A comprehensive book of common sense advice for women abroad.
Women who have left behind everything they know to move abroad find that many of the ordinary difficult issues women face throughout their lives are even more challenging when they come up in an unfamiliar country. This is a practical, thorough resource for women who find themselves far away from their usual support networks when life happens. The book addresses specific questions drawn from real expatriates about transitioning abroad, relationships, children, careers, addiction, divorce, infidelity, family back home, loss and repatriation. The topics are primarily applicable to trailing spouses, who make up the majority of expat women. I am not a trailing spouse or a parent, so I felt that a lot of the book did not resonate with my own experiences as an expat. However, I would recommend this book without hesitation to someone moving to a drastically different place with their family.
The advice in this book pretty much boils down to: do your homework, stay busy, and communicate with your partner. It is vital to research your new location as much as possible. Make sure you are informed about all of your options before making tough decisions or going home. Many expat women feel a loss of control over their lives, especially if they do not speak the local language. They may struggle to find a sense of purpose in a new place if they are not able to work and have not yet found new social networks and responsibilities. The authors suggest that many problems faced by expat women, especially those who are accompanying partners, can be combated by being proactive about changing uncomfortable circumstances and by seeking out others in similar situations.
The writing style is professional, while still being sympathetic. The authors are careful to address sensitive issues respectfully and most of their suggestions are practical. They talk through the options and recognize that there is not always just one answer to complicated issues. There is an extensive list of resources at the back of the book, and many suggestions for ways to find support networks in a new place. It is a useful reminder of the need to amass contingency plans and information in the event of an emergency. It may be helpful to read through the level-headed assessment of options in the relevant chapters of this guide if you are feeling emotional or stressed about a big decision.
I received an e-copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review
Have you ever endured a major crisis when you were far away from your usual support network? How did you handle the practicalities and the emotions of the situation?