How Relocating Spouses Really Feel About Life Abroad

The relocating spouse is a key part of the expat family structure and an important figure for employers to consider when offering relocation support. The Expat Insider Business Edition, a global report based on the Expat Insider survey of 18,135 respondents, zoomed in on relocating spouses and discovered how they really experience life abroad. 

Of the relocating spouses surveyed, 86% were female, 94% were in a committed relationship, and 44% were at home — either taking care of their households and children or looking for work.

Key Comments from Relocating Spouses:

  • “It’s difficult for highly qualified expat wives to find work and contribute to the local economy.” — British female living in Bahrain

  • “I wish there was more help for professional relocating spouses with the integration.” — American female living in Germany

  • “It’s very hard to make local friends.” — Austrian female living in Switzerland

  • “I have been unable to connect with people.” — American female living in Fiji

  • “My husband is happy in his job, so our family stress is low.” — Canadian female living in Kazakhstan

  • “There is a lack of financial support. I don’t like the expensive school fees, which are rarely covered by employers nowadays.” — New Zealand female living in the United Arab Emirates

  • “I don’t like that it is difficult to feel part of the local culture and to be seen as a foreigner.” — American female living in Switzerland

  • “What bothers me most is that not speaking the native language well is a barrier for some activities.” — German female living in Poland

  • “Making local friends has been the hardest part. Locals aren’t really looking for new friends.” — American female living in Guatemala
  • “It is difficult to socialize and make friends.” — German female living in Sweden

  • “I don’t like the lack of social interaction and the lack of opportunities for enrichment of life.” — American female living in Thailand 

Social, family, and employment aspects are, therefore, important factors for employers to consider when offering spouse support.

Read the Expat Insider 2018 Business Edition: Expat Insider is one of the world’s largest and most comprehensive surveys on life abroad (18,135 expats from across the globe took part in the 2018 survey — 10% of respondents were foreign assignees, 19% were international hires, and 8% were relocating spouses).

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Expat Insider 2018 | Business Edition

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