How to survive being a trailing spouse in a strange land

How to survive being a trailing spouse in a strange land

How to survive being a trailing spouse in a strange land

Being a trailing spouse in the country where English is only slightly the second language can make settling in a nightmare.

Many women make the choice to give up their own careers in order to travel overseas as part of an expat family package. The first thing they discover is that being a trailing spouse is far harder than they’d expected. Whilst the breadwinner is working the usual hours in the new country, the trailing spouse is managing the home and all its domestic chores, getting the kids to and from school, dealing with all the issues caused by moving internationally and helping the family adjust to their new surroundings. All this whilst missing family and friends, dealing with an unfamiliar language and recovering from masterminding the entire move from start to finish.

It doesn’t matter where in the world you’re now located, it’s far tougher for the trailing spouse than it ever could be for the expat professional whose career has caused the move. Some locations are better than others for families, with the tiny state of Luxembourg one of the most comfortable once the initial confusion has worn off. In fact, many trailing spouses in the city have taken the opportunity to discover a new career, start a small business or even volunteer to help others in similar situations.

One major plus point of Luxembourg is the number of meetups for expatriates of all shades and especially trailing spouses who don’t wish to become invisible and friendless. The expat community itself is sizeable and includes creative, social, professional and entrepreneurial events, some of which are free. Online social media groups give advice to newcomers as well as information about upcoming events and get-togethers, and expat parents’ support groups are helpful and informative on all family matters.

Starting a small business is a great way out of terminal boredom for many trailing spouses who’ve given up their own careers in order to support their partner’s. The Luxembourg government is keen to help start-ups, offering free entrepreneur programmes as well as other practical help. Volunteering is another way to improve self-confidence, with opportunities including help for the homeless and support for the elderly and, for expat females with great new ideas, the two female-only entrepreneurial groups Hubdot and Mumprenuers are happy to have your input.

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