You are going to live as a couple (with or without children) in expatriation in Turkey or you are about to leave, in this country. Congratulation ! Here are some infallible tips for your couple to live the experience serenely … and survive it.
Moments of joy, anger, doubt, disappointment, pride… You have understood that emotion is at the heart of expatriation. So, when this emotion is combined in the plural with all the members of the family, the situation can become complicated. If it is often said that a happy and solid family is first of all a happy and solid couple, and that this must be made up of two happy and solid people, we have said almost everything.
1 – Well prepared, you will go on an expatriation to Turkey
There are several ways to prepare well for an expatriation. First, the administrative preparation: have your visa and a passport valid for a few years, find out about health protection and mutual insurance, where to register the children, if your license is valid, which vaccines to take… It’s tedious but necessary. For peace of mind and to avoid last-minute stress, there is nothing better! Anticipation is key, and often the company lends a hand.
Then there is the cultural preparation. A departure abroad is also a departure from one’s habits, way of life and language. The adventure you are going to live is therefore also cultural. To avoid an – inevitable – shock on site, it is advisable to prepare, read about the host country, watch documentaries or films, meet people, discuss beforehand before the host association if there is has one. Often, companies organize intercultural training or even a “reconnaissance trip” in order to familiarize themselves with the new environment. The important thing here is to share this cultural preparation as a couple or as a family, to discuss your impressions, your feelings. The unspoken have no place before leaving for expatriation. Even if your spouse, follower or not, doesn’t really have any opinions to share, you have to force the dialogue a little.
2- The sensitive (even very sensitive) subjects you will address
It is quite normal to think in advance about the risks of expatriation to Turkey. It is better to think about it before it happens. If you tend to avoid sensitive and angry subjects, this time you have to get started. Sit down with your partner and talk. Enough to ? First, the ins and outs of this expatriation: What does this departure imply for your couple as potential consequences, and even sacrifices (financial, emotional, professional, etc.)?
Another subject must absolutely be discussed as a couple and, ideally, before the big departure: What do we do if things go wrong? What are our priorities? But above all, if we decide to separate, how would we like to live that? The answers are so personal that it is difficult to give you concrete advice. The important thing is to ask yourself these questions in order to decide the bases of your expatriation, as you may have one day decided those of your couple, and even your marriage.
Finally, there are issues around children. Do you want some during the expatriation? What kind of daycare or school should they be put in? Do you choose to leave them in France, and, in this case, how to organize? Such questions require decisions to be made in pairs, and not by one of the spouses on the spot, when the other is working and does not have much time. Remember that all the decisions you make before embarking on the adventure can remove so many thorns from your foot there.
3 – The security of the follower spouse, you will guarantee together
In an expatriation to Turkey, it is rare for both spouses to earn their living in the same way. The balance almost always tips to one side, to the detriment of an accompanying spouse, the one who has agreed to follow the other. The spouse who works abroad therefore has the main salary, health protection and sometimes a retirement fund set up by his company. Not necessarily the following spouse.
From this situation arises a well-known scourge of expatriation in Turkey: financial dependence. And, even more dangerous, economic violence, that is to say the financial influence of one spouse on the other which leads to the loss of autonomy. This is why, before leaving or at the very beginning of an expatriation, your couple must make firm decisions on the situation and the safety of the following spouse: Is there (or will there be) a cash flow on his side? What is his health protection? How does he contribute to his retirement? What is the financial organization of the couple on site (personal account, joint account, etc.)? Remember, just because the spouse has the salary that supports the family does not mean that he has control. You may have sacrificed your professional life to come. This consequence has value. Above all, agree.
To further protect yourself from major disagreements, and even separation, it is also advisable to clarify the status of the couple, namely marriage, and the contract around it. Moreover, the condition of marriage is sometimes mandatory to go on an expatriation for visa issues. Finally, protecting each other also involves making a will with a notary before leaving. The couple avoids any unpleasant surprises and protects themselves.
4 – Communication, you will establish
You are a couple that communicates. Cheer. But be aware that this communication is put to the test during an expatriation, for several reasons. First, because you are going to run out of time. One works a lot, has travel time or multiplies business trips. The other is embarking on a project, does volunteer work, has just landed a local job where you have to prove yourself. Not to mention the time to take care of the children and their emotions. Another reason is the amount of things to say to each other: tell your day, take stock of the worries of everyday life, housing, children, organize the next vacation, etc. There is so much to say to each other! And then, sometimes, you just won’t be able to communicate. Not for lack of time or too much information, but because you are having such an intense experience that you don’t even know yourself what you are feeling or what you are going through. So beyond expressing it…
Do not panic, catch your breath and start by chatting a little every day, by imposing a “quality time” of a few minutes each day, a couple outing each week, regular exchanges during the day via the mobile. By milestone, a climate of confidence should be established. Never forget, communication in expatriation is one of the foundations of its success. No secrets here, you have to talk to each other, exchange, confide, be moved and dialogue.
5 – The moments together, you will live
The whirlwind of everyday life sometimes carries the couple away, whether or not they are expatriated. Allowing time for two is necessary. Getting away from home for a while is known to be good. Children or no children, the issue is the same. In expatriation in Turkey, you are far from your family, your relatives, your culture.
And, even if you have overcome the culture shock and feel good in the host country, never underestimate the moments together. Why ? You don’t know what’s going on in the other person’s head, you may be missing an event or an emotion. The moment for two generally makes it possible to find a balance and solidify the couple. Everyone still has to play the game, but that’s another story. The regularity of these moments is also a key and the nature of these is specific to each couple. In this regard, the concept of love languages can be an interesting way to find the right way to express and experience love and attachment. We let you be the judge.
6 – For each new project, the base you will place
The expatriation in Turkey is going well, congratulations. And then, one day, your spouse comes home with a proposal to transfer to another country, to another continent. He is enthusiastic about the idea, the job offered to him is attractive, the conditions too. Put a HOLA. Even if you have already experienced preparation, departure, arrival, culture shock, logistics, administration, integration… This is a NEW project. Be aware that expatriation has an impact on your life, both depending on the country where you go (it’s not the same to go to Europe than to India), but also according to the periods of life. that you are going through. Living abroad without children is not the same as living abroad pregnant, with young or old children.
And so, every new project requires preparation, even if it upsets your spouse who already sees himself there. Rebelote for the administrative, emotional, cultural preparation and the sensitive discussions of the couple: What are the consequences of this new expatriation in Turkey? What do we do if it doesn’t work? Are there work opportunities for the follower spouse? What do the children think? Of course the financial aspect is important and it goes without saying that a very interesting change deserves all the attention. But leaving the “flower in the gun” on the pretext that we already know the expatriation is not a good idea. Ask yourself, lay the foundations of your project. Be happy and strong above all.
7 – Mutual recognition, you will feel
Thanks. A magic word that we teach children but which has a lot of value in expatriation in Turkey too. Each member of the family experiences an upheaval, more or less strong. The working spouse arrives in a new environment, a new team and faces a new management. It’s hard and he may be hiding it when he comes home at night. Does it absorb some of the stress felt so as not to transmit it? Possible. For his part, the other spouse has agreed to resign or stop a project to follow the other. On site, he organized daily life, accompanying the children in their new life adapted to the new country. Does he feel alone? Possible. The child, he said goodbye to his friends and his grandparents, moved to an unknown city, changed school and language. Does he blame his parents? Possible.
In short, change is not easy for anyone. Being grateful and valuing the efforts of each member of the family can only strengthen the cohesion and the love that we have for each other. “Thank you for accepting to quit to come here” “Thank you for working hard so that we can live this adventure” “Thank you for agreeing to go to school when you don’t know anyone” “Thank you for finding a reliable nanny for our baby” “Thank you for the holidays we have just spent” (…). Empathy and recognition are essential within the home…and especially because you will not necessarily feel them elsewhere.
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