29 January 2012
By Blanka Sengerová
I have just come across an article on the BBC News website about returning home after working abroad and feeling a stranger/foreigner in your own home country.
Home comforts can be hard to find for the expat
The reporter seems to take the business end approach, suggesting many postings by businessmen abroad and also discussing ex-service personnel. When I read the article, it struck me as probably applying just as much to research staff. Would I find it hard to adjust to life in the Czech Republic now? What would Tennie think of a job in Holland? And does Sandrine think of Turkey as home now or is somewhere else home still, and was it hard for Hannah to adjust to life in England after coming back from France? And all the others of you on here who have spent few or many years working abroad, did you find that the country changed when you returned home and that friends and family felt you'd been gallivanting round the world whilst they paid their taxes nicely?
I guess in my case the length of time spent in the UK is much longer than the average postdoc contract (and I didn't come here for a job in the first place), but even two years can be a long time in a country's development and things can and do change. So is it sometimes just as hard to return home as it was to leave your country in the first place, and does it bring added complications (kids finding it hard to adjust to school with exams to take, missing national insurance - or similar - payments, life in your circle of friends having moved on, etc.)?
Has anyone experienced this sort of return and can they share with us what it's like? How should you prepare for it and are there things to think about *before* you even leave?