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Transition Consultants

Knowing the right questions

Asking the right people

Developing a plan

The Greencroft GroupConsidering a move to China?Developing an initial planUseful links and resourcesContact Us

Developing an initial plan..... 


 Assessing your situation:

For a foreign assignment to be successful, two items are fundamental:

  1. Know your family and yourself and your ability to take on large challenges.
  2. Investigate your likely living situation and the culture you will face.
The planning process all begins with assessment  Assessing your current situation versus your new situation is vital in determining how much flexibility will be required. It also identifies gaps and questions you will need to answer.
Your assessment should include the following:  


  • Family
    • Consider family needs in the new location: housing, schooling, new friends, clothing, etc.
  • Financial
    • What will it cost to live in your new location? What is the cost of food, transportation, housing, utilities, etc.? Are there places you would like to vacation, and how often will you travel home? 
  • Job Expectations
    • What will success look like in your new role? What is required to achieve success? How will you be supported in your efforts?
  • Support Base at Home
    • Who will keep you informed of events back home and be there for you when you return for visits or to stay?
  • Ethics
    • How will you determine the legal and ethical requirements of your new culture?
  • Culture
    • What steps can you take to understand the new culture, and do you have a plan to learn the language?
  • Repatriation
  •          What is your plan for when you return to your home country?     


Doing your Research

After the assessment phase, you will have numerous questions. At this point you can do some research online or ask people who are living in the community where you will live. Expatriate associations and Chambers of Commerce are great places to start. People who have lived overseas and returned home will be one of your best sources of information.  


Building your support base at home

Prior to leaving your home country, you will want to solidify your relationships and support base at home  You may need to find someone to take care of your home or rent it out. You will count on friends to email you with news of home, and perhaps provide a place for your older kids stay if they make trips home on their own. For the business person, building support networks of people who will protect their backs and otherwise keep them informed is essential.  


Developing an initial plan 

"If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail," goes the adage. There are those who want to be spontaneous and to simply let China happen to them, but this is not advisable. There will be enough surprises and revisions in your plans within a matter of months to keep the most spontaneous types happy.  To keep it simple, your plan might include the following points:

Engaging the Culture

How will you engage the culture? Books, websites, learning the language and talking with people are good starting points. Plan to get out into the culture and go places where there are no foreigners.  

Family Needs

Locate local medical facilities and doctors and determine what will you do in an emergency. Obtain evacuation insurance. Investigate schools (and their enrollment processes) or home schooling resources, and determine supplies you will need to take with you..  

Building New Support Networks

What is your plan to develop and build new friendships? Joining expatriate associations and language study groups can be excellent starting points. International churches in China are excellent places to find support and develop new networks.

Financial Plans

Research banking options in your new location. You can most likely use your home banking account with the help of direct deposit and ATMs. A budget is important. Anticipate your expenses and have a plan and back up plans.

Monuments, Milestones and Vacations 

Living abroad is an extraordinary experience. Where are some places you want to go and things you will want to do or experience? What will be memorable and important to you in later years?  

Ethics and Morals

If you are a business person, you need a firm understanding of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and access to an attorney to periodically advise you.  

Emergency Planning

            Identify meeting places where family members should go if they get lost, and establish local contacts to call in emergencies. Collect some local phone contacts of people who speak Chinese and can be called day or night in an emergency. Emergency      Evacuation Insurance is essential. Consider how  you would handle evacuation from the country if the need arose.


Much more could be added, but these are good starting points. As you go through this process you will no doubt add other items of specific interest to you.