A guide to short-term international assignments as an expat

July 2023

Getting the opportunity for a short-term international assignment at work can be an exciting chance for personal growth and professional development. Whether you're heading abroad for a specific project or just spending a few months on some more general work, it’s important to carefully plan and prepare for your trip to ensure a smooth transition both to and from your temporary home. 


In this blog post, we will explore some essential steps and practical tips to help you navigate the process of a short-term expatriate assignment.  

Once you find out that you’ll be taking a trip to complete an international assignment with work, it’s time to start planning. Here are some things to consider before you go. 
Thoroughly research information about your destination country, including its culture, customs, work practices, and any legal requirements you should be aware of. Talk to your manager about your assignment, project goals, and expectations so that you can make sure you have everything you need. 

While your employer may look after a lot of the logistical aspects of your trip, it’s important for you to keep on top of this. Familiarise yourself with visa requirements, accommodation options, transportation, stipends, and local amenities before you go. 

It’s also crucial to ensure that you’re properly insured for your short-term assignment. As an international worker, you’ll have unique health insurance needs compared to your colleagues. Check out some of Allianz Partners’s short-term international health insurance plans to ease the stress of becoming an expat.

If expat assignments are a regular occurrence in your workplace, it’s likely that there’s some kind of expat support programme in place. Reach out to them to discuss the details of your assignment, including relocation assistance, housing support, and access to local resources.  


One of the most challenging factors of a short-term international project can be the culture shock of your host location. Getting out of your comfort zone and dealing with new surroundings can be daunting, but it’s well worth the experience.  


If you have the time and resources, try to familiarise yourself with your new local language, learning key phrases and words to connect with colleagues and locals. Be sure to research social norms and etiquette in your host country, and be aware that these can be very different to what you’re used to at home. Becoming familiar with these ideas can make it a lot easier to adapt and integrate into your new environment.  

Once you arrive in your new host country, it’s important to embrace your new surroundings and make the best of the opportunity. 

  • Set clear objectives: At work, clarify your goals and objectives early, and make sure to make a good impression on your interim colleagues.
  • Embrace your new environment: Actively engage with your new workmates, learn from them and foster a strong cross-cultural relationship.  
  • Explore the local area: Immerse yourself in your new local culture. Try new foods, take part in traditions, and see any sights or cultural landmarks. These enriching experiences will deepen your appreciation for your host country. 


While you enjoy your new surroundings, it’s also important to look after yourself and your mental health while abroad. Establishing a support network of fellow expats can be a great way to find support, while also staying in regular touch with your friends and family back home. Remember to keep up your exercise and self-care routines and to eat well – travelling can be an easy way to fall into lazier habits, so try to keep your nutrition to a good level while abroad.  


A short-term international assignment as an expat offers a wealth of opportunities for personal and professional growth. By thoroughly preparing and planning for your assignment, embracing the local culture, and maintaining your routine, you can make the most of this transformative experience. 

While the expat lifestyle offers freedom and adventure for workers, it's essential to prioritise your health and wellbeing. Allianz Partners’s international health insurance plans help protect expat individuals, professionals, students and families as they work and live abroad. Explore our plans and choose the right international health insurance for you.