Tag Archive for: Moving to a New Country

This article is courtesy of Vivian Chiona and Expat Nest.

What am I doing here?

Have you been wondering how it can be that everyone in your family has settled in abroad, school has begun again, and you feel left behind? Maybe you’re even doubting being in your new location. You wonder how you’ll ever make friends here, real friends, and do something other than playing taxi driver for your kids and making sure your family’s needs are taken care of.

You’re not alone.

Isolation, loneliness and worries about career are the main challenges faced by expat partners. Despite the perks, expat life is not a fairy tale. Tiredness of relatives, relationship troubles, stress, as well as not having a job, can be difficult to navigate at times. The latter is true particularly if you gave up your career for the relocation abroad – after all, our jobs are often a key part of our identity and give us structure, appreciation, results and often. sense of power. That is not easy to replace, especially as it takes time to build up a new life and new friendships abroad.

It is totally normal to feel unlike yourself abroad, while you are adapting to your surroundings. You’re out of your comfort zone! It is a process of rediscovering and recognizing the power you have inside, when the familiar signposts of life back home fall away. However, sometimes we fall into the trap of starting to think we are “useless”, or we compare everything to home.

3 Tips to Start Rediscovering Your Power and Joy Abroad

1. Give yourself permission to have fun
Sometimes when we don’t make money from a job, we might feel we don’t deserve to do nice things for ourselves. You might even feel guilty that your partner is working hard while you do “nothing” (which couldn’t be further from the truth, of course!). Give yourself permission to enjoy life and to feel valuable regardless of whether you have a job and make money or not.

2. Acknowledge yourself
Applaud yourself for the challenging steps you have taken and are still taking. It is no mean feat to move halfway across the world, to rebuild your life and that of your family, to navigate unknown territory, to learn a new language… Most people live their entire life within a 20-kilometer radius from the place they were born; you went much further. Being an expat partner/spouse is also hard work, and you have to shape your own life every day.Acknowledge yourself, not by feeling sorry for yourself, but by recognizing how far you’ve come and by trusting yourself to have the skills and power to make this work.

3. Do things you love
This one may take time to figure out. Maybe you never consciously thought about what gives you joy, about the moments and activities you truly love. Make a list – and include anything from buying a bunch of fresh flowers to brainstorming a new idea. Aim for a minimum of 50 things. Every day, do at least one thing from your “love list”.Go out and experiment with activities offered in your new location. When you do things you love, there’s also a good chance you’ll meet friends who share your interest and passions, and are aligned with who you are.

When you feel uncomfortable because you don’t earn an income, it is easy to forget that you are multi-talented and deserving of happiness. As you grow in confidence and remember that you are valuable, no matter what, you will also begin to see – and enjoy – new possibilities and opportunities within your life abroad.

For information as to how Relocation Africa can help you with your Mobility, Immigration, Research, Remuneration, and Expat Tax needs, email info@relocationafrica.com, or call us on +27 21 763 4240.

Sources: [1], [2]. Image sources: Arnel Hasanovic [1], [2].

Second only to emotional intelligence (EQ), cultural intelligence (CQ) is fast becoming one of the most in demand skills for executives in today’s culturally diverse world of business. The growing need for CQ is just one of the consequences of globalization.

It’s true that companies are setting up more bases in foreign countries than ever. But their own societies are simultaneously becoming more culturally diverse, as foreign citizens migrate in search of better career opportunities and lifestyles. This means that culture is no longer a minor concern for executives. It’s a strategic imperative, and high-CQ leadership is needed to intelligently address this trend. So what is cultural intelligence? And is it possible to develop it in your executive team? The simplest and most used definition was developed by researchers Ang and Van Dyne in 2008, as “the capability of an individual to function effectively in situations characterized by cultural diversity.”

They also suggested that CQ is structured in four dimensions, namely, meta-cognitive, cognitive, motivational, and behavioral CQ. These have been adopted, more or less, in subsequent research and can be summarized as follows. Meta-cognitive CQ is “an individual’s level of conscious cultural awareness during cross-cultural interactions”. Cognitive CQ is “knowledge of norms, practices and conventions in different cultures that has been acquired from educational and personal experiences”. Motivational CQ is the “capability to direct attention and energy towards learning about and functioning in situations characterized by cultural differences”.

Finally, behavioral CQ is the “capability to exhibit appropriate verbal and non-verbal actions when interacting with people from different cultures”. In summary, executives must be aware of cultural differences, understand them, be willing to learn more, and act in relation to that understanding. What the above establishes in no uncertain terms is that CQ is not an innate competency. It can be acquired through training and, most importantly, exposure to the culture in question.

The benefits of increased CQ are becoming more obvious by the day. Most CEOs agree that as technology takes over many traditional business functions, success will be defined by how well people interact with each other. They also agree that diverse management teams foster innovation because they bring important cultural perspectives to the table.

However, differences often breed conflict and companies who fail to foster CQ may find themselves unable to manage that diversity. In fact, CQ and innovation are closely correlated. Consequently, they risk losing their competitive edge and corporate sustainability. According to a survey by the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU), 70% of international ventures fail because of cultural differences. Another source reveals that 90% of executives from 68 countries say that cross cultural management is their toughest challenge.

Culture is becoming so critical to business that in some organisations, astute CEOs are heading up their diversity and inclusion practice groups. It is in every business’s interest, whether they operate locally or internationally, to nurture CQ in their enterprise, especially in their executives and C-suite. If that critical talent cannot be developed in house, it should be acquired externally through executive search.

Michelle Moss is a Director: Assessments at Signium Africa (previously Talent Africa).

Relocation Africa has a diversity training program called The Power of Difference, through which we can assist you with intercultural skills, culture shock, and diversity management, among other themes. If your organization is interested in cultural training, feel free to contact us for more information.

For information as to how Relocation Africa can help you with your Mobility, Immigration, Research, Remuneration, and Expat Tax needs, email info@relocationafrica.com, or call us on +27 21 763 4240.

Sources: [1], [2]. Image sources: João Silas [1], [2].

Earlier this year, in response to our clients request for shorter packages for their assignees, while still maintaining the same high level of service they were used to receiving, we launched our new product – the Integrated Program.

The Program centres around an online portal, through which assignees can access a wealth of information about the cities they’re moving to, as well as information about their relocation. The portal introduces the assignee to their Relocation Consultant and as well as providing them with a secure platform to store any pertinent documents for the assignment.

It also has an easy to follow new 20-step Relocation Overview guide, city guides, and videos. This information can be accessed from anywhere, at any time.

Thus far, the Integrated Program has allowed us to offer even more value to our assignees and business partners, while being more flexible for the assignees, it allows for cost savings for our clients.

Our MD, Rene Stegmann, with the 2019 Cartus Innovation Award.

Our submission to Cartus’ 2019 Global Network Conference awards was a chance for us to summarize the great achievements following on from the launch of this Program. In return, Cartus chose to award us their Silver Supplier Innovation Award at their banquet in Boston, MA in October 2019.

This recognition reinforces our drive to exceed client expectations, and continue innovating in the relocation industry as part of our promise to Embrace the Unknown.


For information as to how Relocation Africa can help you with your Mobility, Immigration, Research, Remuneration, and Expat Tax needs, email info@relocationafrica.com, or call us on +27 21 763 4240.

Sources: [1], [2]. Image sources: [1], [2].

Relocation Africa has some great news to share with all its business partners, clients, and community members.

We are proud to say that we have won Graebel’s 2019 global Superior Quality Achievement Award, which was presented to us at Graebel’s recent Golden Globe Awards in Denver.

The award is given to the partner achieving the highest scores as reported by Graebel transferees (assignees) YTD for the current year. This reflects the effort we have put into ensuring that our clients and assignees receive the highest possible level of service quality across the board, for every assignment.

We look forward to celebrating this award with our entire team, strengthening the relationship we have with Graebel and our clients, and continuing to Embrace the Unknown.

For more information about the Denver, CO awards ceremony, visit Graebel’s website by clicking here.

Feel free to view the gallery from the ceremony below.


For information as to how Relocation Africa can help you with your Mobility, Immigration, Research, Remuneration, and Expat Tax needs, email info@relocationafrica.com, or call us on +27 21 763 4240.

Sources: [1], [2]. Image sources: [1], [2].