The Greencroft Group LLC

Transition Consultants

Knowing the right questions

Asking the right people

Developing a plan

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A Big Decision 
 
Taking on a foreign assignment should never be done lightly. For those who have never lived abroad, it is easy to romanticize the experience and get caught up by travel pictures. In reality, for the first time expatriate living in another country is a major change and hard work. That said, many who have done so successfully have been invigorated by the experience and would jump at the chance to do it again. 
 
Here are some simple initial questions you should think about prior to considering a foreign assignment:
 
1. Immediate Family Needs:
What are the needs of my family? Are their health issues requiring special care, and if so, is care available in the place where i will live? Can these needs be met through periodic home visits, or do i need to be close to a facility that will provide care?
 
2. Extended Family Needs:
Do I have aging parents or family members that depend on me for care? Can others fill this role? (Too often these needs can become a huge distraction and financial burden if they require frequent trips home.)
 
3. Emotional and Mental Health:
Do I or my family have any unresolved emotional or mental health issues requiring ongoing care? How emotionally flexible are my family members and I to take on this challenge and dramatic change? Do we have an adequate family support network to assist? 
 
4. Financial Requirements:
What are my current financial liabilities, and will my foreign assignment allow me to meet my obligations in my country of origin as well as my new location?
 
These questions are highly simplified but provide a starting point for you to consider whether a foreign assignment is right for you. Less than ideal answers to any of these questions do not neccessarily mean you should say "no" to the assignment. They may simply indicate you need to do find a way to answer the challenges presented. In some instances you will need to consult professionals such as financial advisors, doctors or mental health professionals to adequately answer these questions for you and your family.