Moving abroad is a massive step for anybody at any stage of life, but doing so with children presents even more challenges.
If you are young and single with no dependents, there is less to worry about before you move to a different country. You may be more inclined to take risks, and everyday concerns such as finding a room to rent become easier to solve.
With a family in tow, the need to rent a room becomes the need to find an apartment or house that has room to fit everyone comfortably. Not only does this mean more financial cost, but it can also be harder to come by.
While the financial commitment of having a family will be lost on no one, there are other factors that you need to think about. New parents often find that their outlook on the world changes after the birth of their child, and this can have an influence on how many decisions are made.
One of the most important considerations for families is security. After all, keeping your family safe is the number one priority. As a result you might think twice about moving to certain areas where there are high crime rates.
This doesn’t mean that you can’t move to any country that isn’t considered to be “developed,” but if you are going to move to a developing country you will need to plan more carefully. For example in Guatemala many expats choose to live in the charming colonial town of Antigua, with its charming cobbled streets and idyllic countryside surrounds. Many people, including families, fall in love with the lifestyle here.
However just an hour away in Guatemala City, the capital, things are very different. Crime rates are astronomically high and most people choose to live in closed condominiums to improve their security. Of course, this costs money. At the same time even those who can afford it can feel trapped by their inability to walk the streets, let alone allow their children to roam free.
These kind of considerations can be incredibly important in maintaining a decent quality of life. No one wants to live in fear.
At the same time there are plenty of other things to think about. One of the most important is the local culture. This is arguably more important if your children are female in many societies. Some parents find that they enjoy living in a place, but do not believe it would be healthy to raise a child in that particular environment.
In some countries gender roles are still extremely pronounced, with women expected to do little other than look after the house. This could be problematic if you want to raise children. These expectations also influence how women are treated in the street, sometimes with distressing consequences. While no one would claim that cat-calling has been eliminated in any country, the aggression of words and actions towards women varies around the world.
If you are comfortable taking your family to a country in terms of security and the local culture, it’s time to think about more practical matters. No matter how long you are planning to stay in a place, you will need to think about schooling.
You may find the most idyllic beach town to live in, but if there are no schools then you could struggle. That is of course assuming that you want to have your children educated in the traditional way.
If you do you will have to live somewhere where there are decent educational institutions, and perhaps even jobs for when the little ones graduate. This can change depending on the amount of time that you plan to live in a place, but for many people it is worth thinking about.
In summary there is plenty to consider if you are moving abroad with a family. Safety and security is a primary concern, as are good schools. This is why many families live in well-developed locations with all of the infrastructure necessary to bring up a child in a safe, stimulating environment.
Some of the world’s major cities tick all of these boxes, but there should be other places that you consider as well. Once you have checked these fundamental boxes there are still plenty of options available, which you will have to discuss with your partner!