Psychiatrist Dr. John Adams' view of the four transition periods involved in a move, presented at a Foreign Service forum:
(1) "Getting settled can be an unsettling experience." Because there is a feeling that these differences are "imposed," we use new-found energies to save face. In a flurry of activity we spend hours running about attacking all the small tasks of getting settled.
(2) "Will I ever be a part of all this?" We feel rejected and depressed. Try as we may, we cannot change the world around us. Adams calls this point of seeming despair a "choice position." Either we cling to our old habits, our learned patterns of response to our environment, or we let them go and movefearfully, to a new world.
(3) "This is more like it!" A new sense of opportunity at hand: New choices arise with new perceptions.
(4) "All this is very similar to growing up again." We discover a harmony within. By letting go of old rns and by carefully selecting new actions there comes a sense of serenity. Although the world remains constanthin.
Some of Adams' suggestions for enhancing the adjustment:
* Take risks. Try not to be the fool, but will be.
* Develop openness to new ideas.
* Cultivate a desire to learn, rather than continue the debilnalism.
* Move actively toward a new culture, fighting against the desire to go to the club and forget it. Seek out others in the same situation for supportive friendships.
* Celebrate successes, whether it is the learning of a foreign word, or new rapport with a host-country colleague.
More reference materials addressig both the psychological and practical implications of a move are available at the Overseas Briefing Center, Foreign Service Institute, Rosslyn.