Family & Relationships
Taking on an expat assignment is stressful enough as it is. If you are planning on moving to a foreign country with your entire family, there are a few things you should consider beforehand. Whether you are moving with your partner and children, or just your partner, or whether you will be separated during your expat experience, keep in mind that it is difficult for everyone on board.
Moving with Children
As children sometimes seem to sense things happening before they are said, it is always a wise decision to inform your children of your impending move immediately. This way they can mentally begin preparing for this huge change in their lives. You must go through the same process with your children, let them help with the moving preparations, have them get information about their soon-to-be new home online or at the library, and give them an opportunity to say goodbye to their friends properly. In addition to enabling them to take part in the move, you should make sure to check your new destination’s educational system and find an appropriate school for your child. Although children may learn languages at a young age faster, not every child is the same. Beginning with some language training in your home country may prove to be beneficial for your child in the long run. Once you have arrived in your new home, your child will need to acclimatize to his/her new surroundings. Despite perhaps being stressed yourself, keep in mind that a child may not understand your reasoning for the move as you do. Help your children explore their new surroundings by taking them on trips, setting up play dates with other expat or neighborhood children, etc. Third-culture kids are a phenomenon many forget, and these children may need special attention, as they may feel neither properly at home in their country of origin, nor in the country they currently reside in. We’ll give you some tips on how parents may better understand this situation.
Expats and Their Partners
To make your experience abroad as delightful as possible, you should make sure that your partner is happy as well. This goes both for the expat sent overseas on an official assignment, and the partner who comes along. Of course, we shouldn’t forget those couples who come from different cultural backgrounds and may face difficulties in certain relationship or marital issues. In addition to learning the basics of life abroad, it is of utmost importance that you communicate with each other and that you provide emotional support for each other. Living in a foreign country can be a wonderful experience, yet at times also daunting. To prevent your relationship from falling apart due to an overseas assignment, we have put together a few articles that may help you better cope with the situation. Even if you are both happy with living overseas, the society you have chosen to move to may not accept your relationship status as such. Non-traditional expat partners, such as gay and lesbian couples, as well as some interracial couples, may face difficulties abroad. Here it is always important to have a support network, which may even come from the company originally sending one or both partners abroad.