connect, grow & thrive.

Podcast: Living Where Your Feet Are

Moving to a new country requires more than just bringing and unpacking your belongings. Dr. Brandi Eijsermans and Charlie Hartmann discuss the process and offer useful tips.

What are some issues faced by immigrants and expats settling down in a new country?

  • CHANGE: of culture, tempo, pace of life, expectations, status, career, language, gender norms
  • Lost of identity: who you were is not who you are anymore, sense of lost for the part of yourself that is not recognized here ( job title, status )
  • Partner expectations: your partner expects you to adjust easily in a short period of time
  • Being away from your family, not being able to be there through family problems at home

How do we live where our feet are?

  • Take TIME to adjust. Slow down and don’t rush things, give yourself the space and flexibility to adjust to things.
  • Be kind to yourself. Don’t be so harsh on yourself.
  • Self-awareness is a constant practice. Learn how to take a step back and be aware of what’s going on in your new culture and surroundings.
  • Remind yourself of your needs for the present moment and make the effort to get support for those needs, like connecting and sharing your emotions with people.
  • When you recognize your support needs, you are able to prioritize reaching out and making connections-needs to turn your loss into a positive growth
  • Recognize what you have to offer and bring to your new community
  • Be curious, not judgemental. Find things that you love about your new country and community, and invest time and space to pursue those things instead of trying to replicate what you had in your home country.
  • Recognize that change can be good. It can open a myriad of possibilities for you and be an empowering experience to help you grow.
  • Recognize that your past relationships back home will change and adjust to your life here.
  • Find a balance between how much you can be present in issues back home and also taking a healthy distance to live where your feet are.  You need to take a step back from time to time.

Charlie Hartmann is the managing director of the Livingin organisation which focuses on helping international residents connect, grow and thrive in Switzerland.