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Moving overseas with kids? What you need to know

Are you a family planning on moving overseas with kids? Moving to a new country can often be an overwhelming process, especially if it’s your first time. Factoring in children and their education on top of that, and your list of things to consider almost doubles.

Seeking support from a relocation consultant can help significantly in making the process a whole lot smoother. This week, we’ve teamed up with Expat International, a leading global relocation service, to get their take on the most important things for you to consider when making the leap to live abroad. We’ve asked them all your most pressing questions so you don’t have to – have a read of the interview below!

What are some of the most important factors for families to consider when moving overseas with children?

Important things to consider are the children’s ages, their current stage of schooling and the year of education they’ll be at when returning home, as well as the social and academic impact the move may have on them. Also, when moving between northern and southern hemispheres, the 6 months difference in school years influences whether the child will move forward or back half a year in the new country, and then re-adjust to a similar situation upon return.

Obviously, the health of each child is an equally important consideration. If they have any type of disability, Expat International’s education consultant should be advised at the outset to ensure that the child’s needs in the destination can be met prior to accepting the position.

Generally, the younger a child is at time of moving, providing they are in good health, the easier the adaptation is. Teenagers often find the disruption to their accustomed way of school and friends distressing.

Ideally, how long would a family’s timeline be from deciding to move to arriving at their new home abroad?

There is no ideal timeline, but generally it’s preferable to arrange the family move so a child can enter the school at the beginning of their new year or term.

What common challenges can families face when first making the move abroad with school-age children?

Amid the excitement of arriving in a new location, the overwhelming experience of a new place, new home, new school, making friends, and often-time grief of leaving old friends may present challenges in varying degrees for many months.

It’s important for parents to focus on establishing a new and re-assuring environment for the children. This should include many and varied activities and exposure to the new experiences ahead of them.

In general, how long does it take to get necessary visas and work permits?

There is no blanket answer to this question as grant of the transferee’s work visa and residence and study visas for the family can take several months for an increasingly greater number of countries. Our education consultant will be able to provide advice on the approximate processing time for the relevant destination.

What is the general process for enrolling children in to a new school in a different country?

Expat’s education consultant will guide you on the schools within the destination city offering the appropriate education for each of your children and the possible availability of placement in either private institutions, or local-government-funded. When you’ve made your selection through interviews with the enrolments officer by video or personal visit, and agreed on placement, a non-refundable deposit is generally required for private schooling.

How does Expat International support families in particular, with the relocation process?

Expat’s Account Managers and Consultants understand what the employee/assignee is after and can advise on appropriate suburbs and schools. Once the criteria are set for the property search, the consultant accompanies the employee to view properties, assists with the application and negotiating the lease.

We also visit the schools and assist with applications. The consultant also advises on local amenities, shopping, banking, health facilities and much more. Expat also provides online easy access to our digital platform with information on all aspects of living and working in the new city.

The support of a relocation consultant relieves much of the stress of moving and ensures that the employee can perform well in their new role from the beginning.

What ongoing support is available for families who have already moved to their new country?

Expat International’s Relocation specialists and Education Consultant, with their specialist training, empathy and specific understanding of the new location, are always on hand to support families through uncertainties and times of urgency.

What are your top tips for families who are adjusting to their new environments?

It may seem a mountain to climb initially, especially when the comforts of your home environment and friends and family are far away. But it’s worth the effort for sure. It’s fun to explore new experiences together, join clubs and teams and start making new friends. In the early weeks especially, engage the family in discussing your experiences of settling in together. Talk about your highs, and your lows, and agree on a few actions to work towards overcoming any difficulties. Also, celebrate each family member’s progress in working to become more at ease at school, at work, and socially. And don’t forget to tell your far-away friends and family of those highs (and lows too)… it helps!

Expat International have bases both in the UK as well as Australia to assist you whatever stage you are at with your move. If you’d like to find out more about how Expat can support you and your family with your move, get in touch with them today via the following:

Email: info@expat.com.au

UK office: +44 0 795737 0378

Melbourne office: +61-3-9670-7799

My Online Schooling is an online learning platform that offers a flexible full-time English Curriculum-led education to children all over the world. You can find out more about how we can support your expat child with their learning here.

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