Are you a Zambian expat thinking of returning to Zambia? Whether you have moved abroad for education, work or family reasons in this exclusive article we provide 5 tips for those thinking of returning to Zambia.
1. Be prepared for a new kind of home sickness
While many expats long for Zambia during their time abroad others will become familiar and acustomed to their life in a new country. This could result in a kind of reverse home sickness when returning to Zambia. This is not uncommon. The more you adapted to life abroad, the more potential for a harder transition back to life in Zambia. For people not expecting this kind of reverse home sickness it can be a shock as they question their decision to return. To counter this shock try visiting Zambia before you return. In addition, when abroad try to keep in touch with family, friends and colleagues in Zambia. This will help to keep you culturally, economically and politically connected to Zambia and minimise the shock of your return.
2. Get in touch with family, friends and colleagues in Zambia
Whilst in the past it could be easy to lose contact with family, friends and colleagues in Zambia, technological developments mean that it has never been easier to get in touch. Maintaining regular contact will help to ensure that you stay up to date with all the latest news with your family and friends. It will also help to keep you up to date with changes in language, customs, economics and politics in Zambia. This should make your return to Zambia much easier.
3. Manage your expectations
Remember that while you were away things will have changed in Zambia and that you should manage your expectations accordingly. You may be surprised by how much (or little) development has taken place. There may be new roads, housing developments or shopping malls whilst other buildings may have been demolished. There may also be new members of your family whilst other may have moved or died. In addition, the freedom that you may have enjoyed abroad may seem constrained by the expectations that your family and friends have for you on your return. These expectations can be positive (such as your friends and family want to see you) but may feel different to what you are used to. By preparing in advance you can help to manage your expectations and make a positive return to Zambia.
4. Think about your career and financial plans before returning
It is vital to think about your career and finance before returning to Zambia. If you fail to do this, you may find it difficult to obtain work and achieve the quality of life you desire. Before you return think about the type of career you want in Zambia and research whether this is possible. Think about the qualifications required and whether you will need to register with any professional bodies in Zambia (e.g. ZICA, ZIM, GNC). You should also do some research into the salary you can hope to obtain and changes in the cost of living (e.g. food, property, fuel and vehicle prices) in Zambia whilst you have been away. This will help you to budget and make viable plans that make your return more manageable.
5. Record your international experiences before you leave
Whatever you have done whilst away your expat exeperience is likely to of value when you return to Zambia. For example, you will have benefitted from exposure to different cultures, languages, business practices etc. You will have seen different approaches to the same activity and will appreciate that there can be different ways to get things done. If you have undertaken study and/or gained work experience whilst abroad make sure that you record your experiences before you leave. What were your key achievements? Can you obtain a reference from your tutor or employer? It is much easier to obtain and record this information before you return.
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Are you an expat looking to return to Zambia? Did you work or study abroad and then return to Zambia? Why not share your experiences and challenges and help others using our comments section below?
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