Portfolio of Kimberly Johans

A collection of articles created during my stint as a journalist at The Macau Daily Times

Ripples begins work with expat stress seminar

Posted by Kimberly on October 21, 2007

By Kimberly Johans
Published in The Macau Daily Times
October 21, 2007, page 4 (560 words)

Ripples Psychology Ensemble held their first seminar on dealing with expat stress at Bookachino yesterday.
The new formed practice has been looking into a variety of ways to help Macau residents deal with personal and professional issues.
The seminar looked at the effects of moving to a new country, dealing with a language that is unfamiliar, strange sights and sounds and cultural difference that me be difficult to understand.
Led by Pia Astrup, a Danish qualified health psychologist and nurse, it touched on issues that were close to the hearts of new Macau residents, Joe and Jennifer.
“Moving to any new place, it’s not home until you make it home,” said Jennifer, who added that “it’s just the classic case of adjusting in an expat world.”
Having resided in Macau for the past ten months, she admitted that the problems were numerous rather than singular.
“For me it’s that I’m not working and my husband is away a lot,” she said, adding “the climate, the pollution, lack of clean green space” to the list, which she laughingly said was “pretty long.”
Originally from Canada, Jennifer and her husband Joe, have come to Macau as a result of Joe’s job as a pilot.
“Language is another barrier,” said Joe.
“For myself the biggest adjustment was finding and getting things done, the communication,” he said adding that “I didn’t really know what I was looking at.”
Jennifer explained that coming from “clean cool air,” the lack of outdoor activities made her feel “trapped inside.
“It’s a different experience for a lot of people, so if they come from a hot or humid climate or are accustomed to a lot of pollution, those things won’t affect them as much as me.”
She stressed that she would “love to see the ‘no smoking’ law be put in place.”
Asked at what point she could expect to feel more acclimatised to the area, Jennifer responded with “I think it’s a bit early to ask me that.
“I’m adapting to so many things and it’s not just Macau. I don’t have the same freedom and independence I had at home,” she said.
Joe appeared to be more comfortable with life in Macau than his wife, recalling someone’s advise that a year in Macau would see him wear long-sleeves and beanies in winter, but that hasn’t been the case yet.
“Now that it’s getting cooler I like not having to shovel snow. I think I’ve acclimatised to the weather,” he said, adding that his travels a s a pilot allow him more freedom to get out than his wife.
While Jennifer has joined the International Ladies Club of Macau (ILCM), she admitted that it wasn’t so simple, with a lot of the women there having children , which “creates a different dynamic as well.
“I have been volunteering with ILCM and am on the committee this year,” she said adding that they took a trip to the mainland to assist charities and has also taken language lessons at the IIUM.
In the end, both agreed that the only way to get through this experience was to see it as an adventure.
While the seminar was informative, attendees were low due to the long weekend which saw several expats head away for a break. The group may re-schedule another session in the future to accommodate those that missed out.


One Response to “Ripples begins work with expat stress seminar”

  1. Stan said

    Hey Kim! I didn’t realize you had a “news blog” up! Nicely done! ;D

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