Thriving Abroad

In 2017, Louse Wiles and Evelyn Simpson released their book ‘ThrivingAbroad.’ The book is written firstly for the imminent assignee and secondly, for their partner. The book is organized in three parts – 1) Laying the foundation for making the decision, 2) Preparing for the transition and 3) Building a fulfilling life abroad. The authors make use of easily understood case studies to illustrate their points. A framework is presented which illustrates the transitions process.

The illustrated transitions process starts with making a decision and moves on to preparing, relocating, settling in and thriving.  If we compare with the framework offered in ‘A Great Move’, by Katia Vlachos, the Thriving Abroad model recognizes a fifth period post-settling in called Thriving.   At the heart of the framework is YOU and all of your complex dimensions.  This is a bit different than the heart of the Great Move framework which has five principles at it’s heart. Both frameworks recognize that we each have unique situations and circumstances that will affect the transition process.

Let’s zoom in for a few minutes on the transition from Settling to Thriving. Personally, I like to see this transition highlighted as it is subtler than the other segments of an international transition.  It is hard to know when you’ve arrived at Thriving and requires high self-awareness to know what to do to help yourself in the journey to Thriving. It is easy in many cases to view the global transition as complete after Arriving. I thoroughly agree with the authors that there is a final stage called Thriving. The trick is making sure you get to it.

The authors dedicate two chapters to Thriving – one for the assignee and one for the expat partner. The assignee needs to be very honest and proactive about evaluating his/her work situation and even considering what is coming next. The partner also needs to be honest and proactive about considering how their life abroad is serving them. There are typically identity, career, confidence and practical matters to think about. Above all, it is important to have an aptitude for turning challenges into opportunities.

I really find this book helpful to those of us living expatriate lives. Perhaps because the challenge of the arriving to thriving step is personally relevant, I find this part of the book most interesting. Together with the accompanying workbook and the exercises in the book, I highly recommend this book for anyone who is considering, who is or who might be again an expat, to read and use this guide.

Some questions to consider to arrive at Thriving:

  • What is important to you?
  • What gives you a sense of fulfillment?
  • What do you want to get out of your time as an expat?
  • What opportunities can you see or create?

Please share with the readers your thoughts on both the book and on your global transitions. We would love to hear from you!

See you next time!

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