Uprooting the family, creating expat kids
We already talked about the reasons for moving abroad; money or adventure, a better life or a career choice. Whatever the reason, when you’re moving abroad with kids, the decision no longer has an impact on your own world alone, but also on the world of your soon-to-be “expat kids”.
So is moving abroad with kids a crime? Removing kids from their well-known environment and putting them into completely new settings certainly cannot be nice, right? So do we do the right thing at all? Do we make them poor, rootless creatures? Or are expat kids rather cosmopolitans, who have gained only benefits of moving around the globe?
Well, even if the decision is still ours to make, we should still listen to the kids and acknowledge their viewpoint:
The voices of two expat kids
When we started moving abroad with kids, they themselves were very young and obviously had no clue about any benefits of moving anywhere whatsoever. Now, looking back, they’re old enough to reflect on what they as expat kids have gained – and what they on the other hand could have gained, had they not moved out. Here’s a sample of what Julie (14) and Alexander (11) said about their view on any eventual benefits of moving:
You get to know more people, languages, cultures, lifestyles, and systems, so you don’t feel as isolated … and it’s more thrilling and adventurous.
Beautiful and strong – expat kids at home in the world
As a parent, I see several benefits of moving abroad with kids, not least from our own experience: They are mentally strong. They speak several languages. And not least do they have a wider vision of the world. Because of the sometimes shocking exposure to so many different settings, they themselves became naturally tolerant.
This exposure to a number of very different environments, people, and influences have thus offered them huge benefits – as far as we can tell. Most important of all, it has provided them with inner values and a solid belief in these same values. They have emerged in the world and become aware of it – a bit like the flower in Masaru Emoto’s writing:
[…] you will discover yourself, like a lotus flower in full bloom, even in a muddy pond, beautiful and strong.
More to come on how the expat kids see it themselves. Meanwhile, we’d love to hear from you! What do your own kids see as the benefits of moving, if any? Expat kids or parents, please share your comments!