Helping Your Child Fit in Abroad
We all know how difficult it can be for our children as they begin schooling in a school in the United Kingdom but imagine how difficult a transition it can be if they are relocating to a school in a country they are not familiar with.
This can be made doubly difficult if your child has already been in education within the United Kingdom and is now relocating to continue their schooling in another country whilst having to contend with changes in those around them.It is not easily explained how this can affect a child but there are things that we - as parents moving abroad - can do to try and make the transition as smooth as possible.
What You Can DoThe first thing we can do is take our child or children with us if we are going out to the country to which we are moving to in order to allow them to get a feel for the place. If they have been there a number of times before they actually move there on a permanent – or semi permanent basis – then it can help to alleviate some of the stress that can come about by simply upping sticks and moving without any prior knowledge or experience of the locale.
Also, it is worth spending time with them and helping understand about the country or region’s local history and culture. A child will find nothing more stressful than finding themselves in a strange place with unfamiliar people especially if they are speaking in an unfamiliar dialect and operating differently from what they are used to.
Whilst visiting the region you are going to move to, take your child on a tour and let them see for themselves that it is not as frightening as they might first have thought. Take them around the schools you have earmarked as potentially viable and allow them to comment – and take great notice of their comments – because it will be them after all who will have to attend whichever school is chosen.
In doing this the schools will allow your child to interact with the local children for a time in order to see how both react to each other. Of course this can only be done for a short time so as not to interrupt those children already in education but it is a good idea to do this. Some schools will also allow you to leave your child with them for a day so that they can join in with lessons, mix with other children, and get an overall feel for the place.
Although this is only on a short term basis it is a good way of getting a feel for whether or not your child will like – or indeed want – to fit in with those in his or her new surroundings.
It is worth trying to find out if there are any Ex-Pat Associations in the area into which you are moving. If there are they will have children of their own who will be English speaking and be conversant with English traditions and it is a good idea to seek these out so that your child can at least remain acquainted with the tradition and culture of their own home without being swamped by the cultures and traditions of their new one. It is also a good way for your child to become accustomed to the ways of this new location by having a balance of both old and new in a place, which would otherwise seem daunting and frightening.