Living in another country can leave travelers with a sense of excitement and adventure. Regardless of the destination, the best part of living abroad is the numerous cultural experiences that you can have. Moving abroad as a family has its own caveats, but these can be handled with a little preparation.
Employment and work visas/permits
Those seeking employment in another country can do so in several ways. If you are already employed, then you might apply for a transfer. If you are not currently employed but are moving overseas with your family, then you can enlist help from a job site or a professional employment service. Once employed, you should apply for a work visa/permit before traveling overseas.
Work visas are assigned for specific job positions such as “academic researcher” or “skilled farm worker,” and some countries require a notarized contract signed by both the employee and employer. Some countries only allow for one spouse to work, so families moving abroad should make a financial plan.
Medical and school records
Parents should research appropriate healthcare for themselves and their children if this is not supplied by the employer. They also need to enroll their children in school. Before moving abroad, you should check to see if any existing medical and dental insurance can be used while living overseas. In any case, you need to gather all health and dental records to take with you.
As for education, you can prepare by learning the requirements regarding vaccinations and exams for your children to attend school in your new country. You should give all new schools information about your children’s educational and medical histories as well as copies of their birth certificates. To ensure that your children are learning appropriately, you will want to contact overseas schools ahead of time to ask about their comparable grade levels.
Depending on the type of assignment that your family is sent abroad on, public schooling might be available for your children. For example, dependents of military members living overseas might attend school on the base or in an English-speaking environment. Families living abroad are also able to choose from the many private schools in and around their regions. If you are moving to East Asia, for instance, then your options include institutions such as international schools in Hong Kong.
Adapting to your new country’s culture and lifestyle
Moving to another country, while exciting for many adults, can be intimidating for children. Naturally, they may experience homesickness, which can become serious if it is marked by withdrawnness, anxiety, or depression. Adults might also find leaving familiar territory to be depressing and disorienting, particularly if there is a language barrier and a major cultural difference. You can adjust and help your children adjust by surrounding yourselves with familiar things, engaging with your new community and discovering new foods and traditions.
The opportunity to live abroad is one that can help families broaden their horizons and worldview. The experiences alone are invaluable, and the moving process can be made simpler through careful planning ahead.