The expatriate life cycle
When expatriates arrive in a new country, they go through a series of recognized stages known as the expatriate life cycle. In most cases, they develop new bearings and find a balance that enables them to feel comfortable, if not flourish, in their new country.
The culture shock stage is the most delicate stage psychologically. It begins around three months after settling in a new country.
When expatriates first arrive, they are in the honeymoon period, actively settling in and euphoric about their new discoveries. Once this stage is over, they may feel exhausted, lose confidence in themselves and start having doubts about the project. Symptoms of anxiety can appear (sleeping problems, concentration problems, irritability). These psychological effects can be mild and subside as the person adapts or much more severe, putting the whole project in question.
The culture shock stage is the most delicate stage psychologically.
Finally, returning home remains a difficult period for 70% of people. Expatriation opens new horizons and offers you wildly different and often extraordinary experiences. Combing back to day-to-day life in your home country and company is far from easy. Your experiences abroad are not always listened to, recognized or appreciated by the people you’re reunited with – whether it’s your friends and loved ones or your colleagues and managers.