The Challenge Of Living Abroad - And Coming Home
Many executives have experienced the combination of anticipation and anxiety as they prepare for a posting abroad. What many executives fail to anticipate is the culture shock they experience on returning home. Cross-cultural specialist Craig Storti addresses these experiences in a clearly written book called The Art of Coming Home.
Home as a Foreign Country
Anyone who has lived abroad for any amount of time - even as short as one year - will understand the adjustment that coming home requires. "While you may recognize some of the features of home, you will find others surprising, offensive and even shocking," explains Storti in The Art of Coming Home.
The reason: When people find themselves in a foreign country, they gradually establish a few routines to make their lives more predictable and controllable. As this process occurs, Storti writes, "you begin to get used to more and more (but not all) of the unusual behaviors and living conditions you find around you. In the case of the behaviors, you even start to adopt a few."
"What happens, then, when you come home?" Storti continues. "Wherever you turn, you are confronted by behaviors and circumstances that now seem as different to you as many of those you encountered when you first arrived abroad."
One of the keys to successful reentry, explains Storti, is to adjust your attitudes and expectations. In other words, be ready to be surprised. Storti also shows what friends and family can do for the returning expatriate.
The book also covers other facets of coming home - for example, what organizations can do for returning employees; and how parents can help younger children and teenagers adapt to the return home.
Why Soundview Likes This Book
The Art of Coming Home is typical of the titles published by Intercultural Press, a small Maine publisher that specializes in authoritative, how-to guides on cross-cultural relations. Any person facing the prospect of coming home from abroad would do well to start with this title. Then, request the Intercultural Press catalogue for more detailed guides on specific countries.