Moving a family to a foreign country is no easy task. Traveling with kids is enough of a challenge as it is, let alone making the adventure a permanent change. Not only are there new cultures and languages you may have to adapt to, but there are also different laws and regulations that you must learn and follow.
If you’re moving to a foreign country for work or any other reason, your mind is probably bogged down with endless to-do lists and worries. Luckily, you’re not the first person to take your family on a global experience, and you definitely won’t be the last. If you’re a parent currently considering moving abroad, make sure you do these things before you make the trek. Any parent knows how tough travel, alone, can be with kiddos—moving internationally is a whole other ballgame!
1. Secure an International Work Visa
Chances are, you and/or your partner will want to secure a job in the place where you’re going. Unfortunately, it’s not as simple as moving there and handing out resumes—you’ll need a visa. Obtaining a work visa is easier and quicker in some countries than others. Research the different work visa laws in some of the major countries across the globe to see what you and your family will need to do.
From interview and background check requirements to how long your visa will be valid, different countries have different processes and policies. You can expect to wait anywhere between 4 days to a full year before your visa is processed making you eligible to work abroad. This means you should look into applying for a visa as soon as you know you’ll need one so that nothing delays your departure.
2. Start Adapting to a New Culture
If you or your kids have only ever lived in one place, relocating can lead to serious culture shock. This, on top of missing home, can make for a very difficult adaptation process. Instead, do your research before you jet off and have conversations with your children so they know what to expect. Start introducing the new culture into your life, even if it’s as simple as introducing typical cuisine at meal time so that your kids are less overwhelmed with different menu options. With adequate preparation, your family will feel at home in your new country as soon as you land.
3. Meet People on Similar Adventures
Simply talking to someone who understands your situation can be extremely comforting. There is something soothing about talking face-to-face with someone who has been in your shoes and knowing that they survived. This alleviates some of the uncertainty of leaving your homeland that you know and love.
It’s also a good idea to network with people who may be living close to you abroad so you feel less alone after your move. If you are moving for a job, try to build relationships with co-workers who are also making the move. This is especially beneficial for your children so they feel like they still have a strong group of friends and family in a new place.
As a parent, taking your child from the place they’ve always known can seem like a very risky move. But it can also help them grow exponentially as a person, improving their cultural and adaptability skills. With the right preparation, moving abroad doesn’t have to be as stressful as it sounds!