16 Jan A cultural shock turning sour
Whilst I was working for a major German Telecom company I was given the opportunity to go for a year to Singapore. At that time I had met a young German Team Assistant that was also going to be relocated with her boyfriend over there. She left Germany before me, and we kept in contact until I arrived in Singapore.
When I arrived, she was telling me about her bad experiences with house hunting and with Singaporeans themselves, which I have to say made me feel a little bit anxious, however I knew I had to find out for myself. Luckily I met great people and was surrounded by new friends quite quickly. On the other hand she kept on running into bad experiences up to a point where she did not want to leave her home and go out and meet people. She had lost about 10kg in the space of 6 months and looked very sad and depressed so I decided to have a chat with her and understand what she was going through as I wanted to help her integrate better.
The major issue was that although she was with her boyfriend, she missed her family. She also unfortunately kept her bad experience present in every encounter she had with a local, meaning that for her, they were all after her and wanted to do bad things to her. Her mindset was so strong that she probably projected this on every single person she met and so could not integrate fully as she despised being around some of the locals.
What happened here? My friend had never left Germany in her life before she moved to Singapore, and had not undergone any preparation before she left. Probably that resulted in miscommunications and misunderstandings with her colleagues and contacts. Having a preparation and a constant contact with a coach could have helped her understand why she ran into problems, and could have spared her a depression which led her to leave the country after 8 months.
Many companies sending employees overseas experience early repatriation of these employees due to such experiences and lack of preparation.