Moving abroad with family can be the opportunity of a lifetime. In relocating your family overseas, you gain the rewarding experience of embracing another culture. Most international assignees rely on a corporation relocation service for help with housing, schools, visas and so on. But daily living tasks like shopping for groceries, and eating in local restaurants are what immerse families into life in a new country, and make moving abroad with family such a rewarding experience.
International Relocation Tips
While an international relocation is full of exciting possibilities, your partner and children may have concerns. Your partner may have to leave behind a rewarding job, there may be elderly relatives to consider, and children will have to say goodbye to friends and embrace a new school. Before diving into this new experience, it’s important that you discuss these matters with your family and determine ways to make the move abroad easier for everyone.
To help make the transition easier, Kent has put together some tips for relocating your family overseas:
- Arrange an Orientation Visit: This trip will give you and your family a glimpse of daily life in your host country. By making your family familiar with your new home, it can make relocating with your family a far less unsettling experience.
- Provide as Much Information as Possible: Ensure that your entire family knows what is happening throughout the relocation process; provide updates on important dates, the progress of visa applications, and when they will need to have tasks (like packing belongings) completed.
- Speak to Other Expats: For a smooth international relocation, it can be helpful to ask returning expats about their transition experience. Seek out their international relocation tips, especially in relation to moving children abroad.
- Other tips for moving abroad with family include:
- Take some basic language training
- Find out about working or volunteering
- Join online discussion communities.
Corporate Relocation with Kids
Every child will react differently to the prospect of an international relocation. Give them time to get used to the idea of changing schools and leaving friends behind.
Kent’s tips for corporate relocation with kids include:
- Stay positive as you talk to children about your family’s international relocation. This helps them prepare for life in a different culture
- Provide opportunities to keep in touch. Your children need the chance to farewell friends and schoolmates. You might also like to arrange ways they can stay in touch following your international relocation, like a weekly Skype session
- Have a lengthy discussion about what an amazing opportunity international relocation is! Explain how exciting getting to know another culture, learning another language and making a whole new set of friends will be.
School Search Tips
School is very important in introducing children to their new environment and helping them to socialise with new peers. Kent’s international relocation advice when it comes to schooling include:
- Do your research. Education varies widely from country to country, so it’s important that you do your research, especially if you have children with unique requirements (such as sporting or music programs), special needs or who are currently participating in a gifted program
- Undertake an in-depth school search. Once you have a short list of schools, enquire about special conditions, like enrolment bonds. It is also important to check the preferred school has suitable openings for your children
- Ensure you have copies of your children’s school or university reports
- Education systems differ around the world, so ensure that your children are placed in the appropriate level and have completed any required assessments
- Meet with principals and teachers, and tour new schools or universities when you first arrive. Take your children along so they feel involved in the process
- Give your children’s current school notification of departure dates
- Ensure that all necessary requirements are fulfilled if you plan on re-enrolling your children in the same school or university upon your return from repatriation
- For teenagers, changing from Australian senior high school education to the International Baccalaureate program can be challenging. They may find that they are repeating a lot of the learning or they may even struggle with knowledge gaps. Ensure they are adequately supported and have someone to turn to if they need extra help.
International Relocation with Pets
There are many benefits to bringing your pet on your family relocation. It is certainly comforting to have a familiar ‘friend’ as you adjust to a new life, particularly for children. But there are a number of factors to consider:
- Does your new home provide a suitable environment (with a backyard, for example)?
- Will landlords typically accept a family with pets as tenants?
- Is there adequate, accessible veterinary care available?
- Where will your pet be housed if your family takes a holiday?
- What are the quarantine requirements (both outbound, and on return to Australia)?
A pet boarding and transport service will have detailed information about making an international relocation with animals seamlessly stress-free.
Finding a New Home
When relocating your family decisions about a family home are among the most important for assignees.
It’s important that there is some certainty as to where your family will be living, especially for children. If your corporate relocation service includes housing as part of your relocation, you will be able to give friends and family contact details before moving overseas. You can also use Google Maps to show children where they will be living; using it to look right at your front door.
There are many variables to securing a suitable family home. International relocation services specialise in sourcing properties near schools, to fit your budget and lifestyle. However, it is likely your family will spend some time in short-term housing or temporary accommodation so you will need to prepare your partner and your children for this.
The arrival of household belongings usually triggers the move to a more permanent address. Your removals and storage company can provide an accurate time estimate on when this will be. It may be a good idea to use this transition period to enjoy a holiday and explore your new host country.
More International Relocation Advice
Planning ahead is the key to a successful, stress-free relocation. For more useful international relocation advice download Kent’s Ultimate Moving House Checklist and Tips for Relocating Employees and Moving Abroad Checklist. These checklists are full of practical tips designed to remove the stress from relocating your family, and make moving abroad a far more enjoyable experience.
An international assignment can bring the rewards of broader horizons, new friends and life-defining experiences. When moving abroad with family, prepare as best you can. And remember, an open mind and a positive attitude are the secret to success.