Build a RAFT to Navigate Transition

Moving to a new country, embracing a different culture and adapting to new languages and environments can be overwhelming and lead to a rollercoaster of emotions.

The RAFT model, developed by David C. Pollock and Ruth E. Van Reken, offers practical strategies to effectively cope with the challenges and emotions we experience when moving from one country to another. 

In this blog, we will explore the essence of the RAFT model and its significance in making the transitions smoother. 

The RAFT Model

RAFT stands for for Reconciliation, Affirmation, Farewell and Think Destination  and these four stages are designed to help people in transition. And from my own experience I can tell you, it is invaluable for a smoother transition. 

  1. Reconciliation involves acknowledging and reconciling with the emotions that come up when saying goodbye. It is also about giving and receiving forgiveness, about mending relationships and mostly about closure.  Lack of closure can stand in the way of us being able to properly grief and move on.
  2. Affirmation is about appreciating and valuing the experience gained, the connections made and the impact it had on us as individuals. Affirmation is about saying THANK YOU to the people who made us feel at home, who touched our life and gave us a sense of belonging. And to let them know they will be missed.
  3. In the Farewell stage we say goodbye to people, routines and places. By properly saying goodbye we find closure and are able to start the new journey with an open mind and a positive outlook. Farewells are about celebrating the wonderful memories and the time spent together. Farewells are painful but at the same time they have a healing effect as they make you realise how much you have got to be grateful for. 
  4. Think Destination is all about looking at the future. This last stage is easily forgotten during the transition process. Whilst dealing with the past and the present we tend to not make time for the future which is a pity because it’s in this stage that we mentally prepare for the new country.  This involves gathering information about the new destination, understanding its customs, language and values and about setting the first step in creating meaningful relationships by already making connections even before you move.

In Practice

The RAFT model is more than just a set of steps to follow. Whilst building your RAFT you are addressing the emotional aspect of leaving, affirming the positive experiences gained, saying a proper farewell and mentally preparing for the future destination. 

By recognising, addressing and reflecting on emotions at each stage of the RAFT model, you gain a better understanding of yourself which empowers you to handle common challenges of transitions like culture shock, loss of identity and feelings of isolation much better, and in the end enables you to navigate the transition with greater ease! 

Over to you! If you have used the RAFT in previous or current transitions, share your experience with us! 

Ready to start building your RAFT and create authentic connections in the process? Don’t hesitate to reach out! 


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