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What Expat Employers Should Know About the Honeymoon Phase

The Expat Insider Business Edition, a report focusing on various aspects of life abroad for foreign assignees, international hires, and relocating spouses, zoomed in on the different stages of the expat lifecycle.

The honeymoon phase is often referred to as the first months just after relocation, when everything is still new and exciting — a lot like being on vacation. After the initial exhilaration and feeling of adventure, a daily routine kicks in and often changes the picture. This is where the honeymoon phase turns into a more critical phase in terms of feeling settled and establishing personal support and social networks with locals and other expats.

3 Key Findings from the Report:

  • General Drop in Satisfaction After the Honeymoon Phase

Foreign assignees, international hires, and relocating spouses tend to have the highest satisfaction ratings for settling in abroad in the period of longer than five years, indicating that it does take time for them to feel at home. Next to this, in most instances the survey results indicated that respondents were on average more satisfied in the first six months (the honeymoon phase) than in the following periods of six months to two years, and two to five years. This supports the notion that there is some drop in satisfaction after the honeymoon phase, before increasing again as time progresses.

  • Getting Used to the Local Culture A Major Struggle for Spouses

In the report, 63% of relocating spouses indicated that it’s easy to get used to the local culture during the honeymoon phase. This high percentage dropped significantly to 52% in the periods after the honeymoon phase, illustrating that the euphoria of being in a new country quickly dies down as realities of life abroad kick in.

  • Foreign Assignees and International Hires are Happier

Of the three expat types, foreign assignees and international hires were happiest with settling down abroad in the honeymoon phase at 55%, compared to 49% of relocating spouses. Throughout the report, relocating spouses indicated struggles with settling in and being less satisfied with these aspects.

The Honeymoon Phase as Part of the Foreign Assignee's Expat Lifecycle:

InterNations Business Solutions Expat Lifecycle


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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