We are continually adjusting our identity throughout our lives to change our beliefs, our relationships, interests and our accomplishments, as we make new friends, change jobs, move house, grow older…. When we move to a new country, however, there is a sudden and distinctive break with those situations and people who were important to our self-concept. How you are identified by others will, initially, change drastically as a result of the move. When arriving first at your new destination, very few people – if any- will know anything about you other than what they see in the context within which you meet them, how you present yourself and the labels that are attached to you.
Which label is attached to you?
You may be the new vice- president, or ‘the partner of’, ‘the parent of or even ‘neighbor of’. You may never have thought of your nationality as being part of your identity, but suddenly the locals see you as ‘ the person from country x’, ‘the expatriate’, the immigrant’ or simply ‘the foreigner’. You are the ‘new person’. How you see yourself reflected in the eyes of those you meet at your new destination and even in returning to your home country, will affect your self-image.
Benefits of mobility skills
All this -and much more off course – I notice in my work with expat spouses, repats or expat partners. In an attempt to creating a starting point for you, in my previous blog listed 5 tools to uncover your mobility skills. No matter you arrived 7 weeks, 7 month or 7 years ago at your new destination, discover- or uncovering your mobility skills will be beneficial to you at any of these stages.
Now it’s time for the next step: joining network places where you can meet other global citizens who help you cease opportunities to realizing your international career – by this I refer to a job, enrolling in the course you always wanted to attend, finally having the time to do some voluntary work, or maybe even starting your own business.
About two weeks ago, I attended a really nice initiative showing how (r)expat partners used their transferable skills to support the marketing strategy for an entrepeneur. From their lively presentation as well as thier engagement it clearly showed how much they had enjoyed collaborating in sharing their knowledge and expertise to co- creating the marketing:
For the expat spouses in Eindhoven, ESI is the door to opportunities and to realizing their potential in an international career. It is the plugin to the network and the means of enriching their lives as global citizens.
For the local community, ESI is a driver of change; a channel for communication and collaboration between the international and local residents of the Eindhoven region.
“At ESI Professional Empowerment Program (PEP) we envision a world without borders and a new definition of an international resident of a place. We build communities of empowered people working together to create opportunities for everyone. One way we do this is through Professional Empowerment Program (PEP) teams, designed to connect people who have similar career goals or who want to learn or brush up on similar skills. This year we have successfully facilitated the launch of three PEP teams, driven by the Expat Spouses Initiative Community, for the benefit of our members.
Their goal as a group was to help members acquire or enhance their knowledge and experience in the field of Marketing. The group was connected with, an entrepreneur in their Community, who was looking to improve the marketing strategy for her business, Ecualanda. This entrepreneur was born in Cuenca, a major center of the Panama Hat production in Ecuador, South America. At a young age, she admired the art of weaving toquilla straw hats, which was practiced by people around her. After she moved to the Netherlands, in 2011, she came up with the idea to import Panama Hats. This way Ecualanda helps to maintain the craft, which is part of the national cultural heritage of Ecuador.”
What career do you envision for yourself and where do you need help? Please let us know how we can help you!