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Reviewed by Jack Magnus for Readers' Favorite
A Great Move: Surviving and Thriving in Your Expat Assignment is a nonfiction occupational resource book written by Katia Vlachos. Vlachos describes herself as a “seasoned expat” who has lived in a number of cities, countries and continents around the world over the last thirty years. She gets that most people wistfully dream of a job assignment to a different country. There’s the allure and excitement of new places to see married to the security of having your company paying the way and handling much of the financial burden. Many get on board with expat assignments, however, without fully considering the impact such a change in culture and lifestyle will have on them, their spouses and their families. While Vlachos is quick to list the amazing benefits that accrue to those who are able to experience and live in different cultures, she’s also aware of the unseen costs such drastic changes can burden families and spouses with. Vlachos covers each aspect of an expat assignment, including the impact on the individual, their spouse and their children, and she includes questionnaires and tables for readers to fill out to assess how well they’ll fare with the opportunity they’ve been offered. She also includes an extensive bibliography for further reading.
A Great Move: Surviving and Thriving in Your Expat Assignment is a well-written and fascinating book about an admittedly fascinating subject -- working for your company in a foreign locale. While she appreciates the real benefits to be had from being a citizen of the world, she’s also very aware of the difficulties participants often face. Vlachos’ writing style and presentation make this book not only informative, but also a real treat to read -- whether an expat lifestyle is in your foreseeable future or not. The stories she shares of expat couples and families illustrate most eloquently the real pressures expats face, especially the spouses who often have to cope with culture shock and child care on their own.
As I read her book, I found myself considering the issues she raises in light of my own plans to move within the next few years. While not a job-related move, the aspects she recommends people consider in deciding to accept expat assignment easily apply to a move within one’s own country. Issues such as needing to be near a large body of water, being in a supportive community that shares many of your values and making sure your spouse’s needs are also being met apply equally in any relocation plan. What a pleasant surprise this book turned out to be. I went in expecting to experience vicariously the expat lifestyle and found a handbook designed for me and perfectly timed for my relocation efforts. Whatever your current situation, A Great Move: Surviving and Thriving in Your Expat Assignment has much to offer. It’s most highly recommended.