Online forums offer insight into expats’ issues

Workers far from home ask questions, provide answers based on personal experience
By Shannon Simson
|Canadian HR Reporter|Last Updated: 09/28/2004

For organizations looking to respond to the needs of workers on global assignment, first-hand accounts of real-life experiences posted on Internet forums provide a window on the expatriate employee’s world.

Chris, an expat on one of the Internet forums where employees share their issues (www.expatforum.com), related his experience with the difficulties in adjusting to expatriate life for the “trailing spouse.”

“It is extremely stressful. I speak the language and have some place to be every day, while she feels useless and stupid because she can’t just jump in the car (we only have one car, she doesn’t speak the language and she says she wouldn’t drive even if she did have a car) and run to the store like she could back home. I look at it like it should be a great experience and while it’s not perfect it’s not the end of the world. It seems though that she feels it is and she seems to resent me a little bit for it. Our assignment is relatively short, a total of about 1 1/2 years and we are about halfway through. It is really stressing out our marriage. Any tips on how to get through it?”