This statement about relocating families overseas is widely accepted: a happy family is one of the best predictors of a successful international assignment. The number one cause of assignment failure continues to be the family’s lack of adjustment to a new location. Fortunately, many organizations are mitigating this risk and protecting their investments by being proactive.
The International Relocation Center was developed with relocating families in mind. In particular, the Family Center section supports everyone from partners and spouses to children and even pets!
Adapting to a new country can be a daunting task. The Family Center helps to relieve stress and guide you through challenges such as choosing a school, packing, culture shock, spousal employment, and much more.
In the “Moving” section of the Family Center, parents will find guidance and tips for moving with children. For example, view step-by-step information on different types of schools, how to find a school, and what to do once you decide.
Packing is another challenging task for children. Family Center tips cover how to involve them in the process, helping them choose what to bring, and staying informed about host country requirements and restrictions. Health related items every family member should bring include proof of immunizations and other medical records.
In addition to these topics, the “Moving” section discusses:
- Leaving friends behind
- Making new friends
- Keeping in touch
- Starting new activities
The “Moving with Spouses and Partners” section addresses a specific set of challenges faced by the “at home” partner’s choices around how to spend their time. Finding work, alternatives to paid employment, or volunteer opportunities are the major options to explore.
Spouses and partners should start the journey by assessing their needs and their ability to acclimate. Including them in the pre-assignment interview can help to answer questions and make them feel involved. And yet, culture shock may still lead to feelings of frustration, resentment and depression.
Other challenges that come with moving with partners and spouses include:
- Work visas/work permits
- Men accompanying wives/partners abroad
In some cases, a move to a different country includes leaving a parent behind for one or both partners. Our “Leaving a Parent Behind” section raises questions related to arranging for in-home care, emergencies, changes in the parent’s health, and staying informed.
In addition, the Family Center offers the following resources for other relocation questions:
- Family Links
- Salary Calculator
- Children’s Organizations
- Expatriate Clubs and Organization
- Disabled Travel
- International Education
- National Schools Abroad
- Pet Moving Services
- Spousal Employment Abroad
- Spouses and Partners
By supporting the families before, during, and after their relocation, you’re one step closer to a successful assignment!
Written by Christy Parmenter – Living Abroad Intern