‘Crafting careers in a new context'.

Updated: Feb 5

A collaborative research project with Lincoln University, New Zealand.

You look exactly like I imagined’ said Faye while shaking my hand. And according to her that was a positive thing. This was the first time we met.

I grinned, sat down, and we started to review the literature.

Faye is together with Rianne and Mohini part of the research team from the Lincoln University. Together with Ella and myself we represent India, Holland, the UK and Canada. We each have a passion for living abroad.

When I met Faye for the first time, we had a kick-off meeting for this project with the entire research team from the Lincoln University.

The best part of this joint project is that we all apply our talents, because we are motivated by a collective mission.

A collective mission to expand on the current knowledge and support available for people moving abroad, just like ourselves. With an international team, the topic of research is close to all our hearts

For example, we understand that international relocation can be challenging for dual career couples, that there are different stages to the process, from the moment an assignment is considered, right up until the moment when you decide whether to leave or stay.

A journey of ups and downs, for the entire family. Some decisions may be simple, while others are difficult or costly. We know that the needs for each family differ greatly, and within each family, we know that professional, logistical and social support perceived to be important by the employe may be different to those of the spouse.

Most importantly we have learnt that organizations need to provide realistic overviews both prior to, and during an assignment.

With the outcome of the research Women Living Abroad is able to bridge the gaps, between expectations and reality, and give employees and their employees support along that journey.

We pay special attention to themes like:

· Family and career life cycle.

· Involvement in the decision-making process.

· Male spouses

· Organisational support

· Realistic expectations.

· Female careers.

· Relationship, communication, support between partners

What makes this research remarkable?

This research is especially focused on the male partners who decided to follow their spouse abroad. The results of the project will be submitted for publication in academic journals and on the Women Living Abroad website.

Research brief

'Partners of international employees: Crafting careers in a new context'.

Research has indicated that international relocation can be a challenge for families, and in particular for dual career couples. This research aims to explore how the participants managed the challenges of relocating to a new country for their partners’ career.

Relocating to a new country for their partner’s career may result in an interruption to their own career trajectories and occupational identities and sense of self. We also investigate the support provided by expat organizations to the partners. This research will apply the career crafting matrix (Vidwans and Du Plessis, 2019) to the participants to understand how they developed new possible selves to manage these challenges.

Let us introduce the research team:

Dr. Mohini Vidwans, Lecturer, Faculty of Agribusiness and Commerce, Lincoln University
Dr. Mohini Vidwans, Lincoln University

1. Dr. Mohini Vidwans, Lecturer, Faculty of Agribusiness and Commerce, Lincoln University

Originally from India, Mohini arrived in New Zealand to pursue a second PhD in 2012 and craft a new identity.

Her primary research area is gender and careers. The underlying theme of Mohini’s research is discrimination (gender and race) and her work helps identify the crafting strategies used by trailblazers to achieve success in challenging circumstances which could be useful for the present and future generations. Mohini has taught a variety of courses at Lincoln University since 2015; her specialisation being Human resource management in the 21stcentury. She has published papers in reputed international journals and presented papers in several international conferences focussing on the theme of gender, race and careers. Mohini is passionate about conservation and is an active contributor to several sustainable projects in Christchurch.

2. Faye, White, Research Assistant at Lincoln University.

Having enjoyed the experiences and challenges of travelling and working worldwide, Aotearoa is now home.

‘I have been blessed with a vast and diverse work history. One that has seen me working at the very top of the mountain in some of the world’s best ski resorts, and to the very ends of the Earth in Antarctica. '

But in recent years, and fuelled by a fierce passion and deep connection with our environment, I completed a Bachelor's degree in Environmental Management. Now I am excited to move on to the next stage in my life, working with people and our natural world.’

Rianne van Zalinge, Wellbeing Advisor, Lincoln University
Rianne van Zalinge, Wellbeing Advisor, Lincoln University

3. Rianne van Zalinge, Wellbeing Advisor, Lincoln University

Rianne has an MSc in Cultural Anthropology and Sociology, Diploma in Counseling and Coaching, both as a Life coach as well as an intercultural Coach.

​She completed her Master’s research at the University of Amsterdam. Her MSc thesis entitled “Where is Home? Dutch expatriate children return to the Netherlands”focussed on how children form their identity when they move abroad and then re-establish themselves when they return back to Holland. She has a passion for exploring the many issues faced by expatriates and their families when both relocating to foreign locations and also their re-adjustment when the expatriates return ‘home’ after a period of time.

Due to her highly mobile upbringing, during which Rianne lived in 11 different countries and moved 22 times across 6 continents. She truly sees herself as global citizen. 'I made it my mission in life to help you find happiness and a sense of belonging whether it is in your work or home life'.

Currently, she resides in Christchurch, New Zealand, with her Australian/Greek husband and two sons.

4. Ella Hanzon, owner of womenlivingabroad.com.

Ella Hanzon | Women Living Abroad
Ella Hanzon | Women Living Abroad

She is born in The Netherlands, currently living in Canada where she moved about 10 years ago.

When she thinks about where womenlivingabroad.com will be in 3 years, she will be providing training globally to people and organizations.

The outcome of providing excellent training and coaching services will be that the number of women moving abroad, pursuing their dreams, will increase tremendously each year.

5. Colette van Boxtel, owner womenlivingabroad.com

Colette van Boxtel | Women Living Abroad
Colette van Boxtel | Women Living Abroad

Born in the Netherlands, Colette is an experienced expatriate who used to work in both South America and European countries before moving to New Zealand when her husband was transferred for work.

Though she finds living overseas “positively addictive,” she agrees that it’s a challenge.

“You need to be a quite adventurous and curious person,” says Colette. “If you don’t like a challenge then it can be difficult. ”


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