Smooth Transition: How to Ease Repatriation with Repats

What, in your opinion, presents more challenges: moving abroad or repatriating to your home country?

In this conversation, we explore the stressors and challenges associated with repatriation, as well as solutions to minimize the transition’s impact.

Wiebke Homborg, a Third Culture Kid (TCK), and founder of Chameleon Coaching is an Intercultural Trainer and Expat Coach. Having returned to Germany three times during her 22 years of expatriation, Wiebke understands that each repatriation experience can differ based on life phases and specific locations. 

Christina Kapaun, is also an Intercultural Trainer who has lived in Brazil, the US, and is currently in Stuttgart, Germany.

Together, they support repats and their families throughout the various phases of expatriation. They believe in the power of collaboration during repatriation, which led to their group coaching collaboration called “Arriving,” specifically designed for repatriates.

Experiencing culture shock, when returning to one’s passport country happens more often than we tend to talk about. All seems well upon reentry– loads of warm welcomes, a favorite home-cooked meal, and the sense of ‘being home’. However, unexpected differences start popping up and all of a sudden we feel we do not fit in.

For example, during a walk on the Potomac in Maryland with friends, my youngest son asked if there were crocodiles. In Zimbabwe, we were cautious about approaching water due to hippos and crocs. Naturally, he asked this question, but it was not something other children and parents were familiar with.

These instances occur frequently, even when we do not repatriate, making it more challenging.

In this conversation, we cover key topics like:

  1. What are the most painful aspects of repatriation that individuals face and how can those be navigated?
  2. What is culture shock and some ways to cope with it?
  3. Cultural dissonance and its significance during the repatriation process
  4. As parents, how can we support our children during the repatriation process?
  5.  How can we view reentry as an opportunity to understand and know oneself deeper rather than a liability?

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