If you have been living abroad, and plan on bringing family over, whether it be a spouse, sibling or parent, it can be both exciting and stressful. Just as you probably had issues adjusting to your new home, it will probably be the same for your family members. Here are some tips for the transition as smooth as possible.
Do Your Homework
If you are trying to get family to come abroad to join you in your current country of residence, make sure you do your homework about requirements, necessary documentation and the like. This process can sometimes be quite lengthy even when executed perfectly, so mistakes will just further delay things. The rules vary significantly between countries; for example, if you are living in the US, you can only get a green card for a sibling and other types of family if you hold U.S citizenship yourself; if you just have a green card, you could not sponsor their application. There are lots of organizations that offer assistance in these matters, and it would probably be a good idea to pay them for their help.
Easing Concerns and Fears before the Move
Moving to another country with a completely different culture is exciting in many ways, but it can also be scary. And this may be even more the case if your family member is not really coming over ‘’willingly.’’ It is important to not just brush off their concerns and try to put a super-positive spin on everything.
Listen to their concerns and fears, and don’t invalidate them. Do everything you can to help give them some more peace of mind. For example, you might let them know about specialty markets where they can pick up familiar foods from home, or clubs or organizations where they can meet people from similar backgrounds. Send them any information you find.
Be proactive in addressing their concerns. Ask them if there are any specific questions they have, and do your best to get them the information for which they are looking.
Easing Concerns and Being Patient with the Adjustment Period Fears before the Move
If you are expecting your family to take to their new home like a fish to water, you may be in for a deep disappointment. This adjustment period is a very individual thing. Some people fall in love with their new surroundings right away, while others take a while to warm up will eventually settle in for many.
It is typical for many to go through a ‘honeymoon’ phase, followed by a period of frustration as everything new and different slowly becomes bewildering and frustrating. If you have been in the country awhile yourself, you may have forgotten you went through the same thing, and you may find it difficult to be patient during this time. Your loved ones may be excessively negative about the culture, and constantly compare it to home. It is important to find that balance between letting them vent their frustrations, and trying to steer them in a more positive direction. Try to pay them some extra attention, and make time to do the things they enjoy, and make them happy.