Who doesn't like unsolicited advice by a total stranger?

Moving abroad with family: How to decide

As you might know I am expat living in Germany with my little family. I know that moving to another country is nerve-racking, above all when you have children. It surely was a stressing time for us. However, sometimes a job opportunity comes your way and you have to make a choice. Every case will vary depending on your job, family situation, country of origin and destination. However, there are a few things that you can assess regardless your particular situation.

  1. Political and social situation of the destination. You can read the news or visit Amnesty International webpage.
  2. Find out about local laws and what rights will your children have once they are 18. Can they remain in the country? What steps are required? You can go to Save the Children and read the reports they have on the country.
  3. Expat community in Facebook: There are wonderful groups of expats created in Facebook. You can search for them by typing Expats in *COUNTRY NAME* or you could search by your nationality, for example, Scottish in Portugal. From my experience, you can learn a lot in these groups, make acquittances and get quick solutions to practical issues most expats experience (where to find a nanny, English speaking doctors, etc)
  4. How is the working market situation: Can your partner work if he/she wants to? Will any certification be required? If you lose your job, is there any compensation or social aide? Is it easy to find another job? You can find information about this on the news and on job search websites.
  5. Contact your embassy or consulate on your destination. Explain them your situation and ask them for information. Most embassies have pamphlets and documents to help expats navigate the new country. These pamphlets give information about local laws, taxes, language courses and business owned by compatriots.
  6. Contact the embassy of your destination here as they might have useful brochures, guides or even celebrate talks to attract workforce to their country.
  7. Compare prices of living, commute and food. The Facebook groups mentioned before are a useful tool for this. They can also tell you the names of the main supermarkets, so you can compare their prices online and make an estimation of your grocery list’s cost.
  8. Check the cost of flights or trains to your country of origin. Depending on the distance, you might want to travel home once or twice a year. You should consider the cost of flying the whole family divide the cost in 12 months to check if the job can cover this expense.
  9. Is it easy to find a house? Some big cities lack in housing. Best check it before making any decision. Could your future employer help you find a house?
  10. How does the school system work? Will your children be able to enrol in school if you move in the middle of the year?

I do hope that this list helps you decide whether to move or not. I will cover some of these topics in more detail in the following months. Please let me know if you have any questions or suggestions.

Best of lucks!



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