As a psychologist and psychotherapist that has had to change six different cities and schools as a child, I can relate to the challenges faced by international students and expats.
As exciting as it may seem at the beginning, moving to a different country requires a great amount of coping skills in order to adapt to the new environment.
Suddenly, we find ourselves in a new culture with a different language, far from all of the rituals, relationships and places that used to be part of our everyday life and that gave us a sense of security and identity.
As a matter of fact being away from home often means living away from our support system that could be vital in times of stress and challenges.
Moving to a new country can be challenging at all ages but it could be particularly traumatic in adolescence, a period of important psychological and physical changes and a crucial moment for the development of one’s identity.
Many expat teens have a hard time figuring out where they really ‘belong’ especially when they start to integrate and become attached to new friends, rituals and places.
The good news is that with therapy and self-care these feelings of loneliness and helplessness can become an opportunity of growth, self-awareness and resilience.
I am a firm believer that crisis is an opportunity to move out of our comfort zone and discover new resources and talents that we didn’t know we had.