Surviving and succeeding as an expat is not an easy task – and that goes for trailing spouses too! A lot of time, thought, and hard work goes into excelling at this life.
I knew that I wanted to see my husband be successful in his career and I felt that moving abroad with him as support would be the best decision for our family. My husband can progress his career, while I support him and help with the other parts of our life.
On the other hand, I also wanted to be independent and have something of my own outside of being a trailing spouse. I thought about trying to work myself, but I have found it can be difficult to begin a new career here. With little experience and English or German not being my first language, I questioned myself – am I capable enough for working life here?
Life as a trailing spouse challenged me to be more creative and think outside of the box. When I found content creation, I felt that it was something that I was capable of pursuing while here in Switzerland. Life as an expat helped me find my true passions.
Deciding to become a trailing spouse can be a tough decision to make. I am still learning every day! You should consider your own options before becoming a trailing spouse. Do you want to work while you are abroad? Do you have other passions you can pursue? Are you comfortable spending time alone if you decide not to work? It all depends on what works for you and your family!
I’ve experienced some tough times on my three-and-a-half-year journey as a trailing spouse. I have found that not being financially independent, losing my sense of identity and feeling lonely are some of the most difficult aspects.
As a shy person in a new country with a language barrier, I felt very isolated. I had no connections here when I arrived, and it left me feeling very anxious. While my husband works and I manage our finances, it can be stressful trying to organise life in a country that is quite expensive.
With that said, there are still plenty of enjoyable aspects of being a trailing spouse.
When my partner succeeds in his career, I feel extremely proud. I know that my support and help at home is a part of that ー I feel his success is my success!
Being abroad is the second-best part of being a trailing spouse. I can travel and explore the world. With plenty of free time on my hands, I can accompany my husband on work trips and it's always so exciting to discover a new part of the world. Not everyone has this opportunity at a young age, so I am very grateful.
While you may not think it, being expats together and my being a trailing spouse has really strengthened the relationship of my husband and I. Moving abroad is no easy feat and we only had each other to rely on in the beginning. We work together as a team, supporting each other on our endeavours. I imagine other expat couples have experienced the same growth in their own relationships.
Always look on the bright side! It’s not always easy to stay positive, but it does improve your mental health. Try not to compare yourself to other trailing spouses or your friends back home. Stay focused on you and your family.
Syifa has a great outlook on the expat experience, embracing the opportunities and managing the challenges, while finding joy in everyday moments. If you’d like to learn more about living abroad, we have a dedicated support centre on our website, with useful tips, expert guides and real life stories to help you on your journey through expat life.