Moving abroad with children can be one of the most rewarding experiences in life, and it is becoming more and more common nowadays among families who see living abroad as something they must experience at least once in their lifetime. But moving abroad with children is not an easy task – apart from financial factors, emotions and expectations need to be factored in before jumping on a plane, in order to ensure a successful transition. Cigna Global, a specialist in expat healthcare, has gathered 5 top tips for moving abroad with children, to help you ensure that your relocation can be a beneficial experience for all of the family.
Moving abroad is a major change for your family, and the process can become stressful for children – being honest and open about the relocation will help to manage their expectations and alleviate some of the stress. When researching about your new host country prior to your move, include your children in the learning process; show them pictures of the place and take them through some of the things that the new location will have to offer. Communicate openly with your children in order to assess any concerns they may have. Making them feel supported and reassured will help them to feel more ready for the change.
Finding the best possible education for your children will involve researching and planning in advance. Every country’s education system is different – make sure to find out about both local and international schools in your new location, and examine the benefits and disadvantages of each option. Doing your research in advance will allow you to make an informed decision and manage financial expectations.
International schools can be helpful for expat children who are unaccustomed to the language in their new host country. This type of school offers children the opportunity to learn the native language while being immersed in the culture, alongside peers from many other countries. International schools can also broaden prospects for further studies abroad, as they usually provide pupils with the opportunity to choose between a local university or one in a different country.
No matter where in the world you go, ensuring that you and your family have a good health cover is vital. Be sure to understand the implications for expatriates in your new country of residence. If you are eligible to receive subsidised healthcare in your host country, make sure you find out about any gaps or exceptions in your coverage. International health insurance companies like Cigna Global offer a wide range of levels of expat medical insurance cover, with plans that can be tailored to your needs. Cigna Global offers a high level of care facilities for expats in over 200 countries and territories, with the flexibility to choose from three levels of cover and five optional additional benefits, including outpatient care, medical evacuation, and vision & dental care. When purchasing a private policy, it’s important to research, compare, and consider the premiums.
Learning about the new culture and engaging with your new community can help children to adapt and have a smoother transition. Encourage them to forge new friendships, and help them to do so by interacting with neighbours and locals in the area. In addition to enrolling your children in a new school, take them to events nearby or get them to participate in local sports. These activities can present great opportunities for meeting locals and making new friends that can help children to settle and enjoy their new environment.
It’s important to try and maintain strong ties to your home country, and for children not to lose contact with their roots. Keep in contact with family and friends, and keep your traditions by preserving special occasions you celebrated in your home country. Keep items like photos or objects from your home country in your new home abroad; this can help your children to keep memories alive.
When returning to your home country, bear in mind that children can experience reverse culture shock. They can also feel confused about the culture they belong to as a result of mixed environments. Make sure you communicate constantly and openly about their home country and help them to understand the difference between their country of residence or other places where they have lived abroad.