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 kids of your impending move immediately. This way they can prepare themselves mentally for this huge change in their lives. You must go through the process with your children, let them help with the moving preparations, have them learn about their soon-to-be new home, 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 the educational system of your home-to-be and find an appropriate school for your child. Although children may learn languages faster at a young age, not every child is the same. Beginning with some language training in your home country may prove to be beneficial in the long run. Once you have arrived, your kid will need to acclimatize to his/her new surroundings. Despite perhaps being stressed yourself, keep in mind that your children may not understand your reasoning for the move. Help them 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 often 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 their partner who comes along. Of course, we shouldn’t forget those couples who come from different cultural backgrounds and may face conflicts in their relationship or marriage. In addition to learning the basics of life abroad, it is of utmost importance that you communicate with and 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 cope with the situation. Even if you both enjoy your life overseas, people in your host country may not be as accepting as you might wish them to be. Non-traditional expat partners, such as gay and lesbian couples, as well as stay-at-home dads, may face difficulties abroad. Here it is always important to have a support network, which might even come from your employer.