A family move abroad can be a truly exciting experience for the whole family but often, it can be a little scary too – especially for children, who often fear change. In order to make sure you get the excitement across, and have your whole family on board for the move, you simply need to plan and prepare well. Your IFA recruitment consultant will be able to give you some support but you’ll need to cover domestic necessities, which we’ll take a look at below.
The first steps
Practical things you can do to begin with include making sure you have valid passports and have met any necessary visa requirements – eligibility terms vary considerably from country to country. It’s wise to make a family trip to see your GP in plenty of time to have any relevant vaccinations and treatments and it’s wise to have a written record of everyone’s vaccinations and treatments too. Likewise, visit your child’s school and teacher and get a record of schemes of work, progress and achievements for the new school they will be attending. You should also familiarise yourself with what your local British Embassy or Consulate can do for you: e.g. help with local contacts for doctors, dentists, or lawyers, money transfers, lost passports, and speak to local authorities on your behalf.
It’s not all practicalities though
Moving the family is much more than just a practical exercise, however. An unfamiliar environment without friends can be very unsettling for children and adults alike – even a house move in the same country can be stressful enough without the added challenges of a new language and/or country. Children can be prepared by learning as much as possible about their new home before the move. Maps, photographs, films and blogs can all be used as a ‘family resource’ to share information, stories, and research projects, and to generate excitement about their new adventure. If a new language is involved, lessons should be started as soon as possible – as a family.
One of the biggest problems when moving abroad is the loss of your social and support networks. Expatriate communities exist all over the world and can be a great source of support so you should try to track them down before you move and establish early contact. Your recruitment advisor should be able to put you in touch with other nationals working in the area and they will be able to answer the dozens of questions you’ll be likely to have – from the best schools to the great places to rent apartments/houses.
Talk to your advisor, plan well, focus on the positives, and let the adventure begin!