Last year, as I was looking for stories about successful launches of virtual, globally-mobile businesses, I came across an online group that I thought would be of interest to other Chronicles readers.
The group is called ExpatClic, and you can find it on the web at: www.expatclic.com. It describes itself as “a non-profit organization ” that helps expat women all over the world before, during and after their relocations. “We promote respect and interest amongst different cultures, mutual support, online communication and positive sharing.”
The ExpatClic website makes for fascinating reading and has a wealth of articles on all aspects of the expat condition – and men are welcome here too! Some articles that caught my eye on a recent skim through the index included:
- a moving first-hand account by a teenager describing the challenges faced by third culture kids and the stress of regularly moving and having to make new friends;
- the heart-rending story told by an Italian man of his (ultimately futile) efforts to make a go of his marriage to an Australian woman, played out from Italy to Melbourne and back again
- the story of a 58-year-old who chucked in his house and his business of 25 years to follow his passion and become a yoga teacher in Thailand!
As well as articles in many different languages on a wide range of topics, ExpatClic offers an online support group and a virtual co-working space. The online support group is a place where participants can share their expat experiences, “to try and lighten the unforeseen baggage that we sometimes take with us”. Conducted mainly in Italian, the mother tongue of ExpatClic founder, Claudia Landini, it has, or plans to provide support on
- Loneliness and isolation
- Ageing parents far away
- Changes and evolution of relationship with family back home
- Anger and resentment towards partner
- Motherhood abroad
- Anxiety about the future
- Difficulties in keeping professional identity
- Loss of identity and independence
The virtual co-working space, www.expatwomenatwork.com connects hundreds of working expat women all over the world: a global community that works side by side online, shares resources and supports one another. Of course, the co-working space welcomes new members, but many of the platform users have collaborated for years – building websites, translating, taking courses or coaching sessions, creating graphic images – and have formed strong bonds.
I encourage Chronicles readers to check out the tech tools on the ExpatClic website and join in the lively personal and professional discussions. It’s a useful reminder that no matter how alone we may feel at times, there’s a huge community of people out there who share many of the same issues and concerns. In the words of one ExpatClic member: “It feels good to talk!”