Have you been offered a job overseas? We now live in a global economy and many employees work for multi-national companies. This gives many workers opportunities for living overseas and experiencing different cultures.
If this is the first time you’ve thought about moving overseas it can seem a little scary. Moving to a new country is always challenging and when you have kids it is even more stressful. You will worry about how they will cope with the change of culture and possibly with the change in climate. You will also have concerns about how they will settle into a new school or nursery.
However, most families who have moved overseas have found it to be a very positive experience. The kids have enjoyed some wonderful life experiences and it has been an enriching move for all the family. This is a move that you should not attempt without doing some research and getting some support from the experts.
Getting ready for the move
You will need to decide what you are going to do with your current home. If you are renting then the decision is easy, you simply give notice that you want to end the tenancy or lease. Don’t do this until you have confirmed the date that you are leaving the country and starting your new job.
If you own your house, you can either prepare it to sell or you could rent it out whilst you are overseas. This would be a good option if you are only staying away for a year or so or if you are not sure that it is going to work out. Your home will be waiting for you when you get back. However, you will need someone close by to manage the property and deal with any issues whilst you are away.
Finding out about your new home
Some employers will allocate you a relocation adviser who will help you with all aspects of the move. If not, there are plenty of books and guides you can read. It is important to find out about the cultural adjustments that your family will need to make.
There are also plenty of practical aspects to consider. How expensive is it to live in the city that you are moving to? Be realistic about how much it will cost you to live. Will the compensation package that your employer is offering you allow you and your children to maintain the same lifestyle that you do at home in the US?
For all families, the biggest expense will be rent. Choosing the right place to live is essential and you must do your research before you get there. If you can find out about a new condo launch you could view it once you arrive. That way you know you will be moving into a fresh, clean apartment with all modern facilities and amenities including swimming pools in many cases. This would be an ideal home environment for a family.
Think about where you will work, where the kids will go to school and what you like to do as a family when you are relaxing. Take your time and choose the best location for you. It is expensive and time consuming to have to move again. In general, the further away from a city center you live, the cheaper the rent.
Transport is another big cost and you will need to decide if you want to buy a car or use public transport. It will also cost you to educate your children if you use the international schools.
Organizing the paperwork
Hopefully, your employer will support you with organizing the relevant paperwork to enable you to work. In most counties, you will need some sort of employment pass or permit.
Your financial paperwork also needs to be put in order. If you are keeping your US bank accounts and credit cards, you need to be sure that you can access the accounts and manage your money online so check with your bank before you leave.
Arranging schools for your kids
If your kids are old enough, they may like to be involved in researching new schools before you arrive. Not all schools will have vacancies so check this out. Ideally, you should do this before you choose a home as you will want to be somewhere near the school. There will be plenty of information on schools in your new location on government websites. International schools are a popular choice. They provide excellent standards of education and an impressive range of extra-curricular activities.
Some schools will require inoculation or vaccination records for your child so get this arranged before you leave the US. Choose a school that fits in with your child’s academic, sporting and musical interests. Does the culture and ethos of the school fit in with your family values? If it is possible, try to talk to parents who already have children at the school and seek their opinions.
Making your new home
Of course, your children will want to bring all of their belongings and toys with them but what about pets? Government websites can give you lots of information on how you can import pets. It is likely that your pet will need an import permit and there will certainly be veterinary and quarantine laws that you will have to comply with.
Will your pet fit in with your new lifestyle? There are some restrictions on breeds of dogs that you are allowed to keep in some countries. You also need to check leases and tenancy agreements because some will not allow pets or limit the types of pet that you can have.Finally, thank about how you will transport your pet. You may choose to travel with them or send them on ahead. The most important thing is that you make the move as easy as possible for your pet and for you!