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What Expats Need to Know Before Returning Home

Expats will have to be prepared for a period of transition when going back to their country of birth, and also consider the following points:

Returning Expats must arrange their return in steps

One of the important issues with going back home is reintegrating into local customs, as this can be just as overwhelming as moving abroad. You should consider your return home as another way of international relocation, as you manage your move in steps and bit by bit rediscover your sense of home. According to medical professional Gwen Sawchuk, the best way is to buy a property back home before moving back, and plan regular visits and holiday’s to build relationships within the local community.

Returning expats may have to deal with jealousy from friends and loved ones

When you go back home, you are likely to have many stories to share with friends and family. They may be a bit jealous of your adventures, though, especially if their lives have not changed much, or was uninspiring during this period. You may overwhelm them with your stories about where you have been and the things that you have done, and you may alienate them or build feelings of resentment. Make sure to find natural conversational openings to share your tales, give the information slowly and respect the feelings of those around you.

Expats going back home will need to control their expectations

In some cases, expats have to return home for reasons outside of their control or because of unexpected career development. Young soccer starlet Jack Harper had to deal with this situation after he fulfilled his dream by joining Real Madrid and moving to Spain when he was 13. When this career path was not bearing fruit, he went back to the UK and at the moment plies his trade in the UK with Brighton. The proactive nature of his choice and willingness to deal with unwanted career developments is a lesson to all expatriates, who must deal with their expectations when going back home. As their surroundings may change dramatically, also career and work-life balance may suffer during a transitional period of time.

Expats going back home should be prepared for the fact that old friends may have moved.

While you plan your return, it may be of some comfort to realize that you are returning to your friends and family. But even if you do choose to go back to your home town you will need to be prepared for the fact that things may have changed drastically while you were gone. Some friends may have moved away themselves, while others may be different in terms of their personal and outlook.  This means that some relationships cannot be restored and others will need to be rebuilt, so keep this in mind when going back home. We must strive hard to ignore the notions that everything will stay the same back home while we were gone.

Returning Expats must be prepared for cultural and political changes

The first time we relocate abroad, there is a strong sense of excitement and wonder. Therefore, we treat even annoying or uncomfortable experiences as cultural anomalies, which helps us to learn and keep a sense of balance. However, this kind of outlook is reversed when we go back home, since we no longer have the illusion of political or cultural differences. It means that we must be ready for cultural and political transitions, while also adjusting our opinions in order to stay positive.

Expats going back home may struggle with slang and daily communication

It may sound strange to think of communication to be an issue for expats, especially as they are returning home, to the country of their native tongue. In spite of this it may be a struggle to understand the common slang words and phrases that entered the lexicon while you were gone. As for this matter, keeping in regular contact with people back home before you move back may help you to get familiarized with new and popular slang words.

Expats returning home should have their career plans in place

We have already mentioned the importance to treat your return home as the process of international relocation, so it is very important that you have the next stage of your career development arranged before you make the move. If you fail to do this, you may find it hard to find work or adapt your business venture while also getting adjusted to a new environment. This is even more important if you have your own company, as you are the only person responsible for making a commercial transition like this work.

Expats returning home should prepare themselves for a new kind of homesickness

Home as a concept is malleable and fluid, that changes as we progress through life. It refers to a location where we look for refuge from the pressures of work, raise our families and share special moments with people that we love. Therefore, while we miss our place of birth and home country when we first relocate, our outlook changes as we live in our new country and make a brand new home. This means that when we go back home as expats, we tend to have to deal with a new kind of home-sickness where we miss the country that we have just left. This can manifest itself in several ways when you are looking for new friends of a certain nationality or try to integrate associated customs where you can. The best remedy is to break this spell and go on a holiday to your second home prior to going back.

Expats returning home should be proactive when attending to financial matters

Returning to your home country is an emotionally challenging experience, and also one that requires many practical steps. You may have been classed as a non-resident for taxation purposes during your stay abroad, for example, so it is very important that you re-register with the relevant bodies when returning home. Especially when it comes to financial issues. It is important as well to be aware of any changes that may have altered the cost of living in your home country, along with increases in property, fuel and such. This will make you able to budget and make plans that make your return a lot easier to manage.

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