Monthly Archives: July 2013

The Internet and Tradition Can Help the Children of Expat Families Settle Happily

One of the biggest challenges that expat families encounter when making the move abroad is helping their children settle comfortably and seeing them smile on a regular basis once the move is made. Change is never easy for anyone, especially children, but moving can be a fun experience if all members of the family become involved in the moving process.

When the decision is made to move abroad the first step a family needs to do is research their new destination together. Go on the internet as a family and find out about the area in which you are going to live. If you have children of varying ages you can gather them all around the computer and search for things in your new area that they might enjoy. It might be best if the adults did some early research to help guide the internet search with the children later rather than  just jump in and look. Your family can visit the community office of your new destination on the internet and find out what they recommend for visitors and people new to the community. Another fun activity is to visit social networks such as Facebook and connect with people in your new area through this medium. If you have very young children it would be a very good decision to buy some books about moving abroad and read them with them. The family should read the books together so the adults and older siblings can show the younger children the advantages of moving such as making new friends and learning new things.

One mistake that some expat families make is they don’t show their children how to say farewell. Take the time to collect mementos and have the friends and relatives of the children come to your home and show them where you are going as a family. Turn the experience into a party and take pictures that you can put on a family website or a website for your children. By taking these actions your children will be able to move forward to their new home while still remembering and maintaining contact with their friends and loved ones.

When expat families arrive in their new home they need to immediately help their children connect with children in their new neighbourhoods. The best way to do this is for the adults to knock on the doors of their neighbours and invite them over to your new home. Having a barbecue or even just sharing some snacks in your home can help your children interact with the children of people in your new neighbourhood. Your children might already have made connections through the various social networks but now they get to meet their neighbours and new friends in the comfort of your new home. Once your children have made new friends you will see your children smile and be more accepting of new and different cultures and activities.

Another challenge for expat families is helping their children become comfortable in their new school. However, this can be achieved by meeting with the teachers in person. Sit down and make a list about what type of character your child is and take it to the school. Meet with those individuals who will teach your child and have a discussion about their personalities. Give the teachers some further information about your children so that they have some insights and can find a way to connect with your child. This knowledge will help the teachers make your child feel less nervous when meeting their new teachers and learning in a different environment. The last thing expat families need to do when moving abroad is to remember to retain some of their family traditions. Your family is moving as a unit so the things you did in your past home you should try to do in your new home. If the family used to eat together on Sunday afternoon and then watch a television show as a family then that tradition should be maintained. This familiarity will help your children realise that while the location of the family home may be different the good things about the family which is the members of the family and their values are still the same. This will help your children embrace the move and help bring smiles to their faces which for expat families, is the most important thing.

Reason why people move to Australia

Australia has always hit the highest mark in attracting foreigner’s to live within its shores. It has been one of the most popular destination for everyone regardless of their country of origin. This cannot just be because of the name or its location in the map of the world, so there must be more reasons behind this magnetic attraction it has on foreigners. If you are thinking of relocating to a different country abroad, then living in Australia could be one of the best choices you ever make. Your decision to move to Australia could be helped by knowing the following awaits you:

1. The best economic activities – Australia has beaten most of the European countries by avoiding sinking into recession. It is the thirteenth largest economy in the world with high GDP per capita. There are also low levels of poverty with the lowest unemployment rate in the world at 5.1% as at July 2011. The country has rich natural resources. You are therefore more assured of employment and business opportunities especially in IT, financial and services sectors than in any European country.

2. High quality of life – The country offers a high quality of life and one of the best living standards you can find. This is attributed to its good climate, lifestyle and a relatively stable economy. The UN’s 2010 Human Development Index ranked the country at position two. This ranking is normally based on the life expectancy of the citizens of the country, standards of living and the quality of education. Major cities of this country also rank highly in the global live-ability survey.

3. Excellent and world class cities – Most of the country’s cities are situated along the coastline. These cities are included in the top 10 list of the world’s most live-able cities with Melbourne ranking the first. This is because these cities have good housing options that are affordable, have excellent transport systems, great universal health care and a world-class education system which reflects the state of the whole country. Sydney is a cosmopolitan and dynamic city with its population comprising of multicultural individuals. The city leads the world in fashion and boasts of being one of the most innovative cities. All your needs whether arts, sports or business related will be met here. Adelaide is the heart of all commercial and financial activities of the country with a vibrant cultural life that is unmatched by any other city in the world. The city is also a leader in wine production. Melbourne offers an exciting cultural landscape with events like film, arts, drama, literature, architecture being the top of the list.

4. Attractive Landscape and Wildlife – The country offers unlimited scenery that is attractive to any foreigner migrating to Australia. You will probably never lack a place to visit i.e. a museum, a zoo or physical features located in the country. The country boasts of excellent beaches and wonderful weather throughout the year. It is such a wonderful gesture to be greeted by a shiny blue sky everyday as you wake up. It will undoubtedly give you a good mood to start the day with.

With so many reasons listed above and many more besides it makes for a compelling story as to why so many people move to live in Australia.

5 Favourite Expat Destinations

Spain

This has been a hugely attractive expat destination since the 1960s. It’s sometimes overlooked that during the first decades of mass British immigration to Spain, the country was still technically a fascist dictatorship under General Franco. Whatever affects that may have had on the internal politics of the country, it didn’t stop vast numbers of British people moving there and apparently living very contented lives.

The return of democracy made no difference to the trend whatsoever, with a net result being that nobody really has any idea just how many Brits are now living there – but the figure is likely to be millions. There are probably three main reasons why it continues to be an attractive destination:

  1. the weather;
  2. low prices;
  3. largely friendly people and welcoming culture.

It probably also has to be admitted that since the arrival of the European Union, it has been an easy destination to get into and that helps. All the above points make it a particularly attractive destination for older people.  Though current economic issues have put a bit of a dampener on this as a destination

France

Just like Spain, nobody really has a clue how many British people live permanently or semi-permanently in France. Some figures put the estimate at around 400,000 though many people suggest that is far too low and that the true number is almost certainly above one million. In some parts of the country, entire villages are now populated almost entirely by British people.

People are attracted there by the weather, the culture, the relaxed lifestyle, the proximity to the UK, the traffic-free roads and the still phenomenally cheap land and property prices by the standards of countries such as the UK and even Spain. However, apart from property, prices in France are broadly comparable to the UK and that can sometimes cause a problem for people on limited and fixed incomes.

As an overseas destination, though it attracts retired people, it is also very attractive for younger families who wish to radically change their lifestyle and drop out of the UK rat-race.

Australia and New Zealand

The historic and family ties that link the UK to these countries remain strong.  What that means is that they continue to be a particularly attractive destination for both young professionals and younger families. The specific nature of those attractions is legendary.  Things like the weather, the beaches, the open spaces and the sense that these are lands of opportunity and countries of the future, all make them prime targets for certain types of expat.

However, some of the gloss may have gone out of this destination, as over recent decades, successive Australian and NZ governments have significantly increased the entry criteria for immigrants. The net result of that is that it is no longer a routine matter for British people to obtain residency permission – particularly in situations where they are unqualified, above a certain age or without significant financial reserves behind them.

The net result of this is that once seen as a total family destination, these countries are increasingly targeted by younger professional people and younger professional families, as others may find them difficult to get into. Corporate sponsorship by local organisations may be the only viable route in some cases.

The United States and Canada

In many respects, both of these countries can be broadly seen in the same context as Australia and New Zealand. If you are young, well qualified or have significant financial reserves behind you, obtaining permission to go and live and work in North America may take time but might be achievable. The same comments relating to corporate sponsorship above, apply here also.

The attractions of these countries are clear.  Open spaces, entrepreneurial orientation, relatively low tax regimes and a sense that the future is there to be grabbed.  On the downside, the United States has received considerable negative publicity over recent years for things relating to crime and the cost of healthcare, things that may put some potential expats off.

South Eastern Europe and Turkey

This is a rapidly growing and very attractive destination for British expats. Yet again, weather will be a predictable factor together with very low prices for things such as property and land plus ease of entry for those countries that are now part of the European Union.

These destinations are particularly attractive to older people or those facing retirement, as their money is likely to go a lot further.  As there is very little history of expat settlement in some of them, the people are particularly welcoming and are eager to see new sources of money and renovation entering their communities.

Countries to watch for the future are Bulgaria, Romania and with more reservations due to political instability, perhaps Turkey.