Remember that you are in this together. A move abroad is not an easy feat, and your partner and children are going through the same highs and lows as you. It is important that you work together as a team and prepare this big step together. It pays out in the end: Afterwards you can all relax and enjoy your new home.
To make sure that you are all working towards the same goal, you need to include your family in the expatriation process. On the practical side, this means dividing the tasks for the move fairly between your partner and yourself.
It also means you should sit down together and find out more about the place where you are going to spend the next few months or years, or even the rest of your life. Browse real-estate websites to find comfortable family accommodation, read travel guides to explore local sights and traditions, or study the local language together. All these steps will help you all feel more excited rather than isolated and confused about your move.
While you are struggling with your move abroad, try not to forget about your children. It is easy to simply brush their worries aside, but remember that they are often as nervous as you are. After all, they are also in on your move abroad. Dionne (33) and Perez (34), US expats in India and parents of two, remember:
“We set aside some extra time early on to explain to our children why, when and where we were going to move. They are part of our family after all, and we wanted to involve them in the process” Dionne says. “We gave them little tasks like helping to pack their belongings in boxes or planning a farewell party with their best friends. It really helped to make them feel like they had a say in it, too.”
As you move abroad, you will always be leaving someone behind. Thus it is important to find an easy and fun way with which to keep in touch with your loved ones.
Social networks and blogs are good ways to let everyone know you have arrived safely. Once you and your family are settled in, you may want to consider setting up a blog or photo gallery with snapshots from your new home. Sending letters and postcards the old-fashioned way is also a nice way to keep in touch. Children will also enjoy receiving packages and mail from their old home too!
It is important to have some sort of regular schedule for keeping in touch, so your friends won’t feel neglected in the “out of sight, out of mind” way. For this reason, Sigrid (37) set a fixed time and date for phone calls to her family and closest friends after her move abroad from Norway to Brazil two years ago.
“Even before I left, we made plans together for the holidays when I would come home to visit them. It gave us all something to look forward to. So, our farewells weren’t all that sad when I did actually move abroad.” Staying in touch with friends and family abroad can give you a sense of security and belonging, particularly in the beginning of your assignment. Needless to say that it is even more important for your children.