5 Reliable Strategies to Prepare For a Move Overseas as the Accompanying Spouse or Partner

Posted on Sep 1, 2015 | 2 comments

5 Reliable Strategies to Prepare For a Move Overseas as the Accompanying Spouse or Partner


If you’re reading this, you’re probably the accompanying spouse or partner or about to be. Or maybe you’re the working spouse. Either way, moving overseas is a heck of a challenge and preparing for it on all levels is important. An international move can add a lot of stress to your family and marriage before it gets really fantastic (which it will!). So, what are you supposed to do? You’re expecting some transition time but how do you make it as easy on yourself as possible?


1. Plan how to manage your money while you’re looking for your next position.

In your home country, you may be a dual income couple. When you move, you know that one of you is going to lose their job and you don’t know when he/she is going to get another one. Plan for this. Create a household budget that is based on one salary. Figure out how much you want to dip into your savings while waiting for a job. Evaluate whether it is financially possible for you to go years without a second salary. If not, what’s the plan if you can’t find work?


2. Discuss your concerns with your partner.

The working spouse will go through their own transition and adjustment period when moving to a new country. He/she may not be aware of their partner’s anxiety about finding a job and may not recognize how truly upset their partner is after a few months of not finding anything. Talking about both sides’ concerns before leaving sets you up to continue communicating with each other during the transition. It’s easy to fall into the trap of blaming your partner for your situation. However, no one is responsible for your happiness besides you. You made the decision to move along with him/her and there is probably a good reason for that. Figure out what your reason is and keep that at the forefront of your mind. Blaming your spouse for your situation makes everything worse.


3. Learn the language.

One of the scariest things you can do is move to a new country without knowing the language. Without knowing the language, you can feel stuck in your home and rely on your spouse in a way you’re not used to. It may not be possible to quickly become fluent in the language, but knowing the phrases you’ll need to get a taxi, get to the grocery store, and exchange pleasantries with others will seriously help your transition. In addition, many positions will require knowledge of the local language. Take a step in the right direction by learning a bit before you go and be prepared to focus on language classes for your first couple of months in your new country.


4. Be flexible about where your career will go.

Expat spouses and partners throughout the world have learned this time and time again. You know exactly what your career looks like in your home country but in this new place, it’s something completely different. Be open to going in a completely or slightly different direction. Many expat spouses continue to work in their fields but others end up starting their own businesses or working or volunteering in a totally different profession during their time overseas.


5. Get ready to wait.

Throw all your timelines out the window. You may think you’re going to be working within two months. The problem is that you don’t have much control over when someone else hires you. Set goals for yourself that have to do with things you can control. Aim to meet two new people each week that could help you in your job search. Don’t say no to social engagements or other opportunities because you “think” you will be working by then. You’ll miss a lot by waiting for a job to come along.



Passport Career provides more detailed career information and extensive resources about networking, finding a job, internship, or alternative career opportunities. If your organization, embassy, university/college, library, or other institution would like access to our country portfolios (15,000+ pages of expert content for 80+ countries and 250+ cities) to share with your students, employees, spouses/partners, and others managing a national or international career transition, please contact us (or send email to info@passportcareer.com) regarding a free, live, online demo and details on how to obtain a license to access Passport Career.

Anna Sparks, Expert Global Career Consultant


  1. Glad you enjoyed it, Christa!

  2. Hey very interesting blog!

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