Moving abroad for a job assignment can be a great experience for an individual, but it can also be a challenging one for someone with a family. Even though an individual might be well suited and chosen for a particular skill set to perform work abroad, it does not mean that the spouse and/or children are prepared and will enjoy such a life changing experience.
According to recent surveys, about 20% of all expatriate assignments fail and of the 20% of “failed assignments,” it is estimated that approximately 60% of them are due to family-related difficulties.
While the expat is generally busy with the demands of the new job, the spouse and children face their own challenges. The spouse might find it difficult to make friends, or establish a routine, and the children might be facing for the first time the experience of being “different” from other children. Sometimes even a language barrier is placed in the mix making the transition even more challenging for everyone. Here are a few tips to help the family of an expat become adjusted:
Do your research.
It is critical for the family of the expat to learn as much as possible about the new country including the pros and cons they will be faced with. It is also important for the spouse, and even the children, to attend immersion orientation if one is provided by the employer of the expat.
For the spouse, being tightly involved in the relocation process, especially in finding the new home is also critical. However, when moving to a new country, performing online research might not be enough. The best chances for a successful transition come when the expat family receives orientation from relocation specialists. Enlisting the help of professional corporate housing company will ensure that the needs of the family are met, and that the new home is in a place well suited for them.
Ask for help.
Enlisting the help of a relocation specialist who is very familiar with the new location is imperative. Professionals who are well-versed in both routine relocation issues and the requirements of families can offer the most positive, supportive and efficient service to their clients.
The process of finding a home can define the family’s perception of the new location. A bad experience can lead to doubt and anxiety, and this is especially detrimental to someone who needs to be focused on a new assignment or career. In the case of families with children, a community that provides extracurricular activities for the kids, parks, and other child friendly venues close by is usually the most desirable.
A qualified relocation specialist can assist in finding the most desirable neighborhoods for families and couples. The knowledge, research skills, preparation and diligence of a relocation expert sets the stage for a smooth and positive transition and averts many potential disasters that can hurt a family during a major move.
Choose a move-in ready home.
Corporate housing, also commonly referred to as temporary furnished apartments and homes can also make the transition easier, as opposed to renting a vacant home and then having to furnish it. Many of these furnished rentals have common amenities that can make a strange city feel more familiar, like gyms, pools, business centers, etc. Furnished rentals also allow the expat and his or her family to focus on getting comfortable with the new city rather than worrying about furniture, house wares, and other basic necessities for comfortable living. A professional corporate housing company will provide you with insights regarding the neighborhoods you want to live in, and should be able to give you information regarding schools, religious services, shopping, medical facilities and all other essential information to make the unknown seem more familiar.
If you are considering a position abroad, remember, enlisting the help of a corporate housing provider and a relocation specialist is imperative for your family comfort and your overall success in the new destination.