Encouraging Adaptation and Mitigating Culture Shock for Your Assignee's Family

January 13, 2016 / by Lindsay Mullen


Relocating to a new country can be an overwhelming process for everyone involved, and your assignee’s family members often face challenges entirely unique from those of an assignee. Especially during the initial stages of the move, assignees must remember to spend time with family to help ease the transition into their new lives and ensure all members of the family have the support they need to deal with culture shock. Here are three ways assignees can help their families adjust and help with their own assimilation as well.

Family Career and Education

With everyone in the family starting new careers and new schools, there’s ample opportunity to share lessons, new vocabulary and funny happenings throughout the day over the dinner table. Encourage assignees to tell their spouses and children about work and to get involved with their children’s schools. Whether it’s discovering Danish yoghurt is packaged in milk cartons just a second too late or learning new Gaelic folklore about the goddess Tuatha Dé Danann in class, family dinners will become a unique experience your assignees will come to cherish during their time abroad. Before they know it, their whole family will be adjusted to their new surroundings and come to cherish the initial memories they made with the support system that knows them best.

Weekend Trips

Travel is often one of the most exciting parts of relocation for assignee family members. For those in Europe, the ability to hop on the railjet in Vienna and arrive in Budapest in under three hours is no longer a wonderful possibility, but a reality. While assignees may be focused on readjusting their work schedules and learning the ropes of their day-to-day escapades, encouraging them to travel early on in their reassignment will help them explore with family and get acclimated with their new culture at their own pace. Provide them with suggestions and travel guides before their departure to get them up-to-speed with ticket options and transportation options available to them locally. Investing in a language learning software can also help assignees get familiar with local phrases and help their family members who might be less well-traveled feel much more comfortable with foreign travel.

Maintaining Family Traditions

Assignees will be exposed to a variety of new traditions during their assignment. While an exciting time, those moving with family must take extra care to incorporate their own family traditions in their new surroundings. Suggest scheduling a weekly family outing to a local market for those families who like to roll up their sleeves and cook a family dinner. Incorporating family traditions with cultural traditions allows assignees two merge their experience abroad and allow them to have a truly unique experience. Assignees in Reykjavik might be gearing up for a new family tradition of their own as Þorrablót, a celebration that takes place from January to mid February.

While relocation can be stressful on families, it is also an exciting time filled with new opportunities and the chance to experience something truly unforgettable with loved ones. For more tips for assignees who are relocating with their families, check out “ Relocation: Making It a Family Matter.”

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Topics: Corporate

Lindsay Mullen

Written by Lindsay Mullen

Lindsay Mullen is CEO of Prosper Strategies, working behind the scenes to support the Mango team's world of lovable language learning. A language aficionado herself, Lindsay oversees a team of marketers fluent in public relations, content development and strategy (and they speak some German, French, Spanish and Chinese as well.)

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