By Robyn Vogels
As you prepare to zip up the suitcases and move abroad – with much trepidation, no doubt – one concern might be to do with your children. You might not see it, but the future is bright for a child who has been exposed to the global world and prepared for a life as a global citizen.
Once again, we discuss this topic with Robyn and Hendrika, authors of “Your DIY Move Guide”.
In our previous article, we looked at how to move across the world with children. Today, we want you to consider the benefits. The long-term, life-changing benefits. From my personal experience moving my own children, I want to assure you that these benefits outweigh any short-term concerns you might have. Think about it, will your concerns about the children still be relevant five years from now?
In the 27 years I spent moving around the globe and helping others relocate, the positive connotations outweigh the negative by years. Usually, I find that anything which is concerning the parents pre-move is likely to be short-term issues such as, “Will my children like their new school? Will they make friends? Will they miss their old friends?”. I assure you, as I stated in the previous article, these are worries that we as parents conjure up with our own lifelong experience; children don’t. Children don’t plan that far ahead.
That said, let us look at the positive outcomes. And remember, these are lifelong skills you will be imparting to your child. Be proud of that.
This is perhaps one of the most obvious: new cultures, new traditions, new tastes! Just about everything will be a little, or maybe a lot, different. Your children will have a global awareness and perhaps a keen interest in travel now that they understand, geographically, where everything is. Together with your guidance, you can open their minds to entirely new and exciting concepts and traditions. It is an exciting time. Embrace this and help them learn in this hands-on classroom of life.
Your child will understand that everyone is allowed an opinion and a right to believe in something that your own child might not believe in. That is OK; not everyone has to conform to your beliefs. This could be new political, religious or traditional beliefs. It could also be that they must accept something as simple as Father Christmas versus Sinterklaas, who brings presents to Dutch children on 5 December already. Or that in France, there is not a tooth fairy but a tooth mouse. Children around them will perhaps be quite different and that is OK. Which new traditions will you participate in? Discuss this with your child, research online, and start the tour of discovery.
Culture and social awareness
Depending on the country you are moving to, this could be immersive or varied. If, for example, you are heading to India, that might be unavoidably immersive and an extremely different cultural experience than, say, a move to England. Being culturally aware is becoming more and more important for the next generation and moving abroad will open your children’s eyes to this vast array of traditions, colours and beliefs.
Adapting and integrating
Just about anyone (including myself) will say that since moving abroad with their children, their children have become more flexible and adaptable to change. When children first start at their new school, they might sit back, watch, adapt to their surroundings, then watch again and adapt again. “What does Mary have in her lunchbox?” might result in you suddenly being asked to produce a similar cheese stick! A simple example, yes, but for a minute, imagine the boardroom skills your child is honing for the future.
This part of a child’s personality develops skills by watching body language, mannerisms, voice patterns, etc. They are learning to assess hostility versus friendliness, what is acceptable and what is frowned upon. Most of all, they are adapting so they can integrate. I cannot stress the importance of integration more. That goes for us as parents too. Integration is the key to our happiness, to our success and self-awareness. When we are self-aware, we become confident. Integration is the key to your success.
To be moving a child overseas is quite possibly something you have never had the opportunity of doing. You know that the world is changing; the future generation will use the world as their oyster. The life skills you are affording your children now will be attributes they will need to get ahead in life. The world is becoming a smaller place for your children and you are preparing them well.
About Robyn and Hendrika, the resource persons
Robyn Vogels founded Personnel Relocations in 2008 to support people moving to Australia. Her personal experience of relocating across the world defined her understanding of the intense relocation process, especially when moving with families and children. Her services simplify the process of relocation to make it comfortable and hassle-free at an affordable price.
Hendrika Jooste founded Pillars of Power in 2006 to help emigrants to Australia thrive in their new surroundings, career, social network and personal relationships. Her experience of international relocations and migration, as well as her formal education, help her relate to others’ journey. She is in a perfect position to provide the best support and coaching as she understands the potential struggles.