Hello from our regular weekly column "Ask Your Counsellor", where we are collecting anonymous questions from our dear readers/clients about their struggles and problems.

Expat life brings a unique set of challenges. Whether it's struggling with the cultural and social adjustments, the emotional rollercoaster of dating abroad, or the complexities of family and relationships, it's easy to feel overwhelmed and isolated.

That's why we're introducing "Ask Your Counsellor", a weekly column where you can anonymously share your struggles, seek guidance, and find solace in the words of our experienced counsellors.

Our counsellors are here to provide you with a safe space to express your deepest thoughts and concerns without judgement. They'll offer valuable insights and empower you to navigate the challenges of expat life with greater confidence.

So, don't let your worries linger in silence. Reach out to us and let our counsellors help!

Our Writer:
Good afternoon,
I am a female, in my late 30s. I have been living in 4 countries before (mainly due to my partner’s occupation). In Prague already for almost 8 years now. Broke up with the partner and stayed for work.

My parents used to call me “citizen of the world”, and I admit I always managed to adjust to new countries and circumstances sooner or later. My philosophy was “My home is where my partner is”.

Naturally, when my social status changed (6 years ago), my base was shaken. Current reality is that I lost the sense of home (for quite a while already). And while I am quite comfortable in Prague, I don’t feel it as home. At the same time, I don’t belong in my home country either. I don’t know where my home is, and it scares me.

What I am seeking is probably generic feedback/advice on how to address this self-identification crisis.

Feel free to contact me for any further questions you might have.

Thank you!

Kate:
Dear Writer, thank you for reaching out to us for advice and sharing your experiences.

Well done on travelling around the world and adjusting to new countries and circumstances. This experience is not for everyone but it enriched you in getting to know different cultures, customs and social norms. When we travel and build a new home, far from “home”, it is normal we can sometimes feel rootless. This is what you are perhaps experiencing now, feeling like a tree that was moved from place to place, hindering its prosperity in the absence of any real roots. You acknowledged it yourself, you are going through a self-identification crisis, where you lost your sense of belonging and purpose, as your identity was closely tied to your partner. You are perhaps asking yourself questions such as “Who am I really?”, “Where is my home, what should home feel like, where do I belong?”. It is completely understandable to feel unsettled and lost in a situation like this.

Firstly, appreciate yourself for what you have accomplished so far, exploring other countries and their cultures, being able to adapt and being independent. This all benefits your personal growth. Also, your current situation of feeling like you lost your identity and journey is understandable and it is normal not to feel okay when we are dealing with existential questions and we cannot see the other side of the bridge.

Try to reflect on your values and aspirations independently of your past relationship. Consider writing a journal to explore and acknowledge your thoughts and feelings. Try to explore if there is someone else from the expat community who experiences the same or similar situations. Sometimes sharing and knowing we are not the only ones can provide validation and support. Consider how you can cultivate a sense of belonging whether it is in Prague or wherever you find yourself in the future. This can include building relationships with locals or exploring cultural activities. Do not hesitate to seek support from a mental health professional, as therapy can help you find the tools and strategies how to navigate this identity crisis and work on building a more stable sense of self. Last, but not least, learn how to be kind to yourself. It is okay that you feel lost in the present moment and uncertain about the future. It takes time to find a sense of belonging and purpose and requires patience on the way to self-discovery.

I wish you the best in exploring who you are, where you belong, what your values are and what you want to do in your life. It seems like another “trip/travelling” full of adventure and fun on your life journey! You have already shown incredible strength in navigating previous challenges and I believe you have the capacity to overcome this one too.

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