Are you an international living abroad?

A new country often brings about new challenges; learning a new language, adapting to a new culture, and finding your way, while having your safety-net in another country can be challenging.

Why do we move countries?
People move countries for different reasons such as: retirement, work, love, wanting a gap year, following a calling, moving away from something, wanting a new fresh start or simply for economic reasons.

Even though the move in itself is something positive, there can be moments where you feel emotionally not balanced and are looking for ways to calibrate your energy and rediscover your purpose.

Emotional vulnerability
As a newcomer, you’re emotionally more vulnerable because you are away from the social network you used to belong to and haven’t built up a new one yet. You lack a ‘go to’ person.

Isolation and loneliness
Even though you might speak with friends and loved ones on a regular basis, you notice that these friends don’t really know how your new life looks like now, not the deeper level of it.

Feelings of overwhelm
At a certain point, you’ve had enough new input and just want to withdraw yourself.
Besides all the good and positive things that have happened to you, your system has also been challenged and overwhelmed for an extended period of time.

Moving abroad is a big step
As an international living abroad, you’ve moved to a foreign country with a language you might not speak. Where the laws, culture, customs and ideologies are different.

You’re dealing with all kinds of challenges, such as the administrative and financial decisions that come with purchasing a car, property, health insurance, and so on.

On top of that, your support network is in another country. The place you used to call home. Don’t underestimate the leap you’ve taken and how much you’ve moved out of your comfort zone!

Recurring patterns and specific themes

Over the years that I’ve been working with internationals living abroad, I’ve discovered recurring patterns and specific themes that my clients face. Even though each person is unique and so is their situation, there are definitely overlaps in how one feels when going through the different emotions that come with making the move.

Become a thriving international!
For those who want support in recalibrating their emotions and feeling good in their skin, I’m currently opening my doors to help internationals in my community to learn how the phases of cultural transition apply to their life, how to move forward while being emotional out of balance and finally how to find the key to a meaningful and happy life.

Working as a life coach with international people has allowed me to understand “expat needs”. I’m happy to guide you to move through this transition with ease and joy.

The Expat Centre Portugal has been launched to “help international people who live and may also work in the Algarve to build connections and friendships through social meetups and events”. Its main objective is to help both newcomers and long-term residents feel more “at home” in the Algarve with an increased sense of belonging.

By Ria van Doorn
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Ria van Doorn is a life coach for internationals living abroad and founder of the Expat Centre Portugal.