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The mentor and the expatriate share information about careerand development issues. The mentor helps his client to avoid makingmistakes in the foreign assignment and provides him or her culturalguidance. Mentoring mostly takes place in the form of task assistance,career assistance, psycho-social support and role-modellingBut not only the expatriate, also the spouse should be monitored ona regular basis in order to assess the couple’s stress and adjustmentprogress. The mentor should also help the expatriate and his spouseto prepare for repatriation, ideally six to nine months prior to thedomestic relocation.
Ideally the mentor keeps the expatriate up to date concerning informationfrom the parent-company. The mentor also organizes home visits, buthe also visits the expatriate in the host country as well.Ideally the mentor is a senior-level individual with connections to finda suitable job for the expatriate upon return.4.4.SupportingthetrailingfamilySome authors state that the top reason for early return of theexpatriate from a foreign assignment is the spouse’s inability to adapt to theforeign environment and culture. While the expatriate has a certain degreeof daily routines and a social network within the foreign subsidiary,most trailing spouses do not work while they are abroad and often havemore difficulties in establishing social networks and are therefore moreisolated.Only few companies provide adequate training for the accompanyingspouse. The best strategy is to assign the spouse a mentor or helpthe spouse establish networks with host-country nationals. The parentcompany should try to provide the spouse with job opportunities in theforeign location.Another useful method of adaptation involves interaction between theexpatriate’s family and other established expatriate families. This wouldallow the exchange of information, facilitating adaptation and serve to builda stable network of relationships for the expatriate’s family.Also the assistance to expatriation children is not sufficientlyconsidered within companies. Therefore meetings with other expatriatechildren should be provided, as well as cross-cultural trainings. Thesetrainings should focus on the children’s language skills and increase theircultural sensitivity.
4.5.MaintainingcommunicationduringexpatriationMany re-entry problems following international assignments couldbe prevented by the maintenance of effective communication betweenthe expatriate and the parent company. This helps to ensure regularinformation regarding changes in the organization policies, projects, plansand staffing. The expatriate should also try to keep personal contact withother members of the organization. Home visits also facilitatecommunication and are especially important in the months prior torepatriation.