Whether you call them phases, stages or some other term, there are some typical experiences and feelings that come along with an expatriate assignment for most people. Some articles refer to them as the honeymoon, culture shock, adaptation, and repatriation phases.
This article focuses on seven phases in the circle of expat life, but has some unique names and descriptions that you might not have seen before.
Life is rarely a straight line. Despite my own neurotic push for things to be linear and collated, tidy and neat, most of the time the path we take resembles more of an arc than a line. Life may indeed be a highway, but getting from point A to point B is rarely straightforward. Sometimes you realize that you’ve followed the curve all the way around and you are right back at the beginning. Life as an expat is no different. Most of us follow a curve – if not a full circle – of adjustment, acceptance, settling in, disillusionment and withdrawal. Some of us transverse the circuit once, others go around so many times it’s dizzying. Though everyone experiences expat life differently, there are standout phases of the circle of expat life I think a lot of us recognize.