Thursday, September 22, 2011

Expat Women: Confessions - What Do Men Think?

Hi Everyone, Two weeks ago we gave a big shout-out to the (forty or so) fantastic women who had written blog posts about our new book Expat Women: Confessions - 50 Answers to Your Real-Life Questions about Living Abroad. Today, we want to thank the men. There may only be four (not forty), but that just makes these four men extra special. Here are excerpts from their blog posts...

5 Lessons Expat Women Confessions Will Teach You About Life Abroad by John Falchetto

"...This isn’t a book about shortcuts or a simple motivational e-book telling you to just think positive thoughts. The Expat Women Confessions deals with real issues (from teen suicide to marriage breakdown) and gives real advice. I am not a woman but most advice the book gives can easily be used by men. This is my take on these powerful questions as an expat, a coach and a man...

1. Why Should I Move?
I left Canada in 1996, right after college, my motivation was simple, endless possibilities. Although I wasn’t a trailing spouse, I looked at the move in the same way an artist approaches a blank canvas. I have always been a big believer in change, but not mindless and unfocused change. Andrea [and Victoria] understand[s] the decision isn’t easy and her case-study of someone pondering whether or not to leave an aging mother back home is meaningful. For most future expatriates, an assignment abroad has far reaching implications which shouldn’t be taken lightly.

2. Will Culture Shock Happen to Me?
I still remember falling out of my bed in June ’97 during my first night in Amman, Jordan. The morning prayer was calling from the minarets across the city and this set the tone for the next few years. There were often uncomfortable moments, from which I learned a lot and often laugh about it later. From drinking tea with tribal elders to working through the red tape of setting up a company in Dubai, the challenges were always there and boiled down to two important factors, clearly explained by Andrea [and Victoria]. Personality and attitude: A positive attitude will go a long way. Develop an expat mindset. Managing expectations: I saw many expats look at everything through the prism of their home-country. Yes this isn’t home anymore, things are different.

3. Lack of Respect at Work
The book’s case study looks at gender discrimination in the workplace. I believe as expats there is often a lack of understanding about local culture and social norms. Beyond culture shocks, [my wife] Ameena wrote a great piece about learning how to play in a boy’s sandpit. Although she was born and raised there, it wasn’t always fun. I also think women have a hard job in the corporate world anywhere in the world. My friend and favorite CEO, Gini Dietrich, recently discussed women and achieving workplace equality.

4. Starting a Business Abroad
Undoubtedly I have a bias for expat entrepreneurs, I started my first expat business in 2003 in Dubai and 8 years later I am helping others become successful abroad. [...] From looking into your personality, your lifestyle and basic business questions, [the book] provides the best framework of questions for setting up a business abroad. If you are thinking of becoming an entrepreneur, the book is worth its price for this chapter [Starting a Business] alone. Again your gender doesn’t matter here.

5. Reverse Culture Shock
When I go back to Montreal I feel like a stranger. Although I know the city inside out, and speak both official languages, living abroad changes your outlook on life. Expats often focus on the change while abroad but it’s important not to forget that this change will stay with you when you head home. Once again Andrea [and Victoria] pinpoint[s] this weird feeling to dashed expectations. Going home often brings me to ask myself, is this home?"

John Falchetto is an expat (entrepreneur and) life coach who has lived in Canada, Egypt, Dubai and now lives in France. You can read more about John on his blog Expat Life Coach. Thanks John! 


Things an Expat Man Should Hear by Norman Viss

"Men are from Mars, women are from Venus. Never more so than when living abroad. During the pre-publication publicity for this book someone tweeted with the question whether husbands would purchase this book. I immediately replied that I believed they should. Which got me a free copy from Andrea. Thanks, Andrea!

[When] I sat down and read it, I did my best to put my ‘husband is listening’ ears on. ‘What are our women saying that we men should listen to?’ [and} here is what I heard:

(1) She wants to be reassured that the medical care here is good, and that there is enough emotional support during the treatment.

(2) I am dressing and acting differently now that we are settled in. In fact, she feels like I don’t love and respect her like I did before.

(3) Because she is no longer earning an income, she feels financially dependant on me. That makes her uncomfortable.

(4) We have repatriated to our passport country. I thought it would be easy for her to adjust. But it is not. She feels alone and is having trouble making friends.

(5) She is very concerned about who will care for her aging parents.

(6) Now that the situation here is completely different than what we expected, she needs a safe place to express her frustrations.

(7) I travel a lot for my work. That means she is the primary caregiver for the children. She wonders if she is doing a good job.

(8) My wife hears stories from other expats about emotional and physical infidelity, by both men and women. She sometimes worries about us, and desires that we be proactive in preventing relationship betrayal.

(9) Our term abroad is almost over. She senses that I would like to stay abroad, even though we agreed to just one term. She doesn’t know what my thoughts are about the future.

How did I do? If I didn’t hear you well, it’s not the fault of this book, which gives us men a wonderful window into the concerns of our wives. The advice given by Andrea and Victoria is clear, well balanced, comprehensive and sometimes quite direct and provocative, without any claim to be a substitute for professional help.

It’s a book we men need to listen to. No, let me put it another way. We need to listen to our wives, and this book can help give us ears."

Norman Viss spent 10 years as an expat in Nigeria, West Africa, before moving to the Netherlands, 21 years ago. You can read more about Norman on his blog Isolated Internationals. Thanks Norman! 


Reading 'Expat Women: Confessions' and Making Some of My Own by Russell Ward

"I have a confession to make. In fact, I have several. I didn't realise that large numbers of expat women struggle when assigned overseas. I didn't realise expat women made confessions about these struggles. And I didn't realise they made them at Expat Women, an online resource for helping expatriate women living overseas."

"...As I started to make my way through the book, I felt a sense of deja vu as I learned about the daily struggles suffered by everyday women in adjusting to a home away from home. From concerns about transitioning into a foreign environment to struggles with unhealthy work-life balances, from suffering regular bouts of homesickness and wanting to go home to experiencing visa difficulties, Expat Women: Confessions covers it all. The range and depth of issues raised, and advice given in return, is staggering yet always approached in a sensitive and honest way.

"...The strength of Expat Women: Confessions is not just the provision of sensible answers and practical advice for any international mover, past or present, but for bringing to light the many issues, frustrations and questions that arise when embarking on a life lived abroad..."

"...If you're an expat-to-be or a current expat, you really should be reading this book. It is a significant support tool for your journey ahead."

Russell Ward is a British expat who has lived in Canada (Vancouver and Ottawa), and now lives in Australia (Sydney - his wife's home city). You can read more about Russell on his blog, In Search Of A Life Less Ordinary. Thanks Russell!


Expat Women: Confessions - 50 Answers to Your Real-Life Questions about Living Abroad by Eric Anders

"I met Andrea in 2010 when I asked if I could republish a timely article she wrote for the August edition of the Worldwide ERC's issue of MOBILITY Magazine entitled 10 Ways to Boost Your (Relocation) Brand Online."

"...Expat Women: Confessions is an easy read. It's quite evident both ladies have walked the talk! They're able to express their ideas in a clear, concise, meaningful manner... Although the primary focus of 50 Answers to Your Real-Life Questions about Living Abroad is geared toward women, most of the 'answers' and advice really applies to anyone living the expat life or relocating anywhere. That includes men, gay and straight trailing partners; school kids, young adults, and fun-loving seniors!"

"...It's a pleasant distraction to enjoy over a morning cup of coffee or après-dinner glass of wine. It's like having a conversation with a very close friend – female or male – about personal concerns and adjustment problems you never knew they had."

[And I swear I did not ask Eric to write this next promo part in his blog's post... but if you are reading this blog and you work in corporate HR or for a relocation company, by all means, read on!]

"Expat Women is now offering their loyal readers, members, corporate clients, mobility service companies and relocating employees the opportunity to purchase bulk orders of their motivational book that features a customized front-cover logo. Those making volume purchases can include a personalized messages or their own unique promotions inside. Be [one of] the first to take advantage of this helpful new offer! Just be sure to tell 'em that a guy recommended their book."

Eric Anders is a relocation industry professional who created his blog RELO Roundtable as an online gathering place for consumers and the moving professionals that help them. Thanks Eric!


If you like freebies and you have not already downloaded a free sample from our book, you are invited to please do so here.

Thanks for your support Everyone - and I wish you a sensational weekend! Andrea

No comments:

Share This: