Page 18

18

THE STAY-AT-HOME NINJA A CELEBRATION OF THE EXPAT SPOUSE AND PARTNER – PART 1. PHOTOGRAPHS ISTOCKPHOTO

TEXT KATHY BORYS SIDDIQUI

“68% O F E X PAT R I AT E D E M P LOY E E S A R E M A R R I E D. ”

KATHY BORYS SIDDIQUI FOUNDER, ACTIVE ACTION

NetExpat/ EY 2018 Relocating Pa r t n e r s u r v e y

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 kid 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

MANY OF US have been faced with the question of moving abroad - relocating - and many will be faced with it again. Expats, Global Nomads, Internationals, for many, moving around has become a way of life. Yet, a recent NetExpat/EY 2018 Relocating Partner survey reports that the happiness of the Expat Spouse/partner needs to be improved. So, what's missing?

TO WORK OR NOT TO WORK…? Sometimes this is a question that an expat spouse and partner needs to answer and discuss with their family. Now, there may be various reasons for doing so, but one thing is clear, not every expat spouse/partner is looking for a full-time job. Each person, couple and family is unique and life circumstances surely play a role when deciding what is right for them. As expats we may find that over time we are all of the following: dual-career oriented, stay at home parent, focusing on our own needs - further education, language education, developing passions and hobbies or self-employed, to name a few. The expat spouse/partner is often expected to jump into the workforce. Not everyone relocating has a job at the top of their to-do-list, and there is nothing wrong with that. Providing support for the spouse or partner often entails intercultural training, career and job search training, language support, work permit support, and so on. That is a great base. However, through awareness and open communication, a clear understanding of the spouse and partner’s needs can surface. Those needs can change over time but it is crucial that they are heard and acknowledged. “The spouse or partner supports not only their other half but also the employer. The working spouse/partner is able to be a valuable employee, in a large part, because of the work they do at home to make sure things are running smoothly," Elisha Wakefield, an American expat spouse tells me. Denmark has a strong work culture, and it can be frustrating and intimidating to be on the other side of the spectrum.

FEBRUARY 2019 - WWW.THE-INTL.COM

The spouse/partner that chooses to stay home wears many hats every day and contributes greatly to the new life. First and foremost, they are the ones running the show. They are the ones taking care of all formalities, smoothing out the wrinkles, taking care of everyday life tasks, drop off, pick up, decorating the house, chauffeuring, going to municipalities, calling plumbers… Some non-expats may claim, they do the same. However, living in a new country, with an unfamiliar surrounding, culture and foreign language can be quite a challenge, but the spouses/partners keep going. Nevertheless, after the dust settles it is obvious that they can benefit greatly from focusing on their own needs and goals. Finding purpose and a sense of belonging is immensely important for the spouse/partner. This is also their time, a chance to pursue an interest, to be creative, to be active in which ever way they choose. The spouses/partners is the driving force at home and they deserve to be recognised and appreciated for their efforts - many are even highly educated professionals. The well-being of the spouse/partner is key to successful relocations, and only through awareness and open communication can we bridge this gap. THE-INTL

expat and she is not a stranger to the 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 lack-

“ 8 3 % O F I N T E R N AT I O N A L CO M PA N I E S F E E L T H AT S P O U S E A N D PA R T N E R

ing something - create it. She is the founder of two International Mom Groups in Denmark, a running enthu-

CO N C E R N S H AV E A N I M PA C T O R S I G N I F -

siast, active lifestyle advocate, wife

I C A N T I M PA C T O N T H E I R A B I L I T Y TO AT -

and mom.

T R A C T F I R S T C H O I C E C A N D I D AT E S TO

kbs@activeaction.dk

T H E I R I N T E R N AT I O N A L A S S I G N M E N T S . ”

www.activeaction.dk

- N e t E x p a t / E Y 2 0 1 8 R e l o c a t i n g Pa r t n e r s u r v e y

Profile for The International Denmark

The International - February 2019  

February is Valentine month! So it's only fitting how full my heart is from all the new connections myself and the team have made. We got th...

The International - February 2019  

February is Valentine month! So it's only fitting how full my heart is from all the new connections myself and the team have made. We got th...

Profile for the-intl