Living as an expat: de-stress your move abroad with EAP
06 March 2019
You’ve taken the plunge, packed up and moved to another country. That fantastic career opportunity materialised and the lure of working overseas was just too strong to resist. You’re full of anticipation, because life as an expatriate promises to be exciting, inspiring and full of wonderful opportunities.
Welcome to the expat life.
What are the main expat challenges?
Everything sounds very positive, however it would be unrealistic to think that as an expatriate, you won’t face challenges. After that initial excitement and until you find your feet, you may need some support and advice...
Finances - First but not obvious, living in another country can turn out to be more expensive than expected. A report by Willis Towers Watson found that employees experiencing problems with finances were twice as likely to be in poor health as those who weren’t experiencing financial worries. It’s worth keeping your expenditure under scrutiny, especially during the first few months of your arrival.
Social life - Will you be moving alone? If so, you may have underestimated how lonely you would feel and how much you’ll miss the people back home. Time differences can make it hard to find someone to talk to, and there may be language barriers to overcome as well.
Physical health - What if you or a family member becomes ill? Medical help may not be as accessible as you are used to, or that ‘quick’ trip to the pharmacy may not be so easy. How do you ask for treatment or help when you need a doctor?
Mental health – Worrying about children is par for the course for any parent, but this can be exacerbated in a foreign country, where the education system may be very different. How are the children settling into their school? What about their social life? Communicating may not be simple at the beginning, and these can all be sources of stress for both parent and child alike.
Adaptability - It can take a while to settle down into a new environment, and feelings of stress, loneliness and isolation are very common – ask any expat! It’s important to recognise that you’re not alone and not the first to feel this way. For this reason it is fundamental to know that there is extensive support for expatriates.
How can expats make the move overseas less stressful?
Employee Assistance Programmes, or EAPs, are established services nowadays, and recognized as valuable help in these situations. They provide a wealth of support and information to meet the needs of the fast-paced, digital lives of modern global employees and their families. Advice and information are available around health and wellbeing, to help you maintain a good work and life balance, and deal with child or elderly care – as well as workplace stresses.
Good EAP programmes offer 24-hour support to make the transition and expatriate process smoother. They provide access to professionals who can support you with mental health and emotional issues (including bereavement counselling and Cognitive Behavioural Therapy), financial advices or legal worries.
The key to the benefit of an EAP programme is to make sure expatriates use it, whilst 72% of employers in the Workplace Wellbeing Index[i] provided an EAP, just 3% of employees realistically accessed it. So, why don’t you make the most of it, when your employer has provided you with such a valuable, confidential resource?
[i] The Barnett Waddingham 2017 employee survey
HOW CAN GENERALI GLOBAL HEALTH HELP EXPATRIATES?
As specialists in international health insurance and wellness, we know that moving overseas can be stressful and difficult. That’s why GGH’s Employee Assistance Programme (EAP) provides an essential safety net when moving to a new country and role, far from your home.
Generali Global Health’s EAP is a fully confidential resource offering information, advice and support, 24/7 and 365 days a year, via a free-phone number, a dedicated web-portal, or a handy mobile app. Members benefit from fast access to advisory and counselling services provided through our specialist partners Morneau Shepell, including:
- Independent and confidential service
- Access 24/7 through a freephone number, dedicated website or mobile app
- Information and support on emotional and workplace issues
- Independent legal advice, including probate
Financial advice, including personal debt management and inheritance
Access a doctor easily with My Digital Doctor
Generali Global Health also provides a healthcare app that enables members to schedule a doctor’s appointment from anywhere in the world, 24/7, from the convenience of their home or work. My Digital Doctor enables the sharing of images and test results, and for doctors to discuss symptoms, medications and onward care plans by voice or video call.
Now that you know the tools and support available for you as an international employee, you are ready to embrace and fully enjoy your new adventure abroad - hopefully with less worries.
Happy expat life!