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Tips for moving abroad with your family

by Sarah Dunsby
25th Jan 24 12:54 pm

Moving abroad with your family is an exciting new adventure. But it can also be daunting, especially for children who might have only ever lived in one place. With the right practical steps though, you can help to ensure your family feels involved and eager for the move.

Visit first with your family

If it’s possible, one of the best ways to make your move abroad with the family a success is to first take a trip there as a holiday. This will give everyone a chance to experience first-hand what the country is like and help to get everyone excited for the move.

If you’re unable to visit, you should show your children videos and photos of where you’ll be moving to. You may be able to find tourist videos online, or you could even take a walk around your new hometown via Google Maps. Look at the local restaurants and amenities, such as leisure centres and activity clubs. This will help everyone to become more familiar with their new home and know a little of what they can expect.

Let children contribute to the planning

Wherever possible, you should let your children be involved with the planning. Give them some control over certain aspects, and make sure you get their opinion on important factors such as the area you’re moving to and the home you’ll be living in.

Making sure everyone is involved will help to ease the move and make it a success. You children are likely to be more excited if they have been able to help guide the process somewhat.

Research schools with your children

Consider what sort of school will be best for your children. Younger children might do well in a local school, as they might be able to pick up the language easily. This will also have the added benefit of allowing them to completely submerse into the local culture.

Older children might benefit from an international school, where they’ll be able to learn the local language but also be taught in the language they already know. You should talk with your child about what they might prefer.

When you know what type of school you want, you should then look to see what places are available. With your child, look at each school online, and if possible, visit them ahead of the child starting there.

Get international medical insurance

Your family’s health will likely be your top priority. One of the best ways to look after this while you’re abroad is with international medical insurance. This will mean you have access to the best possible healthcare and facilities while you’re abroad. The right international health insurance will provide you with a flexible, comprehensive policy so you and your family are covered for any situation.

In some countries, it will be a requirement of getting a residency and/or working visa that you and your family have some sort of health insurance. In other countries, it may not be mandatory but it could be advised, as the public healthcare provision could be a lower quality than you are used to. Research the healthcare in your new country to ensure you are prepared and have the necessary insurance in place.

Keep connections with friends and family back home

While you’re likely be keen for your family to make new friends in your new home, you should ensure everyone stays in contact with loved ones back home. This can ease some of the stress and unfamiliarity of moving to a new place, and help ensure no one becomes lonely or isolated.

Make sure your children can keep in touch with friends and family via social media, messaging, or calling them back home. You should also keep the option for visits open, both for your loved ones visiting you in your new home and your family going back to visit friends and family.

Plan your finances and budget carefully

Before you move, make sure you budget for every little thing, and ensure you have contingency money in case something unforeseen arises. Your budget will need to include visa fees, if applicable, flights, initial accommodation costs, permanent accommodation, as well as spending money for the initial few weeks, such as groceries and also leisure activities.

You can look online to find what the cost of living could be in your new country, for things like accommodation, food, and utilities. Depending on where you’re moving, you could find the cost of living is considerably lower or higher than you’re currently used to, so you’ll need to adjust accordingly.

Start learning the language before you move

If you’re moving somewhere that speaks a different language, it can be hugely helpful to start lessons before you move. This should include everyone in the family, even young children. When everyone has some sort of foundation in the new language, they’ll likely find it much easier to assimilate and communicate with the local people.

If appropriate, you could all start lessons, either online or in-person. Teenage children may prefer to use an app to start learning, such as Duolingo. Younger children might find there are online video lessons and games directed at their age group to help them learn the new language.

Embrace the new culture, but keep some home comforts

Once you’ve moved, you should aim to keep a balance of embracing your new culture but also keeping some familiarities from home. This might be as simple as shipping some of your most-loved furniture, so you can have some real home comforts while you’re abroad.

You can also look for food from your home country, or ask friends or family to send care packages with your family’s favorite snacks. At the same time, you should look to try new food and the local cuisine, to help everyone feel more at home in your new place.

Overall, you should aim to stay positive but allow room for your children to offer their opinion. Try not to force them into doing anything they don’t want, but lead by example to encourage them to get involved with the new culture.

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