What Parents Need to Know about Moving
These days, it might seem common to read posts on social media from people moving and asking about the best areas to live in the new city, work permits and regulations, or asking for school recommendations.
Summer holidays are around the corner and for those moving abroad or to another city, that means it is time for house hunting and school searching.
Whether you have moved before or you are facing your first move abroad, the whole idea can be overwhelming. If you are moving with children, it can be a particularly stressful experience if you are anxious about their well-being and how they will adapt.
Luckily you don’t need to approach the whole process of moving at once. Instead, break the huge project into small tasks and you’ll work your way through them smoothly.
Here are some recommendations and resources parents need to know about moving to facilitate the process.
Planning before moving
To start with, it is very convenient to synchronise moving with the summer holidays, especially if you are moving with children as they will have the opportunity to start their new school when the new school year begins. Additionally, there are tax incentives to changing residence in the middle of the year since, for many countries, the fiscal year will split in half.
If moving in summer is not an option, some parents choose the winter holidays, which is the second-longest break. Of course, it depends on the pressure to start your new job position and how long it can be delayed. On some occasions, the parent with the job position can move ahead while the rest of the family finishes their own school or work-related commitments.
Decide on the final moving date, the time you need to be in the new city, and start planning backwards from there. Doing this will help you to break down the huge move into a weekly to-do list and prioritize accordingly. Not everything needs to be done at the same time.
Think of the move as an adventure and try to learn as much as possible about the new language, culture, and traditions. Some companies sponsor cultural training for the family to help them with the transition, but even within the same country you are going to find different approaches and ways of living. Be open-minded, it’s never too late to learn something new.
Pay special attention to the language spoken in the new country. Is it English? Will you be able to communicate? Even if you can communicate well in English, it is advisable to learn some basics of the local language, enough to communicate at supermarkets, on public transportation, shops, or in case of an emergency. There are plenty of online courses, apps, and of course, in-person lessons.
Also be aware of the specific regulations in the country that might affect your work or residence permit, how to open a bank account, getting a mobile phone or internet services, domestic help, or pets restrictions. Look for expat websites and forums that provide detailed information per city and country and as much as possible verify the information and check official websites.
Where and how are you going to find a place to live? This is one of the biggest concerns: you may not know the city and the different neighbourhoods; the real estate market can differ enormously from one country to another, not only budget-wise, but also in terms of regulations and practice. Just an example: in many countries, the number of rooms of an apartment refers only to bedrooms, and the living room and kitchen are counted separately; however, in some countries (like Switzerland), the total number of rooms includes bedrooms and living spaces and if you don’t pay attention, you may end up with one less room than expected.
Take into account if you are moving furniture and fixtures. In this case you would need quotation and availability from the moving services. Depending on the season, moving companies might be less available, so it is recommended to book in advance and confirm how long it will take to deliver to your new destination.
Read and learn about the different areas of the city. Where are the family-friendly areas? Which areas have more social life? Which neighbourhoods are the prime ones? Where are the affordable neighbourhoods according to your budget?
Consider where you would be working and how much time you would need to commute and, if you have children, do not forget the school location.
Ideally, take a visit ahead of moving to familiarise yourself with the city and the way of living, before deciding if you want to live downtown, or in a residential area. If you can’t find the right place in advance, choose a temporal solution while you search further. This will help you to avoid committing to an area that doesn’t work for your family
For those parents moving with children, this is without a doubt the most critical point and there are many factors to be considered for the selection: the curriculum, location, languages, and size of the school.
When deciding on the best school, we recommend some tips and resources to streamline the process:
Get a list of international schools in the city, classified by the curriculum, age group, and location.
Usually, international schools are open for admission throughout the whole year but in some cases, the admission process starts around March or April. Also, be aware of the due date to inform your current school to avoid paying additional fees.
Try to visit the school personally if possible, keep your eyes open and ask all kinds of questions. Take a questionnaire with you so you don’t forget any important topics.
If your child is changing curriculum and you are not sure which grade they will be entering, check on the equivalence chart to avoid any misunderstanding.
Consider your budget limitations as international schools are not cheap. If budget is an important factor to you, remember there are also some affordable schools. In particular, some of the new international schools cater to this requirement.
Involve your children. If your children are in middle or high school, it is an excellent idea to engage them in the decision-making process for their new school.
Consider all important aspects of your children’s education. Do not get confused, sometimes the most renowned schools may not be the best option. In the end, it is the best fit for your child and where they would feel happiest.
Finally check for the schools that other parents would recommend, what they say about their experience at those schools, would they choose the same school again, and much more. This valuable information is provided by SCHOOL IN.
While moving is always a logistical hassle, keep in mind that you are embarking on one of the most exciting experiences people can have, which is living abroad. The success of the experience will depend on your attitude and how open you are to new possibilities. Remember: “The way we do things isn’t always the only way to do them”.