Expat Life Support as Unique as You are
My name is Carole Hallett Mobbs and I’ll be your guide today on your exciting expat journey!
Please grab a coffee and take a seat while I briefly introduce myself and give you some insight into me, my life, and my goals.
Carole is an Expat Life Mentor and Consultant. Dedicated to supporting you as you navigate the challenges of moving and living overseas with your kids.
For 12 years Carole lived overseas, with her husband and daughter, plus assorted pets. She first moved to Tokyo, Japan in 2006 as a ‘trailing spouse’, with a 5-year-old daughter and two cats.
After five years in Tokyo – including one huge earthquake – the family move to Berlin, Germany with one cat and a new dog. From there, they moved to Pretoria, South Africa and repatriated to the UK in 2018 with two completely different cats, the same dog, and a teenager (yikes!).
So, Carole has experience of both ends of expat life – there and back again!
In 2012 Carole created her first expat support website, the popular ExpatChild.com as an antidote to a complete lack of useful information online about moving abroad with children. Its aim is to provide as many expats as possible access to practical, relevant advice in a quick, easy consume format to make the leap into expat life as effortless as possible.
OK, that’s enough of talking about myself in the third person! Obviously, the above is just a snippet of my whole life, and there’s no way I’m writing an autobiography here – there wouldn’t be room, for a start; I’ve done a lot of stuff.
Moving overseas wasn’t really part of my life’s plan, it just kind of happened.
I’ve never had a definitive life plan, actually, but travel was definitely a big part of of my life. From the day my Dad handed me a Gerald Durrell book when I was seven, I wanted to explore the world, and perhaps work with animals.
For various reasons (mortgage, city corporate career) I didn’t end up working with animals - I collected various pets instead, but I did travel a lot. Exploring the natural world spurred me on.
From backpacking solo around South America and Asia, to working in cities around the world on specialist IT contracts, I’ve visited many countries and had many adventures. So many…!
On one of those international jobs I met my now-husband. And when he came home one day with an idea to apply for an overseas posting, I didn’t hesitate to say an emphatic ‘yes’ to living overseas.
Surely it was just like travelling, only staying in one place a bit longer? I knew I could handle it – I’m independent, a natural problem-solver, got a heap of common-sense and logic, and had moved home in the UK a few times. How different could it be? Hah!
Well… by now we had a child, so her needs came first, of course. Luckily, she hadn’t started school yet, so was at the perfect age to relocate. So, off we went, with an open mind, can-do attitude, positivity and optimism. It worked for me.
In at the deep-end of expat life in possibly one of the most ‘foreign’ countries, Japan. It was heaven! I felt incredibly ‘at home’ in Tokyo and it was a fabulous first international assignment and we had a brilliant time.
Expat life wasn’t fabulous for everyone, though, and I soon met an awful lot of expats who were not having a nice life. Some found living in a different culture, far from home, quite a struggle.
the accompanying partner
There were many reasons for their troubles; such as, assuming they’d walk into a great job on arrival. Or the fact they never saw their partner in the evenings or weekends due to a different work culture. Some found the day-to-day irritations of expat life just too much to handle. Add in the often tricky bits of parenting without help, a lack of close friends and no support network, expat life for some accompanying partners was a less than ideal existence.
I met even more unhappy expats as I moved countries, and started writing the articles on ExpatChild. Many expats have contacted me over the years with a multitude of problems and worries. I’ve attempted to address some of these issues in articles, and more recently, in my podcast.
Most of these expats have moved as a ‘trailing spouse’ for their partner’s international career. Once in their new country, though, they quickly learned there was no helpful, real support for them from the company. Or, if there was, it was irrelevant and, frankly, hopeless. How can someone profess to support expat partners and parents when they themselves have never moved from home and have no kids? I could rant for hours on this, so will stop now.
So, over the years of writing for ExpatChild and other media, I’ve learned a huge amount from other expat parents about the unique challenges we all face when moving overseas with children.
And I have experienced challenges myself, too – it hasn’t all been sunshine and rainbows. For a start, parenting gets more complex as your child gets older. Add an international move the mix, and OMG! Health issues, which are tough enough in your home country, even harder overseas. Trying to choose a school from afar; choosing the wrong school (more than once). School bullying issues. Culture shock even ‘got me’ in Germany. No support network, etc, etc.
And let's not talk about the whole repatriation thing! I knew this was likely to be the hardest move of all - everyone told me it would be. Did I believe them? Well, yes, but I still wasn't prepared for just how hard moving home would be.
Now, while I was prepared for many of the inherent difficulties of expat parenting life – from my research, writing, and contact with other expats – it didn’t stop me feeling stressed and low from time to time. So, how on earth were others coping who hadn’t learned about this stuff?
So here we are!
My aim is to share my expertise so you
know what to expect when you're expatting
I believe the majority of upset expats would have benefited from better preparation; genuine, real-life support from someone who truly understood the unique side of expat life with kids.
Plus, in an ideal world, they would get this support before they moved overseas so that they could perhaps manage their expectations.
By sharing my unique brand of no-BS common sense, insight and expat expertise in personal one-to-one sessions I can provide clarity and confidence to you when you're preparing to move overseas or planning a move back home.
When you're in the middle of decision-making overwhelm, or feeling confused, homesick, or whatever, it's easier to talk things over with someone neutral, yet who truly understands the ups and downs of expat life. I'm here for you.
"Carole is a warm and easy person to speak with. She has tremendous experience in the challenges of living and moving overseas and moving back to the UK. She can give practical insights and to help you think of problems in new ways and potentially see things more objectively.”
Brendan S - Expat Espresso Client
Brendan S - Expat Espresso Client
“I was homesick, feeling isolated and missing everyone and everything about London and the UK. Covid made expat life even more difficult in a new country where I was unable to make new connections. I was seriously considering moving back which would have had a massive impact on my family, particularly my children who are teenagers. Carole helped me appreciate that what I was feeling was not unusual, and in fact, was quite common when combining a major international move with a pandemic.
With Carole’s personal experience of living overseas in many locations for many years and then returning to the UK she was able to remind me that there are nearly always options. And her honest assessments on the practicalities of moving children of exam school age were invaluable.
Carole is a warm and easy person to speak with. She has tremendous experience in the challenges of living and moving overseas and moving back to the UK. She can give practical insights and to help you think of problems in new ways and potentially see things more objectively.”
Get my expat expertise on your new life
And make your expat dream come true
Book a call with me and let's get your show on the road!