Project Description

With the Family abroad

Everything needs to be clarified

More than a third (68 percent) of all expatriates (those sent by their employer abroad) are married, according to the Brookfield Global Mobility study. So it is obvious that a large part of these expatriates already has a family and the big adventure abroad so with children and Kegel takes place.

When a great job offers attracts foreigners, the whole family often decides whether to take the step into the distance or stay home.

Incidentally, the same study shows that still three-quarters of all foreigners are male and only 25 percent of women are sent by the company abroad.

When a family moves abroad due to a career challenge from their father or mother, the country of assignment often decides which country to go to.

But there are also families who emigrate on their own and build a new life in the land of their dreams. In both cases, it is advisable to take a closer look at the planned destination country. Every family is different and not every country is suitable for every type.

An international survey among expatriate parents of the expatriate network InterNations has shown that Scandinavia, Austria and Israel are the best foreign destinations for families with children. By contrast, the Middle East, China, Brazil and India are hardly suitable.

According to the 2016 Brookfield study, China and Brazil as well as India, Russia and Saudi Arabia are also the states with the greatest challenges for expatriate families.

Political situation and modernity
of the destination country

On living conditions respect,
think highly of

Especially when children emigrate, the political stability of a country plays a major role. Families should therefore inquire how modern the respective political system of a country is, how reliant on the judiciary and how, for example, minorities are treated. The news magazine U.S. News has recently published a ranking of the 20 most politically advanced states. In a global poll of 80 selected nations, around 21,000 people were judged to be aware of a country’s 65 characteristics associated with a modern nation. Among other things, it analyzed how the social equality of minorities is represented or whether the judicial system is more progressive. These ratings are set in relation to each other, with the best country receiving the value 100. The results were grouped into nine different weighted subcategories and included the areas of politics, economics and culture.

It turned out: Popular emigration countries like Italy, Portugal, Spain or the USA rank quite low down. The most modern and open country is Norway, followed by the neighbor Sweden.

In third place is the favorite German immigrant country: Switzerland.

Some of the challenges facing such countries include (political) security, climate, education and, above all, health. Some countries of residence can only be traveled with expensive vaccinations that not every child can tolerate. Countries like China are struggling with massive environmental problems, so it’s hardly possible to be outside.

In the United Arab Emirates (UAE), for example, people move almost exclusively by car, and almost never on foot, due to the hot climate and infrastructure. All this can significantly affect the well-being of families. And last but not least, good local health care should be guaranteed. If you have children, you want to know well-equipped and easily accessible hospitals in your area. Information about healthcare can include the average physician density in a country.

According to a study by the World Health Organization, Qatar has the most physicians in relation to its inhabitants. On 77 physicians per 10,000 inhabitants comes the Arab Emirate. A similar medical density have only Monaco (around 72) and Cuba (67). In comparison, in Spain there are just under 50, in Norway about 43, in Switzerland about 41, in Germany 39 and in Italy almost 38 doctors. Against this background, it should also be a matter of course to conclude a worldwide health insurance covering inter alia also vaccinations for children and the medically necessary repatriation to the home country.

Plan together with the children

It is also important that parents agree on the choice of destination and are in favor of departure, as children need the confidence of their mother and father. Both should take the fears of the offspring for the new future seriously and discuss them with them.

It also helps to arouse the curiosity of the children in the new environment and to make plans together. If the time before the move allows it, an early trip – a so-called look-and-see trip – can help the new environment to overcome uncertainties more quickly. But beware: Families with school-age children should travel during the holidays.

Again and again it happens that parents do such trips during school time and report their children sick at the school to save costs. But that can lead to sanctions: Bavaria imposed for example a fine between five and 1,000 euros.

In Bremen, Hamburg, Hesse and Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, fines of between 50 and 300 euros per tailed school day can be imposed. In extreme cases, the law even allows a fine of up to 180 daily sentences or imprisonment of up to 6 months, according to the website

Challenge Moving

But how can children be involved in the planning? For example, picture books about the destination country help the little ones; adults can already obtain information by reading the Internet. This can make the new environment more lively in advance, and nebulous ideas become more real.

The offspring should also be involved in the move. Depending on his age, he can already pack moving boxes and thereby influence which things are available directly at the new place of residence and what, for example, is shipped and thus arrives later.

According to new studies, children up to the age of five can handle a change of location quite well (usually they do not have a steady circle of friends at that age), but they also need emotional support from their parents.

In addition to their legal guardians, they must accept most – sometimes negative – changes. This includes, for example, leaving behind the first great love, settling into a new school system, having to learn a new language and building a new circle of friends.

Social networking has made it easy to find out about the local environment and leisure activities.

For example, from home you can search for the option of continuing an old, well-practiced hobby or trying out a new one. Teenagers in particular are particularly difficult, and relocation can be very stressful.

Find kindergarten and school

For most families whose children are no longer of the baby’s age, it is also important that there are adequate educational institutions on the ground. Incidentally, the children of German foreign workers seem to be better served in German-language kindergartens in other European countries than in Germany.

This is suggested by a study of the directory of German kindergartens abroad (VDKA).

Accordingly, an average of 60 children attend a German kindergarten in other EU countries and are cared for on average by seven educators (male and female) and two interns.

When considering which school the child should go to, one should also think of returning home. The decisive factor is that after return a problem-free reintegration into the German school and later university system is guaranteed, for example, German lessons should not be neglected.

An obvious choice for many families are the German schools abroad.

There are currently 141 German schools in 72 countries – often in old-established trading metropolises. The advantages are obvious: The child is taught in his native language, the curriculum is based on the guidelines of the German Ministries of Education, the certificates are recognized in Germany and thus a reintegration into the German school system is usually easily possible.

The cost of attending school is between 4,000 and 12,000 euros per school year. Unfortunately, there is a high probability that there is no German school within reasonable distance of the job site. In such a case, there are still the expensive international schools, local schools and, alternatively, distance learning. In general, language problems are overrated.

Especially children quickly learn to communicate with peers and a new language is learned much faster than is the case with adults. Nevertheless, it can not hurt to playfully practice everyday sentences in the language of the host country at home before you leave. For example, there are specially designed learning audio books or language learning software designed especially for children and adolescents, which not only makes learning easier, but often also brings fun.

Experience reports from emigrant and expat families all suggest that moving abroad for a family is always teamwork.

It is important that the traveling partner as well as the children have a chance to prepare for life in the new home country.

A fold contribution with kind permission of the BDAE group

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