You've probably heard the African saying "it takes a village to raise a child"? I usually extend this to families and say "it takes a village to lead a happy family life"...
What is normal and natural for families living in their home country surrounded by extended family, is very difficult for internationals.
Finding a tribe that supports you and your family and helps you in "real life" requires time as you need to build trust. This makes it almost impossible for highly mobile families because time is what they usually lack of.
The majority of my highly mobile clients build this village virtually. Connecting through social media is a fantastic way to get a feeling for what the community in the new place is like, and to stay connected with those we're leaving.
Although this virtual connections can lead to friendships that survive multiple moves and for many internationals they are a true anchor when the rest of their life turns up side down, they often become an excuse to not making the effort to make friends in "real life".
I call it the online bubble which for many internationals represents their village, the tribe they feel most comfortable in and where they can re-charge their batteries so they can face the challenges of real life again.
Online we can share our struggles in real time, get (almost) immediate feedback and encouragement from friends from afar. For many of us it is the first group we turn to if we need any kind of help or need to vent.
- What about you?
- When do you turn to your online village?
- What do you share with your friends and connections online? How do you connect with your "offline" village?
This is the first of a series of posts on this topic and I would love to know your experience and take on this matter. Please leave a comment here below, and if you would like to write a post about your personal experience on my site, please write me at info@UtesInternationalLounge.com.
I'm looking forward to reading your responses! ~ Thank you!