Starting at a new school: Expat kids, part 2

On their way to school in Chile

Our own expat kids, starting new school in the outskirts of Santiago, Chile

We already touched upon the benefits of moving abroad for expat kids. But one thing is looking back at what you’ve accomplished, another is being in the middle of becoming an expat: You’re visiting possible new schools, talking to teachers, researching the merits of the schools and testimonials from other parents. It can be a stressful time for us parents, sure, but even more so for our newly-turned-expat kids.

Fortunately, our kids have managed every transition fabulously. Maybe because they’ve moved to a new school and a new country so often that it has become almost habitual for them.

At school, there’s a boy who has never ever moved country!
-Alexander, 11 years old

Starting at the new school

A few years ago we moved from a small local school in Hilo, Hawaii to a big international school in Munich. Here’s what Alexander recalls about his first day at his new school:

“We got there, and I sat beside a friend I had met the day earlier, who is still my best friend. At break I played football with him and his best friend, who said that he walked past me and my mother in the morning and recognized me when I walked into the class. It was a fun day. I’ll never forget it.”

Alexander was off to a good start in his new school. He has fond memories of the day. Often, all it takes is one little positive experience during that day, to make the transition a lot smoother. A kind word from a teacher, or finding a new friend. You know it when they come home from the first day at school and tells about this little experience and you almost have to restrain yourself not to let out a huge sigh of relief – the first day at school was a good one!

How did you cope with starting in a new school? And how did your expat kids manage? Is it just me, or are kids often handling these transitions much better that the parents? Please share your thoughts below!

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One Response to Starting at a new school: Expat kids, part 2

  1. Tanya says:

    I spend a lot of time with expat teens in Beijing (not so much with the younger kids). I’ve noticed that in a family with several kids, the older ones tend to have more difficulty with the transition. This is regardless of whether the family has travelled a lot or its their first overseas move. Kids with very strong family relationships (with their parents and with their siblings) tend to do better; I think this is because where kids are comfortable talking to their family members this takes some of the pressure off while they go through the transition of building a new support network.

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