Even with all the technology kicking about these days that makes communicating with people on the other side of the world even easier than walking in the park, heading abroad for work is one of the most incredible ways to give your career a boost, which is probably why so many people do it. Not just that but living and working abroad is a super way to grow as a person. That said, relocating with a family in tow is no doddle, even if the perks are too good to be true.
Don’t get us wrong. The chance you have is one in a million (slight exaggeration but you know what we are getting at) and it is sure to be packed with excitement, opportunity, memory-factories and the chance to explore a new culture. However, it is only natural for you and your family to feel, you know, slightly, well, apprehensive. That doesn’t mean you aren’t delighted and over the moon about the change that sits on your horizon, it just means you lot are human.
The first thing we need to say is, it’s stressful. Relocating abroad with a family is super-stressful. It’s one of those things that involves a ton of work. Just think back to your last house move (which was probably a local move that saw you hire a van for a day). Now multiply that by about 1,765%. No joke.
The reason it is so stressful – or can be so stressful – is because there is a whole lot of adjustment that needs to take place. We’re not thinking about the parents so much here, we’re thinking about your kids. You are uprooting them from their friends and family and asking them to leave everything that is familiar to them behind so that you can all go off on some jolly to a far-flung part of the earth where you will have to start again. Yes, you are doing it for all the right reasons (read: your kids) but they won’t get that, and that’s where most of the stress will come from.
Luckily, we do have some good news to deliver; there are a few things that you can do to make the transition a bucket and half easier. So, without further ado, here are our top tips, tricks and bits of advice to help you move abroad with your family. Enjoy.
Research Like Your Live’s Depend On It
Because they do. So, before you make any plans to move abroad and commit to a decision, what you want to do is as much research as humanly possible on the destination you are weighing up. You want to research the country and the city and uphold the fact there is no such thing as too much information. You want to paint a picture where every brushstroke of detail is visible to the naked eye.
We’re talking cultural differences, lifestyle changes, what the economy is like, the political landscape, the people, how diverse it is, what sort of expat community they have, how safe and secure it is, what the infrastructure is like, and the education system, as well as other things like healthcare, banking, taxes, visas, food, traditions, etiquettes and what sort of things your family can do while you are at work. All that and we haven’t even mentioned employment or property requirements, both of which come into play. The more you know the better. Period.
Go On A Recon Mission To Your Destination
Of course, don’t call it that. Call it a holiday or a vacation and head there with your entire family. The reason we urge you to do this is that the internet and books can only tell you so much; there are some things that you will want to see and experience first hand. Even if you are only staying there for a short period of time, that is what you will get. You will get a more hands-on understanding of how life out there works and what it will be like for you and your family should you commit to a move. Just make sure you understand there is a massive difference between going on holiday somewhere and living there, by which we mean try not to focus on all the positives.
Instead of a hotel, get an Airbnb. Instead of eating out at restaurants each night, head to the supermarket and cook. Instead of going there in peak season when the weather is great and tourists are everywhere, go in the off-season, when it is raining and quiet. Forget about just sing the tourist attractions and take trips to hospitals and schools instead. Try and start up some conversations with the locals too and seek out some expats that you can stay in contact with throughout your decision-making process. And, if you find that you are really swaying toward a move, then use this as an opportunity to start setting up a few things in preparation for a move.
It’s Time To Talk the Talk
If their first language is not the same as yours then you need to start learning and some of the more basic phrases as soon as possible. If you are heading to somewhere like Cape Town where there are multiple official languages, but most people can speak English then learning Afrikaans may not be so important. But if you are heading to, say, Jakarta, then you will want to make an effort to start learning their local dialect. This isn’t so much to get you speaking fluently faster, it is more about making your initial transition that much smoother. It will help you make friends with the local that much sooner, which is going to benefit you all.
The first piece of good news is, your kids will be more adept at picking up the new language. The second piece is, you don’t need to sign up for language lessons. You can just as easily get some CDs, or an app like Duolingo or a Youtube channel to teach you. That way you can all learn together at a time that suits you and in a way that is fun. That is important, the fun part. That is what will take this away from daunting and into an adventure.
A Roof Over Your Heads
When you are looking for a place to call home when you move abroad, your first step is knowing where to look. It is that simple. If you are heading to somewhere like Cape Town, then you can probably get away with scanning through Airbnb and Rightmove in order to find a place. However, if you are heading to somewhere like a Jakarta or a Hong Kong, then your best bet is to find a reliable local source, which would be http://rumahdijual.com/jakarta-pusat/apartemen-murah and https://hongkong.asiaxpat.com/forums/ respectively. The next thing you need to consider is your family.
If you’ve lived in a large-ish townhouse with a generous garden for the past few years, then being cooped up in an apartment is not going to go down well. Even if it is just for the first couple of months, it will ruin the transition. However, they may find moving into a condominium quite exciting. Another little tip is, If you are moving with a company and they pay for accommodation, just make sure you ask for pictures first. It could be you would rather have an accommodation budget and find your own place.
Education Is As Important As It Gets
We won’t delve into too much detail because there is no need, but one of the most important parts of your relocation needs to be the education side of things. Of course, the teaching assessments are going to vary wildly from place to place, so make sure you look for schools and curriculums that align with your children’s ages and development.
So long as you prioritize the language side of things, and know which you and your child would prefer, you should find the rest slots into place. A local school may help them pick up the local way of life quicker and make friends that live locally, but an international school could suit their learning needs better. There is no right or wrong.