Myths of Expatriate Life – Living in Indonesia, a website for expatriates

When my husband announced that his employer, a mid-sized computer software firm, wanted to send him to Paris as acting country manager for a year, pleasant memories returned of a vacation spent in Parisian cafes and art museums. But those romantic visions quickly disappeared as my practical side began contemplating the realities of moving our 4-year-old son, my consulting practice, and university teaching work to another country.

During my human resource career, I had created and implemented expatriate programs to help employees and their families face the challenges of foreign assignments. I therefore thought I was well-prepared for what lay ahead. But I soon discovered the difference between theory and reality. In particular, I learned that expatriates, their “trailing partners” (a term I came to detest), and their children are victims of six common myths held by employers.