Working overseas as an expat worker can be a good alternative to working on a FIFO (fly in fly out) roster for many workers in remote locations. However, if your partner or spouse is not working in the new country, it can be quite hard to find friends and create a support network in a new location.
Here are some ways that a ‘trailing spouse’ can find new social connections in a foreign location:
1. Connect with other parents
If you and your partner have children, making friends with the local school parents is often a great start to meeting people in your area. Even if your school is not a designated school that teaches English as a first (or second) language, there will often be parents that appreciate arranging some playdates with students and parents from a native English-speaking background, such as Australia.
Additionally, many schools like having parents with an international background serving on their parents and community committee, so committing to joining the school community can be a good way to make connections.
2. Connect with the volunteer community
Even if you spouse is not legally allowed to work in the new country, they can often find opportunities working as a volunteer. English-speaking partners can often find work helping out in child services, such as orphanages or hospitals, or with expat services. There may also be potential to help out with charities that deal with foreigners, such as expat services for health or social networking.
3. Connect through paid work
Finally, if your spouse has the right to work in the country that you live in, they can look at doing some paid work, even on a casual basis. As a minimum, even untrained foreigners can work as English tutors, helping students to correct small errors in speech and writing that can show someone is not a native English speaker.
There may also be opportunities for bilingual speakers to work in more technical fields, where they can translate and transcribe different findings. If your spouse does earn money for their work, it is a good idea to get advice from an expat tax service to ensure that you address any tax obligations at home and abroad, for example with your Australian tax return.
If you need help or advice with expat taxes, get in touch with our experts today.