LET’S PUT OUR ATTENTION
WE HEAR SO MUCH ABOUT THE NEED FOR HIGHLY SKILLED INTERNATIONAL TALENT IN DENMARK. SO, HOW DO WE GO ABOUT FINDING AND THEN RETAINING IT? A DIFFERENT PERSPECTIVE! PHOTOGRAPHS VISITDENMARK - NICLAS JESSEN
TEXT KATHY BORYS SIDDIQUI
W WHEN WE SPEAK
of relocation there are so many aspects to cover, from packing up and moving, to visas, work permits, finding the right schools, and housing, NemID, doctors..… the list goes on and on. BUT there are other, more subtle, challenges relocating Internationals face.
SAME DESTINATION BUT DIFFERENT JOURNEY: SPOUSE/PARTNER SUPPORT E ve n t h o u g h a c o u p l e o r a f a m i ly relocate together the journey of a spouse/partner is very different from the rest of the family unit. The highly skilled and employed international often heads off to work before all the moving boxes have been unpacked (in some cases before they have all arrive) leaving the spouse/partner to “sort things out”, make sure the house is as it should be, the kids are in school, groceries are bought and to make the house feel like “home” again. For those of us living abroad, or moving around, we know that as a spouse/partner we need to feel fulfilled, recognised and to have a purpose. We need to have something that is just ours: a profession, a hobby, volunteering. It can be many things, but it needs to be ours. I firmly believe that moving to a different country is one of the most stressful life events. Why? We leave everything and everyone we know behind. We are faced with new languages, social norms, homes, work cultures, building new networks, friendships. Basically— we are starting from scratch. Additionally, for the spouse/partner it often means leaving their career behind.
PLEASE DON’T GO! The key to a successful relocation is a thriving spouse/partner. How do we achieve that? Here are just a few tips. For the couple moving abroad or currently on an assignment - communication is key. Both partners have to clearly communicate their wants, desires, and vision for the relocation. Talking about issues that come up right away can save a lot of unfulfilled expectations and heartache. For the spouses/partners - this is a great chance to
JULY 2019 - WWW.THE-INTL.COM
KATHY BORYS SIDDIQUI FOUNDER, ACTIVE ACTION Kathy was born in Poznań, Poland and has lived in four countries and on two continents. Growing up as an immigrant and a cross cultural child she was able to discover a multicultural world that shaped her into the person she is today. As an adult she experienced life as a re-pat as well as an expat and she is not a stranger to the
go after your dream, business, hobby, it’s an opportunity to do some of the things you have been putting off. Now, is the time.
that you are not alone, that it is okay to feel mixed emotions, that you will change and, although it may feel that the balance is off, there are tools to help regain it.
FIRSTLY: It is crucial to become Aware of the possible challenges. For employers: See the spouses/partners as an equally valuable asset. Provide workshops and seminars to support the adjustment into Denmark. The challenges are practical and most definitely emotional and cultural. Providing the families and employers with the right tools to support the transition, opening up communication channels between the family members as well as employers is a shared responsibility.
SECONDLY: The important factor here is Acknowledgement. In order to address challenges, we must be aware of their existence. Embracing what is happening to us during a transition is a delicate process and requires support and understanding. Through awareness and acknowledgment, you learn
FINALLY: Action. Taking action is part of regaining balance and reinventing yourself. Finding purpose abroad is one of the bigger challenges. More often than not, reinventing ourselves to become “expat” spouses/partners is inevitable. Being aware that change is a part of international life can prepare the spouses/partners for new opportunities. Focusing on the opportunities instead of losses is another important shift. The experience, skills, and vast multicultural awareness which Internationals possess can be an enormous asset to a company or an organization. The process of transitioning and adapting to a new host country is ongoing and can continue after all of the cultural adjustment phases have taken place. Therefore, having the knowledge and proper tools are essential. THE-INTL
challenges and opportunities that life abroad offers. Just when she least expected it, she met her Danish husband and once again packed her life in boxes and set off to live the happily-ever-after life in the land of the Vikings and Hygge. Over the span of 10 years she has lived on Fyn, in Jylland and currently in Nordsjælland. Kathy has a background in Cultural Studies and also a degree in American Studies. She has been able to combine her passion and profession as a Cultural Transition and Expat Spouse and Partner Specialist at Active Action. A firm believer that if you are lacking something - create it. She is the founder of two International Mom Groups in Denmark, a running enthusiast, active lifestyle advocate, wife and mom. www.activeaction.dk firstname.lastname@example.org