International Lifestyles: Returning to Your Home Country After an International Life

. 4 min read

After living abroad for an extended period of time - be it several weeks, months, or even years - you might have mixed emotions on your return journey home.  When you arrive home after a long time away, you may find the people and places you left seem drastically different. On the other hand, your worldview may have changed, and the people at home may seem different than you remember.

Every snowflake is different, and every journey they take from the cloud to the ground unique. Similarly, your travels overseas and back are different from that of anyone else. You might be a contract consultant with an set of  in-demand skills which are lacking in other countries. You may be a corporate executive, government employee, or university professor finishing up on a secondment or assignment abroad. Or a retiree whose dream of retiring in a seaside village didn't work out as planned.  

You can go home again, but don't expect everything to be exactly the way you remember it.

Expatriation Culture Shock < Repatriation Reverse Culture Shock

If you've been away from your native country for an extended period of time, there may be just as many (or more) logistics to prepare for before you go home. The lives of friends and colleagues you remember from before your departure have gone on a journey separate from yours. Reverse culture shock is common for "boomerang expats" who may find they can't find anyone to adequately share their experiences with, or they can't apply their newfound perspectives or experiences once back home.

The cultural influences of your life abroad may have convinced you that coffee is a better way to start your day than tea. You may carry on using the lingo of saying "whilst" instead of "while", or "arvo" instead of "afternoon" if you lived in Australia for a few years.

Tina says goodbye to Sydney

The Repatriation Story of an XExpat

Speaking of Australia, XE's Vice President of Global Marketing, Tina Cleary, recently experienced some of the trials and tribulations of moving back to the UK from Australia after about eight years in Sydney.

Tina said of her repatriating experience,

"It’s just amazing to me how our life evolved since arriving in Australia just 8 years ago.We came here as a couple, and leave with two girls, a dog, new career paths, a dog, and a house. We made the most beautiful friends in Sydney - people that really treated us like family - invited us over for Christmas, looked out for us, and supported us when we needed it. They provided such a warm welcome in the community where we lived.  I am really going to miss the friends we made.  
Of course, with a move back to the UK, I certainly feel excited to see everyone and reconnect with my mother country. Although, you never know how much your old friends have moved on, or will we slot back in as if we never left? Admittedly, I'll miss the weather in Sydney too.
It will be an adjustment, with new routines, moving into a new house, and getting set up with banking and the usual utilities, whilst taking on a new job.  Of course, I can’t wait to have the girls and my husband join me in the UK.  It’s going to be a roller coaster I’m sure. But I imagine settling in will be easier returning home rather than getting accustomed to an entirely new country."  

Repatriating Your Money After Repatriating Yourself and Your Family

If you've accumulated a significant amount of savings in the country to which you migrated, returning your funds to your home country bank needn't be as complicated or as costly as you might think. An online international money transfer service provider like XE doesn't incur the punitive fees banks charge, and could save you thousands of dollars.  

You don't need transfer all of your money at once, such as if you have left-over salary payments from your employer, or proceeds from the sale of your home. Instead, you can lock in a favourable rate with a a forward contract*, and mitigate the impact of fluctuations in the exchange rate on your savings.

Are you planning on repatriating to the country you were born, or where you spent a significant part of your lifetime? You'll likely take the time to pack up your fragile posessions in bubble wrap or packing peanuts. You'll hire a professional relocation company to transport your furniture and other belongings back home. You'll choose the safest, most convienient routes to fly, take a train, or drive back home. If you go to great lengths to ship your "gear" and yourself to your home country, why wouldn't you choose XE to get your hard-earned money there too?

Open a free XE Money Transfer account now, and discover the difference               XE-perience makes.

*-Definition of a forward contract