Transitions Part 1

by Lisa Green, Executive Director, LPC- LMHC

I wonder, what happens in your mind and body if you were to think: “I have to move.” (as in move house/country). Does that feel exciting? Do you get a pit in your stomach? A cringe, or shiver of longing? A mix of both?

Transition is ubiquitous for the cross-cultural worker, so common that we tend to forget how taxing it really is. And a transition you essentially must go through even to become a cross-cultural worker is the move abroad- anyone “on the field” has done it, and many of us have done it multiple times, and under a variety of circumstances. And like so many aspects of the cross-cultural life, it is both a normal life experience…. and SO much more. According to some research, a move can be one of the more stressful life events- and that’s in your home context! Add in the intricacies of moving to a country you are not native to, with a family to care for or all on your own, into a new language, perhaps even unplanned or mandated by circumstances, and you get a whole lot of extra stressors to navigate.

You’ve read of Olive Tree’s own international move (we are very much in the middle of it right now), and as we talked about how we wanted to walk through this process ourselves, we thought that this would be a great time to put together some collective wisdom from our personal and professional experiences, to help fellow CCWs to make moves in a variety of circumstances. Over the next two months, you’ll hear from all of our staff counselors about various aspects of moving abroad, with plans and strategies for navigating it well. You can watch the videos together, or individually- and of course, share with people you know could benefit.

We’re looking forward to when our move is completed, and we can begin welcoming you to come see us in Budapest- but in the meantime, we’re in this together, and we’re over here making sure to try to follow our own advice!

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