BOOK REVIEW: The Emotionally Resilient Expat: Engage, Adapt and Thrive Across Cultures (2013) by Linda A. Janssen
“Living abroad offers enriching experiences of growth, broadened perspective, enhanced cultural understanding. Yet its transition-rich, change-driven, cross-cultural nature can place considerable demands, leaving us stressed, disconnected, our identity in flux.”
The first two lines of the summary on the back cover says it all. Living abroad can be a wonderful experience, which is something that is often talked about, yet the darker side of it is rarely mentioned, especially in (expat) literature.
That’s why I love this book. Not only is it written by my friend and very talented writer, Linda Janssen, it is a book that needed to be written with the expat/cross-cultural audience in mind. Moving and living abroad can be challenging, turbulent and exhausting. A broad range of issues are covered and addressed as well as the importance of cultivating emotional resilience.
The book is divided into four parts. Part I is about understanding expatriate, cross-cultural life. Part II looks at the pieces of the emotional resilience puzzle. Part III talks about putting it all together and finally Part IV is about the emotionally resilient expat with a call to continue the conversation about its meaning.
What’s more, Linda has created FACTORS™, which we can incorporate into our life “to strengthen our stores of emotional resilience” (p. 314):
Significance/something bigger than ourselves
Linda put these seven underlying, core themes together and argues they are essential for “a healthier, more positive, emotionally engaged, culturally connected global life” (back cover).
The concepts, tips and tools can also be applied to anyone living anywhere, whether they are an expat or not. It has an universal appeal. I also really enjoyed reading the contributions from others. There is a good balance between the use of current research as well as people’s experiences. Knowing you’re not alone and that (international) moves and transitions can be challenging is reassuring.
At the end of the book, there is a comprehensive list of resources, references and the individuals who contributed to the book, which adds more value to this wonderful publication.
As I navigated my way through my latest international move in September 2014, I am glad I had Linda’s book as my compass and my map. It reminded me of what to do, and what I already know, and helped me to experience my best move ever. Of course there were challenges and ups and downs, but on the whole it’s been the easiest move ever and I’ve felt at home in Scotland almost immediately.
Lastly, I am proud and honoured that Linda asked for my contributions and included them all in her book. I highly recommend The Emotionally Resilient Expat – it’s a must for everyone’s bookcase!
For more info, please check out the following links:
“One’s destination is never a place, but a new way of seeing things.” – Henry Miller (p. 103)