I went to conferences and came back with a tribe! #globalmigration #resilience #transition #psychologistmovingabroad #belonging #loneliness

Since moving to Australia, it has been hard to find where I fit in, where I belong. Professionally, it was a big hit to my self-esteem and confidence to have to go through a long process of registration (one full year of registration even though I had 6 years of practice and a doctorate). Nevertheless, I soldiered on and felt like I moved mountains. I got on with the process, applying for many jobs, trying to find supervisors. I met some people along the way: some that welcomed me in and helped me flourish, some that are looking from a distance about what I do next (unsure about me, insecure about their own skills?), some that I felt were taking advantage and some that I can no longer trust. It is interesting how people react to welcoming new people in their professional communities.

Did you know I had been feeling incredibly lonely? feeling tearful as I write…”You may say, but Pascale, you are so bubbly and amicable, how could you be so lonely”…”Yes I speak to many. I like social gatherings. I also felt lonely…”

Three long years of sheer hard work, persevering, bouncing back after yet another closed door, reflecting after disappointments about my next steps, constant worries about what I do wrong, whether there are cultural differences that impact on my sense of belonging…

Loneliness should be taken seriously as there is more and more evidence that it contributes to significant difficulties and mental health issues. It also contributes to isolation and social segregation. I was not quite at that point, but also realised that I needed to make changes.

I decided to break this cycle of professional loneliness. I increased my time working in an organisation where I felt valued for my skills and ways of working, where I was able to meet many people working in my field. I also registered to a first conference thinking I needed to meet people working in my field. I went to this conference…all on my own…

At the first conference, I met a lovely group of people who invited me in, who invited me for dinner. They made it clear I belonged because of my professional affiliation. They also explored further steps as to how I could join their team and professional activities. They established routines at the conference so I knew where they would be to find them. This moment was particularly touching and was done in such a natural manner. I also met lots of other people and some in particular who were there at the right time, listened and shared a significant moment.

I came back enthusiastic, invigorated professionally and looked into more conferences. I put myself out there and wrote lots of presentation proposals. In the space of a few months, I had a poster and presentation accepted, and I joined an on-line peer support group. I was inspired by many along the way. I listened, evolved and connected even more. I joined the new team with people from the first conference. A lovely team where I feel I belong and share so many professional interests. It felt as I met my professional tribe.

At the second conference, I connected with many and felt part of the tribe. Some people from the first conference were there again. I was introduced to many by new colleagues and took the time to talk to new people. People thought of me and made connections for me. I presented my poster which gained interest by many. I met some more lovely people who laughed, reflected and joined in with dinner adventures. I felt I belonged. I felt supported. After the conference, I continued to connect with many.

At the third conference, a week in Bangkok, on my own…well…this is the cherry and icing on the cake! The top of the Everest Mountain! The rainbow after the rain! I was not on my own for very long because I met…

…A global migrant tribe like me, thanks to #FIGT2019…

Not only I connected with these people personally, but professionally it was as enriching…

  • after 10 years of researching and working on the topic of transition, resilience and army families, there I was talking to people who clearly understood these concepts personally and professionally…
  • after writing a blog and website about global migration, there I was presenting about it and learning about many other blogs, websites, books and socialising with writers…
  • after starting on-line supervision with a number of professionals, there I was learning so much about what others did in the international coaching and counselling space…
  • after yet another global migration experience and feeling loneliness deeply, there I was meeting my tribe, a global migrant tribe…some from Scotland, some know relatives where I am from, some with family connection, some who live 45 minutes from me in Melbourne…and all who shared the international migration experience…

On my return, I came back invigorated, full of energy and ready to take on new projects. I registered to a number of groups and professional organisations to ensure people know about my work and company. I connected with many as I realised how sheltered I was. Social media apps have not stopped buzzing since then. I feel truly connected. It feels like I don’t want it to end…

There are so many new projects evolving: watch this space! Continue to share and follow the 3ppsychologies journey…you are the reason it will be able to flourish, because I went to conferences and came back with a tribe!

8 Comments on “I went to conferences and came back with a tribe! #globalmigration #resilience #transition #psychologistmovingabroad #belonging #loneliness”

  1. Hi Pascale, thanks for sharing this. We need more honest, vulnerable sharing of this kind in the EP community. You may find it helpful to explore the Hofstede country comparison tool if you haven’t already done so, it helped me as an Englishman in Canada.

    • Interesting the country comparison. I would certainly say there are some clear differences between Quebec and Canada, UK and Scotland, which then would skew the culture comparison. The subcultures are needing to be taken into account. I would certainly agree that Canada is so much more feminist and perhaps I have felt this abroad. Thank you for taking the time to reflect on these issues.

  2. Thank you for your article! Very interesting to hear! After having lived and worked in Australia for 4.5 years and recently returning to the UK I am now truly understanding the concept of reverse culture shock within my professional life. It is an interesting concept and one that I would love to hear yours and others opinions on? Keep up the good work!

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