Thinking about going home? We have put together a handy list of three challenges every expat encounters when repatriating abroad and how to overcome them.
1. Reverse culture shock
Many people expect the culture shock that comes with moving abroad. It can take months to overcome language barriers and social differences while dealing with separation from family and friends. However, reverse culture shock, which can follow repatriation, may come as a surprise.
Things that were once familiar might seem unusual. You may have to reacclimatise to a warmer/colder climate and your friends and family members could be in different places in their lives.
The important thing to remember is that it’s normal to feel disconnected when you first return home — but that feeling will pass. Staying in touch with the latest news from your home country in the weeks leading up to moving home can help, as well as saying a proper goodbye to your adopted nation.
2. Logistics of relocation
While there are more processes involved in emigration than repatriation — given that you won’t have to consider things like visas or healthcare when you return home — there is still plenty to think about and organise.
Packing and transporting your belongings, selling your foreign property, purchasing or renting accommodation for your return and finding employment should all be priorities. Planning your repatriation well in advance and tackling one stage at a time can make it more manageable and less stressful.
Friends and family may also be able to help ease your transition, perhaps by utilising their business contacts or viewing properties on your behalf. The relationships you’ve made in the country of your emigration may also be beneficial, particularly as locals will be able to give you specialist insight into areas like the domestic housing market and removal firms.
3. Repatriating your funds
After spending a prolonged period abroad, you may have built up savings in a foreign bank account. You may also have the proceeds of a foreign property sale to manage. Taking the time to look into your options when it comes to moving these funds home can leave you thousands better off, so it pays to be proactive.
While you can use your bank to manage this kind of transfer, reputable currency brokers are able to secure competitive exchange rates and give you access to specialist services. One such service is the option of fixing a favourable rate up to two years in advance of a trade. As exchange rates are highly volatile, having the chance to lock in a rate when it moves in your favour means you can maximise your money when it’s time to move it home.
Additionally, currency brokers don’t charge the transfer fees levied by most banks, so you’ll see even more savings — which makes returning from abroad that little bit easier.
For further information on repatriating funds, head to Expatica’s Currency Zone.