Whether you’re moving abroad to take on a new job or you’re just looking for a change of scenery, there are all sorts of reasons why people choose to emigrate. But the idea of doing it can seem a lot more complicated if there are children involved. It can no longer be a simple impulse decision when you’ve got your family to think about. So here are the important things to consider if you’re thinking of moving abroad with children.
Do your research
The most important thing you can do if you are considering moving abroad is to really research your options thoroughly. For example, you need to consider the cost of living and how it differs from the UK. This is especially important if you are moving abroad for career opportunities – there’s no use moving somewhere for a better salary if that salary actually equates to a lower standard of living.
If at all possible, it’s a great idea to visit the country you’re thinking of moving to. It’s only when you’re actually there that you’ll be able to get a real feel for the place. Moving somewhere new without having seen it will only make it more difficult for you and your family.
Things to consider
Even if you’re sure that the location that you’re planning to move to is ideal for you, there are still plenty of things to think about. Making a huge decision to uproot your life will make a massive impact on the way you live, so you need to give it extremely careful thought. You owe it not only to yourself but also to your family to be fully aware of what you are hoping to achieve. So ask yourself the following questions:
Is this a long term solution? If you are only moving for short term gain this might not be the smartest move for you. Children need stability in their lives and if you think you’re likely to move on again in a few years’ time it may be best to consider alternative options. On the other hand if you can see yourself relocating and enjoying a better lifestyle abroad, now could be the perfect time. Children can be very adaptable to change especially at a young age.
How will your children be affected? Some children are more equipped to deal with a move away from their home than others. If your children are very young, they are unlikely to notice the change of moving away. Alternatively if you have older children who are already settled in their school and their own lifestyle it may be more difficult for them to adapt.
Do you have the right to move away? If you are no longer in a relationship with the other parent of your children it may be legally complicated to move your kids away from them. In this case you would need to seek permission from the other party. Failing that, you would need to apply for a court order to relocate.
Arguably the most difficult aspect for a family moving abroad comes from having to organise new school arrangements for the children. Not all countries offer state education and in other cases, children need to have residency in the country before they are allowed to attend school. If you are moving somewhere where your language is not the first language or the language used in education you’ll also need to think about whether it is possible for your child to learn in a traditional school here.
For young children it may be possible to give them lessons in the local language. Alternatively you might need to consider international school or home schooling for at least the first year or so of education.
The practical side
Once you’ve decided to make the move you’ll need to take care of some of the practicalities of moving your life. That means you need to tell anyone relevant that you are moving away. This includes the obvious things like the tax office and mortgage provider but you should also consider informing your doctor, dentist and electoral register.
In terms of your children it’s important to tell their school that they no longer need a place and also to make any other relevant service providers aware of your move.
Take the time to also understand how your banking will change where you are moving to. It may well be possible to keep the same bank account but this will differ depending on your provider and the location. It’s a smart idea to make an appointment with your bank to talk through your different options before you move.
Find ways to integrate
Remember that the secret to making a success of your new life abroad is that you need to embrace your new home. It’s always hard to move away from the life that you have built, but if you can enjoy being in your new community it will make it a much easier transition.
If there is a large community of expats, this can be a great place to start as these people may have been in a similar situation to you and will likely have experienced some of the same problems. You can also start to integrate with locals so you can feel at home.
This article was provided to Selfish Mum by Mike James, an independent content writer working together with Marbella’s largest and longest-running real estate agent Panorama.es; who were consulted over the information in this post.