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The opportunity to pull up stakes and move to another country may occur for a variety of reasons. The most usual cause is an attractive new employment opportunity. Whatever the reason, relocating is undeniably a daunting task with a host of unique challenges. Differences in language, culture, and even food choices can present difficult hurdles for families, particularly the children. This together with the standard physical and psychological issues that arise during a move can put tremendous strain on parents and children alike.
Whether moving to Mexico or Malawi, taking the opportunity to visit the country before moving there is ideal. Planning to visit the locale for a week or two may only give the family a small glimpse of what living in the country will be like, but it will help to decrease any fears and plant the seeds of familiarity in the minds of the entire family, especially the kids. Spending time in the city square, visiting the local mall or market, even catching a popular sporting event will help children relax with the idea of this new place to live, at least to some degree. If visiting is not possible, make the effort to purchase guide books, maps and even novels set in the new country or city and spend time together looking through them and talking about them.
Open communication is one of the most important pieces of advice when it comes to moving with children. Being honest and forthright about the move; including them in certain aspects of the process as much as possible, and listening to and answering their comments and questions with an open mind and heart are all vital to making the transition a positive one.
Considerations when moving overseas
First of all before moving overseas it is advisable to conduct a good deal of research on the country. Take the time to learn about the goings-on in the country, reading local newspaper if available online and even visiting message boards and online communities originating from said country.
While many countries have made English a required language, and in some cases the official language, it is a good idea to learn at least some of the local tongue. Most residents of foreign countries appreciate the effort of English-speaking visitors to speak to them in their own language; it is also a great opportunity for the children to have a few words and phrases so that adjustment to school and new social circles is not so jarring.
Schools are another important family consideration. The educational systems in different countries vary greatly and grade levels of accomplishment may not transfer to other countries in the same way. Taking the time to research the academic curricula and the system of the new destination will help the children make a smoother and less stressful transition into a new school.
Moving overseas is much more complicated than moving across town or across the country. It may take several months to get all the family’s possessions moved, meaning that putting things into storage such as furniture may be necessary. Most cities offer a variety of storage options; for example, the cheap storage Denver offers ranges from climate-controlled units to long-term storage.