Leaving and returning

Thorough preparation is the key to a successful mission abroad in international cooperation, also for accompanying persons. Returning home can be just as challenging and deserves advanced planning and attention.

The first mission, in particular, throws up many personal, professional and administrative questions. These must be considered and addressed before signing the contract.

Preparation: programmes and self-responsibility

The support offered by employers in preparing for a mission differs considerably. Ultimately, the responsibility falls on the person going abroad to carefully think through the issues. The preparation period can last from a number of days to some weeks. Some organisations view it as a long-term process and provide an introductory period of employment in Switzerland, a specific course (for example, safety issues), or a long language course before the posting.

Partners and family – many questions

Leaving with accompanying people requires additional preparation: clarifying the possibility for professional employment for the accompanying person, questions about schools and child care arrangements, learning a new language, and much more. Some organisations also assist accompanying persons to prepare for the mission. In all cases, you should be aware that the Swiss model of dividing work within a partnership and working part-time can often only be continued on a limited basis.

Returning is a challenge

Returning after some years abroad can be just as difficult and challenging as arriving in a foreign country: things that were previously familiar now seem unknown; the social situation has changed; perhaps you even view your own family situation differently.

Professional reintegration often brings with it a phase of uncertainty. This can be caused by the situation in the labour market or by the fairly common desire of returnees for professional reorientation or development. It can help to think through these various aspects of return while still abroad to help you prepare for a softer landing.

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