Being an expat can be lonely at the best of times. At the worst of times, it can become insurmountable.
In many people’s perception, being an expat is a symbol of something exotic, exciting, and maybe even glamorous. As an expat, you get the chance to experience a new culture, meeting new people, and making money while doing it.
But leaving your home country to work in e.g. Denmark – in some cases after having travelled far and maybe across continents – implicates that you per definition is a long way from home. Away from your everyday life, family and friends, and everything “normal”.
Studies show that the kind of loneliness experienced by expats is a particular kind of loneliness linked to non-belonging in the most proximal group. Over time this state of loneliness can develop into more debilitation conditions such as acute sadness, hopelessness and in some cases anxiety and depression.
It would be of preventive value for the organisations employing expats, to be mindful of the possible loneliness that expats can experience. In my work with individuals and business a like, it is clear that daily psychological safety in the workplace is an area which greatly impact general mental health. Therefore, it is of high relevance to consider the effect on individuals when the social landscape of work becomes the only social landscape in which to create human connections.