Finding a new home in the host location

Some assignee overreact when they transition from one country to another. Having recently been exposed to a mild form of bribery I do understand that trust not always comes easy. However, there might be good reasons why your company has a relocation firm to support you with finding housing in the host location.

  1. You usually do not know the market and you do not know the law.
  2. Rental agreements and rights of tenants are different from country to country.
  3. What are considered utilities in one country might be different in another.
  4. There is a different way of measuring the size of an apartment.
  5. Countries have different rules: In Germany for example usually an unfurnished apartment does not have a kitchen. In Switzerland people share washing machines. In India temporary accommodation sometimes has a live-in house boy.

Try to trust the relocation company a little and do not question everything they do. Also hold back on your judgement of speed and service especially when you move to a very tight market like Switzerland where everything depends on having good relationships with landlords and agencies. When I moved to this country I got so frustrated with the apartment situation that I said: “It is easier to get a leading position here than a decent apartment. And when I like a place it costs at least twice as much as apartment at home…”

When you decide to have your rental contract and other agreements checked by a third party this might be a good idea if you come from a country where relationships are not valued highly. In a country where the spoken word is almost as good as a contract this could be seen as slightly offensive.

Once you are in the cultural trap and you realize that your assumptions might have led to a decision that is not completely acceptable it is worthwhile listening what other (more experienced) expats have to say. One lesson I learnt the hard way in India was that it is not always a matter of being right or wrong. Sometimes you also have to remember that we are all humans and all want to be trusted, loved and accepted.

It seems very easy but it applies to every culture I have encountered so far. If you treat people with respect and love they are usually feeding that back. For many people here who have never left their home mountain it is hard to understand what you are stressing out about.

People like me (Global Mobility Experts) know how hard it is for you in the situation with a spouse on your side who is only half happy about YOUR choice of coming here and the additional stress of not knowing where to get your dry cleaning done and the like. If you trust us you will notice that you get a lot of positive benefits of the doubt and that we are here to support you.

Good luck with transition. I’d be happy to hear more on your experiences.

PS: …and when the s… hits the fan and a real conflict with your relocation firm is burning up, you can always call me for peace talks.




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