Today, Nextpat launches a series of articles regarding “MOTIVATORS for COMING HOME.”
What made you return home? What factors did you consider? What has been the fallout of that decision? Have you faced pushback due to your decision? Have you reconsidered based on this pushback?
I’d love to hear which of the below factors you considered in your journey home. How has that impacted the actual transition and focus of your transition?
In our follow up articles, we’ll discuss common challenges people face when coming home for the reasons described below. We’ll also explore ideas to mitigate those challenges. Let us know if there is something you are particularly interested in!
10 REASONS PEOPLE COME HOME:
Find a Partner: Dating overseas can be hard! You may not find someone who gets the same cultural references, or you might want to return home in the long run, or you find long-distance to be equally hard as dating someone local. If you want to find a partner, coming home might be a reasonable option. Home ensures a pool of people with a similar background, who understand your culture. And, if you want to head back overseas, you can likely find that too!
Reconnect with Family and Friends (loneliness), Put Down Roots: Some families may want their children to have a close relationship with grandparents, which can require proximity. Maybe you just want to have friends to go to brunch with and concerts. Sometimes being overseas feels like all your friends are expats simply because you are foreigners, not based on common interest. Coming home can give you freedom to find the common interest friendships again. For some putting down roots might also be about establishing a home – something that transience can often challenge.
Eldercare: Nextpat will explore this in a two-part series later this year. Many people return home to take care of parents or grandparents. There are tons of eldercare resources out there. Nextpat will specifically explore how to manage the repatriation or taking your family abroad aspect of eldercare.
Save a Relationship: Marriages and partnerships grow in different ways over time. Being overseas can bring stressors to a relationship, such as:
--impact on a partner’s career
--how frequently one partner supports family events
--ability to attend after-school activities
--long-distance experiences resulting in differing growth
To help support the marriage, some couples may choose to return to their passport country where family and routine help re-establish a baseline. Nextpat specifically supports this type of reintegration through workshops on how to approach intimate conversations. Reach out to us directly if you are interested.
Get Citizenship Status for a foreign spouse: Perhaps you found a spouse overseas and need to return to get them citizenship status. This can put different strains on the relationship, including:
--navigating home as a couple
--introducing the individual to your way of life, friends, etc.
--pursuing common goals inhibited by how long the residency requirements are
For ideas about how to find community, a critical supporting structure to marriage, see our thoughts on navigating race as an intercultural couple. The articles suggestions are universal.
Start a Family: Some couples choose to return to their passport country to start a family. This can be to ensure childcare in their native language or to ensure access to grandparents.
Find a Different Place to Work/Retire/Resign: Returning to your passport country with an organization that will move you is often a choice before changing jobs or retiring. Some people also seek to return to their passport country to set themselves up for a job search. Navigating job vacancies in a native language and familiar business culture can be easier than in a foreign one. In addition, if you are resigning for a new position, you may want to get the relocation package with the company that sent you overseas.
Prioritize Family (especially younger children): This reason encompasses some of the ideas in saving a relationship and starting a family. People may want to spend more time with their kids when they are young and will form a lot of their basic memories. Some people want their kids to have access to family and friends from their own childhood. Some folks may want access to sports or other extra-curriculars unavailable at certain overseas locations.
Prepare a child for College (high school in the U.S.): Conversely, in order to prepare for University, many families return to the U.S. for their children’s high school years. Such a move can support high school students’ college applications through the same academic and extracurricular activities other competitive high schoolers participate in. In addition, it gives children four years with one class to develop strong friendships and interpersonal skills.
Involuntary Return (Medical/Traumatic Evacuation or Departure due to Violence): There is a lot of research on involuntary return and its psychological impact. Nextpat does not have staff psychologists, but recognizes the trauma of not closing out your overseas experience in the way you intended. Unforeseen circumstances can catch any of us. If you’ve faced any pushback from such a return, I welcome insight into your story. At this time, Nextpat is unlikely to do a follow up on this topic, but welcomes dialogue on this crucial issue.