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A Research Paper

Presented to Professor Felida B. Tucker-Rustia

Of the College of Arts and Sciences

New Era University

Quezon City

In Partial Fulfillment

Of the Requirements for the Subject,


Ma. Jermaine Joy M. Toledo


Bhelle Ashley Bonrostro

September, 2009


As people decide to live and work abroad, it may seems that they make

decisions for themselves. In reality, most expatriates make decisions with their family’s

welfare in mind. It is really true for expats who bring their children with them as they

move from one place to another. They will not be the only ones who have to adapt to a

foreign country and to a new culture, but also their kids and spouses will have to do the

same even expats who do not have children will still have to consider how their future

kids would adapt. Children of expatriates find themselves in an environment where their

peers consider them strange because of their ethnicity. Children who have already

friendships back home may find making new friends difficult that may cause of

experiencing difficulties such like they would encounter difficulties in with a new

educational system. A lot of expatriate kids do poorly in their first year of school in a

new country. The environment is also a problem by adapting the cooler or hotter

weather which is also hard to kids.

It is important to remember that adults and children adapt to their environment

differently. Adults may adapt cultural and ethnic easier than kids do. Since adults are

more mature, they can easily understand the origin of cultural and ethnic differences

that kids may find it harder to do so. Parents sometimes forget that kids are not mini-

adults, they’re kids.

They have different emotional responses and needs. That’s why it is very

important for an expat parents to pay close attention to how their kids are adapting.

Lines of communication between a parent and a child should be always open.

Statement of the Problem

This study will determine the problems faced by expatriate parents to their growing

children at a certain place where they newly reside. Thus, it will seek to answer the ff:

1. What are the problems faced by expatriate parents to their growing children as

they reside to a new country?

2. What ways should be done by these parents to help their children in adjusting to

a new environment?

3. What are its effects to the behavior of their children?

Scope and Delimitation

This study will be limited on the expatriate parents which has problems regarding

the adjustments of their growing children in a new place where they decide to live. This

study is mainly focused to the expat children about the challenges in facing a new

cultural environment. This expat children are also the respondents of the study y which

they centralize their experience.

Theoretical Framework

The theories which will guide the researchers in forming this research are:

Classical models of culture shock-W curve. This theoretical framework is illustrated in

figure 1.

This study is primarily anchored on the theory of Ellen van Bochaute which will

very useful in understanding the expats’ children adjustment.

Conceptual Framework

Including the theories in this study, the researchers came up with a Conceptual

Framework illustrated in the diagram as shown in Figure 2.

The diagram illustrates the variables showing the problems unto adjustments of

expat children by having a new cultural environment.

It further shows the cultural and behavioral aspects that expat children may

encounter. Under the cultural are the problems which they can faced while the other

aspect may show the effects of their living in a new place through implications by which

children mostly show their behavioral changes.

Problems Faced by
Expatriates to their

Behavioral Changes that

Leads to Problems-
Cultural Problems
Adapting to the local culture

Learning the local language Anger

Finding new friends Disappointment

New educational system

Figure 2 Conceptual Framework of Schematic Diagram Showing the Difficulties and

Changes of the Expat Children.

1. There are common problems faced by expatriates to their children.

2. There are ways to help their children in adjusting for a living.


1. There is a significant explanation in accordance of this study by which culture

shock and the problems of expatriates to their children are related due to the

environmental and sociological aspects.

Definition of Terms

The following terms were defined conceptually and operationally for a clear

understanding of their use in this study.

• Culture shock - the anxiety and feelings (of surprise, disorientation, The act or

an instance of exhausting.

• Ethnicity [(eth-nis-uh-tee)] – Identity with or membership in a particular racial,

national, or cultural group and observance of that group's customs, beliefs, and


• Ethnocentrism is the tendency to believe that one's ethnic or cultural group is

centrally important, and that all other groups are measured in relation to one's
own. The ethnocentric individual will judge other groups relative to their own

particular ethnic group or culture, especially with concern to language, behavior,

customs, and religion. These ethnic distinctions and sub-divisions serve to define

each ethnicity's unique cultural identity.

• Exhaustion- the state operate within a different and unknown cultural or social

environment, such as a foreign country.

• Expatriates (ĕk-spā'trē-āt') – (in abbreviated from, expat) is a person temporarily

or permanently residing in a country and culture other than that of the person’s

upbringing or legal residence.

• Immobilization - the act of limiting movement or making incapable of movement;

"the storm caused complete immobilization of the rescue team".



This chapter is a review of some related literature and studies which will help the

researcher in conceptualization of this particular study.

Related Literature

John Schroder (2003) cited when most people think about the term "immigrant",

the thought of someone leaving their home country because of poverty or limited work

opportunities, government persecution, and the general desire to live a better life all

comes to mind. While this image certainly applies to a number of people seeking

something better by immigrating to Europe or the United States, the same can be said

for the large number of middle-class citizens leaving those very same high-tax countries

that the world's poor are trying to get into. The only difference is, many of these modern

day immigrants are called "expatriates", and are leaving to save themselves from

becoming poorer.

For Americans especially, unless you are a native Indian, your ancestral roots

can be traced someplace else. That is to say, someone in your family tree left their

home country to seek a better life or opportunity in the United States. They could have

left for a variety of reasons. Perhaps it was the great potato famine in Ireland. Perhaps

it was war in Europe or elsewhere. Perhaps it was to live in a country where you did

not need permission from the government to change apartments, travel or go where you

please. Whatever the reason, someone in your family left their home country to live

"Free", or live better economically speaking. Believe it or not, Americans, Australians,

Canadians and Europeans are becoming "Expatriates" for the same basic reason.

The literal definition of the term "expatriate" or "expat", could mean someone that

is giving up their residence or citizenship. Often, because people are doing so for tax

benefits, the term "tax exile" is used in conjunction with this terminology. In truth, we

can really say that the term "expatriate" is synonymous with "immigrant", although we

are talking about a new form of immigration. Some people will say that leaving one's

country is unpatriotic. In reality, it is no less so than what your grand-parents or great

grand-parents had done before you. They moved on to someplace that made sense.

Someplace with less government interference, someplace where they could find better

financial or economic opportunities.

Related Studies

Most expatriate parents, often with the best of intentions, have the wrong

approach when it comes to communicating to their children about moving abroad and

the impact their new lifestyle will have on them. Although children are the most

important people in a parent’s life, they are hardly ever involved in the initial decision-

making process of moving. We all assume that children do not suffer very much from a

transition, that they learn a new language quickly, that they make friends easily and that

they often embrace their new surroundings far faster than their parents. Moreover, it is

easy to conclude that they will not be confronted with the adult distress of culture shock

and the long, slow process of acculturation. “Children are more flexible”, we tend to

Talking about culture shock is talking about coping with a great amount of

changes. Expatriates; adults, children, families, singles and couples, need to adapt to a

lot of changes in a short period of time. The way each of them copes with it is different.

The biggest difference between adults and children, or often also between the

expatriate and the partner, is the fact that one chose it and the other didn’t.

As an adult, who has chosen expatriation, you enter the model in the adventure stage,

which is marked by excited anticipation. The little misfortunes you already encountered

are still reasonably acceptable because of the excitement about the expatriation and the

numerous positive first impressions. It gives you the hope and sometimes the illusion

that everything will work itself out.

After a while you notice that confronting different ways of doing things, which was

earlier seen as surprising and interesting, is now an obstruction. Things are not that In a

third stage it is becoming more difficult to build up relationships with the locals. Since

you do not see them as “equal” you search your fellows. This will make the acculturation

difficult. You are sick of trying, you’ve done your best but now it’s not fun anymore. At

this moment culture shock is serious; sleep deprivation, mood swings and depressions

are not rare in this phase. The locals get blamed for everything and the only viable

remedy you see is the return home.

Those who do not get weighed down with culture shock learn to adapt faster. The

phase of acceptance towards your own values and norms has replaced ethnocentrism

or the third stage. Humor towards extremes of both cultures sets the scene for
understanding and adjustment. Easy as you had expected and coping with all the small

changes is exhausting you.

State of the Art

There is a major difference between those who have chosen expatriation and

those who haven’t. Children will start on the other side of the model. They will go

through the normal change process. They are shocked when they hear about the move

and want to stay home. Even weeks after they have arrived in the new country they do

not want to be there and dislike everything. They are fighting against the change. After a

while, they realize that there is nothing they can do and are willing to try. Nevertheless,

they keep looking back. Only when their feelings start to become positive, step by step,

about the whole transition they will adapt and find themselves in the adventure stage.

The disconnection between children and their parents stems from the feeling that

their parents don’t understand a thing. This is related to fact that parents look forward

during the whole process.

There are many tips and tricks on how to help children cope with changes, but a

lot depends on your child and the situation. Raising happy and well-adjusted children is

always a challenge, no matter where you live. However, when parenting issues are

magnified because traditional support is absent, this challenge is even greater.

Besides being flexible, maintaining routine, good communication, making life exciting

and staying in contact with home, we have learned that it is better to involve children as

soon as possible in the decision-making process. Let them hear your arguments and let
them state their opinion. They are very important family members and they want to be

treated that way as well. Children need time to adapt to differences and try to support

them in conquering culture shock. Very obvious symptoms of culture shock are

boredom, homesickness, irritability, minimum productivity and a sense of loss.