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| 2 minutes read

Considering self-talk on the expat experience

I love highlighting the great insights of others and in this case, Orsi Sogor from our London office provides provoking thoughts related to the expat experience.

Orsi is both a Senior Global Mobility Counsellor and a Learning & Development Specialist here at Plus. Her valuable insights are shared with our clients through direct service to them and our internal teams as a trainer. As she read the article, "How To Use Positive Self Talk To Change Your Life," she saw how applicable the insights were to the expat experience. 

Here are her thoughts for expats and those supporting them:

"We often talk about the importance of resilience as a key attribute that enables us to deal with the ever-changing world. Consider relocating to a new country and starting a new role; embarking on such a new adventure will surely test your resilience.

The new environment, new responsibilities, as well as settling all affairs before you leave will increase the degree of subconscious chatter that will either work for or against you. Your brain will have to process a lot of information in a short space of time, and this can get overwhelming at times. The excitement and exhilaration of starting a new chapter can affect your practical thinking, whereas the anxiety and fear of the unknown might exaggerate critical thoughts in your head.

We all have an ongoing internal conversation with ourselves, which influences our mental state. You might not be aware that you are doing it, but you almost certainly are. This is known as self-talk.

Self-talk is important because it impacts how you feel about yourself, how you are viewed by the world and how you interact with others.

So, when you are preparing to head off on your international assignment or start a new life in a new country, ask yourself:

  • Are you aware of the continuous chatter in the back of your mind?
  • Is it helping you or hindering you?
  • How are you influencing or impacting your own expat experience?

Analyse your self-talk:

Your constant inner monologue regarding your ever-increasing to-do-list can influence the way you feel about your upcoming relocation. In the last couple of weeks before such a move, keeping a positive mindset might sound like a challenge but it can make a real difference. If it is indeed too much for you to handle, you need to filter and delegate, and if you can manage, just tell yourself that, it will make you feel more capable.

Replace "What have I got myself into?" with "This is a great learning opportunity that will help me grow both personally and professionally" to remind yourself why you accepted the opportunity in the first place. You can acknowledge both that things are challenging and that you are also more than capable of handling it.

Once you arrive in your new location, you will encounter unusual things. When culture shock hits, remember, you need to be patient. It is different, but you will get used to it. Spend your energy and mental power on learning about the differences rather than worrying about them.

Not knowing the ropes can make you feel inadequate at the best of times, but especially so when you are hoping to make a good impression with your new colleagues and new community. It is important to catch when you are belittling yourself in the back of your head, so you have a chance to turn it into positive self-talk. Filtering your own self-talk will undoubtedly improve the experience you have as an expatriate on assignment!"

Thank you, Orsi!

In reality, we talk to ourselves all the time. We do not usually realize this because it is well hidden behind what we assume to be our normal thinking and mind chatter. Adding to that, we seldom do some real spot checks in self-awareness, so what goes in our head is for most of the time ‘unsupervised’. The idea of positive self talk is simple in as much as it can be deep and far-reaching. It has to do with our sub-conscious mind or to put it in another way, what happens beneath the hood of our normal waking consciousness.


self talk, mental health, stress management, positive thinking, reframing, counsellor, expatriate experience, global mobility, international asignment, insights