Where is home?

Münster

Münster

If you are an expat, then you will have heard this question: Where is home? A question that many expats will also often ask themselves. Especially if you have moved many times.

 

The typical summer of expats

It’s that time of year again. Schools are finally ringing their last bell for the summer, cheerful students are sprinting out of their classrooms and into their parents’ cars. Flights have been booked for a time back home. Your suitcases are packed, filled with presents from your host country, which will be replaced later with essentials that you bring back from your home country.

The summer of expats – often a time to reconnect with your home country, family and friends!

The first contact with your home country sometimes already starts at the overseas airport. At least for me it often does. I am at the San Francisco airport checking in for the Lufthansa flight to Frankfurt/Germany. Half the people who are waiting in line are Germans. I know that since I see their German passports, hear the German language or even spot them because of their looks, clothing (Jack Wolfskin jackets are a favorite), shoes, glasses or haircuts. Most of them are tourists, reluctantly leaving behind an adventurous vacation in California.

My vacation is just about to start. Continue Reading →

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Culture shock examples – funny to weird to sad stories

Pelican Inn near Hwy 1

Pelican Inn near Hwy 1

To show you that culture shock happens to every expat, I have compiled a list of culture shock examples from other expat blogs.

Imagine for a moment that you just arrived in a country far from home, not knowing the country’s customs, culture or language. The wheels of the plane touch down and the feeling of exhilaration vanish to a moment of panic. What should you expect? How should you behave?

Anyone just arriving in a foreign country is unsure of how to behave in this new place. The whole experience can be daunting and overwhelming. The first few months abroad can be a real emotional roller coaster!

People refer to that phenomenon as culture shock: being uprooted and feeling disoriented in a foreign culture. Everyone will experience it to some degree. Initially these experiences might be upsetting, but after a while you will hopefully regain your sense of humor and will start laughing about your mishaps and misunderstandings. Continue Reading →

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Preventing homesickness: 20 tips before moving to a new city or abroad

The old and the new Bay Bridge

The old and the new Bay Bridge

Preventing homesickness? Is that possible? Not completely, but you can definitely reduce its intensity when you follow these tips before the moving van stops at your doorstep.

I have always been an adventurous person, who enjoys traveling and exploring the world. I was never homesick before I moved to the US! It didn’t cross my mind that something like this could happen. But it did. And I suffered from homesickness for several months.

Like myself, many people often get caught off guard by homesickness. It can creep up at any time, and effects children and adults alike.

Homesickness is a normal reaction to the adjustment to a new environment and due to missing the familiar at home.

So even if you think you are immune to homesickness, it can still hit you unexpectedly. It might not happen right away, and it could be several months before you feel it. Continue Reading →

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What are the top 5 positive thinking apps?

Oakland hills

Oakland hills

App Guide: The top 5 positive thinking apps (Hint: The very first one on this list is the one I use)

With so many free and low-cost apps available, it is easy and fun to be more engaged with your health. I selected the following apps for you based on their potential to help you develop a positive mindset. If you have read some of my posts, you will have noticed that my mantra is POSITIVE PERSPECTIVE. A positive perspective can be acquired in many different ways. Some ways are:

– exercise

– gratitude journal

– replacing negative thoughts with positive thoughts

– relaxation

– meditation

A positive state of mind will support your overall well-being and will help you reduce the feeling of homesickness. With my positivity philosophy in mind, I picked these 5 positive thinking apps. Additional factors I considered in selecting these apps are affordability, format, accessibility and ease-of-use.

Together, this collection represents a range of helpful apps that are successfully designed to help you live a positive, less homesick life. (Remember, the first one I regularly use myself) Continue Reading →

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Effects of culture shock – the good and the bad

Lake Temescal

Lake Temescal

Every expat knows about the negative effects of culture shock: frustration, loneliness, homesickness,…

Have you thought of the positive effects of culture shock?

 

Finding your life’s treasure

Santiago, a shepherd boy from Andalusia, has a dream about finding a splendid treasure close to the Pyramids in Egypt. One day, he meets a gypsy woman and an old king who advise him to follow his dream. “To realize one’s Personal Legend is a person’s only obligation,” the old king tells him.

So Santiago sells his sheep and sets foot on an adventurous journey that takes him to countries far away from home. His journey is not easy, since he is struggling with the foreign language, different culture and customs. Continue Reading →

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What expats ought to know about culture shock stages

Bolinas Ridge Trail

Bolinas Ridge Trail

Do you remember the day you stepped out of the plane and for the first time set foot in a country far away from home? I do! Then you might remember as well the challenges you had to face in the first year abroad. Discover with me the culture shock stages.

 

Atlanta, here I come!

After a long flight and happily humming Reinhard Mey’s song “Über den Wolken muß die Freiheit wohl grenzenlos sein”, I started my American adventure in sunny and hot Atlanta. I was fresh out of college in Germany. Continue Reading →

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