Repatriation: Not an Easy Adjustment

While there is great emphasis on the culture shock that expatriates feel when they arrive in the host country, attention should also be given to the experiences that many expatriates feel when they return. Organizational changes, technological advances, turnover of employees, income discrepancies, and a host of other workplace dynamics offer a new set of challenges upon reentry. This, of course, is in addition to the personal reentry of the family to a previous way of life. Preparation for the transition into a native culture is important much like preparation for a transition into a new culture. Communication with support networks remains an essential component to mitigate the culture shock that may exist on either end of the transition process.

Thus, the process of working abroad begins well before departure and well after reentry. On an ex-pat assignment, many times exployees live in “camps” secluded from the rest of the cultrue and develop friendships from closeness and necessity. This protected, small and secure environment is VERY different from the world the family enters back in the US. Adjustment to the pace, new schools, traffic, friends, and daily activities are completely different. Then, there is the emotional adjustment of all of the change including grief, anxiety, stress, feeling alone follow over time. 

Repatriation accorging to Wikipedia:
“Repatriation is the process of returning an asset, an item of symbolic value or a person – voluntarily or forcibly – to its owner or their place of origin or citizenship. The term may refer to non-human entities, such as converting a foreign currency into the currency of one’s own country, as well as to the process of returning military personnel to their place of origin following a war. It also applies to diplomatic envoys, international officials as well as expatriates and migrants in time of international crisis. For refugees, asylum seekers and illegal migrants, repatriation can mean either voluntary return or deportation.”
A few changes to expect and contemplate:
  • Work relationship all new
  • Personal relationship all change
  • Environment
  • Roles in work and family life
  • School changes and new friends
  • Cross/Socio-cultural adjustments
  • Finances
Get emotional help and support from your employee assistance department or seek a counselor to make the psychological adjustments necessary to recognize how to make a new life and comfortable transition. Resilience takes time, and help. Don’t neglect your needs to reconnect and create a new life. 

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Dr. Mike Klaybor

Dr. Mike Klaybor

Dr. Mike Klaybor brings thirty years of experience in practicing counseling psychology with individuals and couples. His approach is cognitive behavioral therapy or CBT. Specific specialties include; anxiety and stress management, chronic pain & chronic illness management, depression, substance abuse evaluations, employee assistance and executive coaching for workplace performance and leadership.