What support do families need when they choose an Expat life?


What support do families need when they choose an Expat life?

 Expert tips for a smooth transition abroad

By John Marcarian of Expatland

Considering life in a new country is an exciting prospect but moving your family across the world can be a bit daunting for all involved. However it doesn’t need to be. With careful planning and with the help of experts in the field and existing expats in your new city you can make the process a much smoother transition for everyone.

Expatland is a resource that supports people all over the globe who are embarking on an expat journey, joining a vast, dynamic community. Here Expatland’s founder John Marcarian explains how to prepare your family for the big move ahead of time and offer tips and advice on how to immerse yourselves in your new culture.

Third Culture kids:

A ‘third culture kid’ is a child that is growing up in a country that they weren’t originally born in. Being a third culture kid can have its advantages but it can also bring with it some challenges. Speaking multiple languages, understanding different cultures, adapting to change well and having a level of independence are just some of the main benefits about growing up abroad. However one of the main disadvantages reported is a perception of ‘never feeling like home’ and often feeling different from their peers so settling in can take longer. That being said, there are some steps you can take to ensure a smoother transition into life in your new country. Research extra curricular activities that your children would like to get involved in ahead of time. By enrolling in a club or activity when they first arrive they will have the chance to make friends and root themselves in society doing something they love from day one. But be prepared for lots of different emotions and try and offer a supportive ear when they need it. Hopefully your new employer will understand the importance of a good work/life balance to help settle you and your family in. According to Statista research The Netherlands, Denmark & France ranked best for work/life balance in 2017. (Source: OECD)


The logistics of actually moving and sorting out visas can be a bit overwhelming when you first decide to relocate. There are multiple services out there which handle every aspect of moving abroad for you – from applying for visas right through to sorting out removals and even moving family pets. Do your research and find experts in your new city that can support you every step of the way.


Navigating a foreign school system doesn’t need to be as hard as you think. The key is to research the schools in your new area ahead of time. Look into their curriculum, what their enrollment process entails, and use social media or online forums to ask other parents who currently live locally for their advice on the schools. If you have the opportunity to visit your top schools or attend open days before you make the big move then jump at the chance. Your child(ren) will be able to get a feel for it themselves and it may help to alleviate any anxiety they have about moving schools.

Language Training:

Moving to a country that doesn’t speak your mother tongue can be unnerving. Try to seek out a language school or use an online platform before you move so you can at least learn the basics or enough to get you by and give you some confidence in those early weeks and months. Enroll in classes once you arrive too – this will be a chance for you to meet other families in similar situations and potentially make some new friends. Children are proven to pick up languages quicker than adults so don’t be too disappointed when your little ones become fluent before you!

Cultural Coaching:

Research customs ahead of time so you feel comfortable with them before you land. You may make some mistakes but begin by being respectful and mindful of your new surroundings and any new customs will just begin to become second nature with time. The best way to understand new cultures is to immerse yourself in them. Get everyone involved in researching fun things to do and embrace them as a family. Not only will you benefit from experiencing a new culture but it will also help you bond as a unit and potentially even lead to making new friends.

Social Networking: 

Social Media is an excellent tool for finding new activities to take part in within your local area. Start by joining existing expat communities and attending any meet ups they may be organizing. You can also use those platforms to ask for advice on any clubs and activities that you and your family are interested in. They could even become a stepping-stone to meeting new friends. Social Media is great for finding local events, exhibitions and cultural occasions too. Just remember to stay safe online and only attend reputable events and activities.

About Expatlandhttp://www.expatland.com

Expatland is a resource that supports people all over the globe who are embarking on an expat journey, joining a vast, dynamic community. In fact, if you were to group expats together to form a country, it would be the 5th largest country in the world, inhabited by 244 million people, and growing fast.

This ‘country’ is thriving, attracting business people, students, educators, medical professionals and many other professionals who are highly driven, socially aware and ‘global’ in their outlook.

Expatland began as a book, written in 2015 by John Marcarian. Through travelling extensively and working with expat clients in his role at CST Tax Advisors.

The Expatland book was just the start. To solve the problem of lack of support for would-be expats, John has launched ‘E-Teams’. The concept, developed based on research using data from the World Bank, the OECD and the International Labour Organisation, is to provide a proactive solution to the problems faced by ‘unsupported expats’ on the move. Through one point of contact, expats can access help anywhere.

E-Teams bring together vetted professionals on the ground in a wide range of international locations, who can deliver the types of services needed by expats. Operating at a city level, they have essential local knowledge and insight. They cut through complexity and drill down to the issues that are relevant to specific locations.

E-Teams are lending their specialist knowledge to refresh and update the Expatland book, writing free-to-download chapters packed with locally-focused advice, tips and case studies.

[Images courtesy of John Marcarian and Expatland]


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