The life cycle of expatriation

Expatriation leads to encounters with a culture, an environment but above all a different way of life than that of our country of origin. Black and Mendenhall’s theory has shown that, during his stay abroad, the expatriate goes through a cycle of four to five phases, punctuated by pleasure, doubts and sometimes even discouragement. Mondassur introduces you to these different phases traveled by the expatriate. Think that for a serene expatriation, it is strongly advised to take out expatriate insurance.



Upon arrival individuals are usually in a euphoric state of mind. Through the superficial discovery of their new environment, it is essentially feelings of excitement and wonder that the expatriate feels.

How to live the honeymoon? Take the opportunity to meet other expatriates who live in the same city to know their tips and tricks (nurseries, schools, sports clubs…) and rest.

Crisis phase – culture shock

It is then by becoming aware of the contrasts between the two countries that the newcomer is exposed to situations that destabilize him. This disorientation can, in some cases, lead to feelings of frustration, anxiety that can have significant psychological or physical repercussions.

How to live the awareness? Be patient because you have to go through it anyway. Keeping a diary to file your feelings, doubts, a review of what you have left and loved can help you take a step back. Later, when you read the first pages, you’ll be able to measure and appreciate how far you’ve come. Don’t hesitate to share your doubts and impressions with other expats who must have felt the same emotions as you.

Adaptation phase

Faced with this, the individual must be able to accept reality and assume his new status as a foreigner. Once these changes are accepted, a gradual improvement will be observed in the expatriate whose personal satisfaction will then allow him to reach the stabilization point, otherwise known as the “adjustment phase”.

How to live the adaptation? Build your projects, advance your goals. It’s a new phase of your life that’s starting.

Integration phase

After this more or less long period, the expatriate is now comfortable in his new environment and has more confidence in himself. He can then benefit from his successful expatriation.
The latter therefore represents in most cases a difficult emotional and intellectual experience that essentially depends on the person and his faculties to adapt to the new situation. However, preparation and support, both family and professional, in any case, promote the achievement of the various objectives set.

Cultural backlash phase

The end of the mission and the return to the country of origin are also a crucial step in the expat’s life cycle. At this stage, two pitfalls must be avoided: haste in decision-making to “leave your mark” before you leave or, on the contrary, dodge any important decision-making on the pretext of an upcoming departure. On return, the reverse process begins and, depending on the duration of the expatriation, rehabilitation to the country of origin is necessary.
This is referred to as a “cultural backlash” to refer to this critical phase, often experienced as one of the first sources of dissatisfaction on the part of expatriates.

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