are taken care of.

You feel lonely, drained, and very sometimes even powerless when you become completely dependent on your partner-financially and emotionally.

Having been in the same position a few years ago, here are some suggestions on how I overcame feelings of isolation and loss and helped reaffirm my sense of self.

Self-Care- Take the time to look after yourself, your health and wellbeing.

Find and build a community – people with whom you can share experiences, offer encouragement, and feel a feeling of belonging.

Learn or get involved in a hobby or project that you care about. Something that can help you learn a new skill and be more creative.

Organize and take time to talk to family and friends

whenever you can.

Reach out to someone who can help you work through this change, clarify what it is that you want for yourself, and help support you to enjoy your new home.

As an expat, change is unavoidable, but there are so many things to learn and appreciate. It can be a gratifying process if you can learn to enjoy your new home and realise that your home is where your heart is and you are truly yourself.

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