Eva Kempinger is a career coach and human resources advisor with many years’ experience in the corporate and public sectors. Eva accompanied her partner to France, Germany, Italy and the United States –and succeeded in sustaining and developing her own career whilst abroad. Eva’s personal experience of setting up a new life in different countries makes her the perfect coach for expats and their partners all over the world. Eva knows what it means to live abroad and the challenges expats face.
For the past 20 years, Eva has worked as a Human Resources Advisor and career coach in international and Dutch companies such as adidas International, Nestlé and the Dutch Public Employment Services (PESs) CWI. She has a broad knowledge of different working environments and practices. Eva has a Degree in Human Resources Management and in Career advising. She speaks fluent German, Dutch and English.
“I wanna go home, oh, oh I wanna go home.”
“Should I stay, or should I go?”
Two famous songs as well as two ponderings which accompany expats abroad once in a while.
In my life as an expat too, similar thoughts came into my mind. There is no doubt in my mind that sometimes I just loved living abroad. But other times, those thoughts, those ponderings, were ‘knocking on my door’ and I had to deal with them.
Deep, deep down in my heart I wanted to go home a long time ago, but my mind, my own rationalizations of things, was actually holding me back. I thought going back would somehow mean I was a bit of a failure.
At first I was so excited about living abroad – Paris; Milan; Chicago; Amsterdam. I lived in the best neighborhoods and money wasn’t really the problem. All of a sudden I was having to admit to friends and family that, even after years of trying to integrate, I still felt a fish out of water. Friends and family tough, they just didn’t understand or sympathize with my ‘problem’ at all. They thought I was spoilt and not at all unhappy – but they only so the ‘surface’ of my living in famous cities and fabulous foreign countries.
Something else that held me back from moving back home was that I would lose my ‘expat-status’. Being an expat, gave me a feeling of being different, in a good way. I had the idea that I was more ‘acknowledged’ compared to just being ‘a local’. Furthermore, complaining about the locals and host country made everything so much easier. Comparing my culture back home with the new one was fun and felt somehow comfortable. It always felt good if I could blame someone else for my expat-diseases- loneliness, homesickness, and, not to be forgotten, culture shock.
On the other hand, I also knew, that I had to deal with those same insecurities and fears back home too. The grass is always greener on the other side (home!), even when we know it isn’t true. Living abroad had some advantages as: no family matters just around the corner; no annoying, boring family gatherings, just to mention a few.
The question in my head was repeated more and more often, the longer I stayed abroad and the more I tried to deny it. My thoughts and emotions were a rollercoaster…
Instead of answering the question directly, I decided to learn how to be at ease with myself, to be proud of who I am. It was the best decision I ever made!
It has been a long road finding my true. authentic self, but it was worth it. If you are at ease with yourself, you feel happy and satisfied, wherever you go, wherever you are.