Address Family Concerns
Assess the impact of your overseas assignment on your family and others who depend upon you. You need to read the following chapters:
• Preparing the Kids
• Senior Relatives
• Global culture Training
• Language Problems
• Additional Expenses
• Education choices
Preparing the Kids
Depending on their age, you may include your children in the process of decisions or hold back information about an impending move. For younger children the news to move away from friends is overwhelming and right now you need not elaborate on the new country.
However, it does not pay to keep teenagers in the dark – they will find out in one way or another. Teenagers are likely to resent the move, as it is extremely difficult for them to leave their peers behind at this time of their life.
As they have just started to enjoy some kind of freedom they will fear to lose their independence in a country where driving around by themselves or the use of public transport may be not viable. Leave discussions about their fears as open as possible. Connect them with other teenagers in the target country via Expat chat rooms.
All of you will go through a number of ups and downs and share feelings from anxiety to excitement to railing against the inevitable. It pays to be open and responsive, as you have to stick together when settling down in a new environment.
Prepare answers to the following questions that may pop up:
• Where do we live?
• Will my friends miss or forget me?
• How do I find new friends?
• What if people don’t like me there?
• Can I call my friends back home?
• How often will I see my grandparents?
• How do I communicate with the locals?
• Can I take my toys with me?
• Will we have servants?
• Isn’t it going to be very hot?
• Isn’t there a war in this country?
• Can we travel a lot?
• Can I eat peanut butter and burgers over there?
• Will there be lots of homework?
If you are the only support system for your relatives such as your parents here are three options for you to consider:
• Move your relative with you.
• Find them a nursing home or assisted living facility back home.
• Have them live independently back home assisted by a mobile support system.
If you consider moving them with you, ask the following questions:
• What are the effects on their health?
• Will your relative(s) adjust to the new country?
• Is the care they need available?
• Do you have health insurance cover them abroad?
Senior Facts to Consider for Asia
• Heat and Humidity may effect their health
• You may find caring for them much easier than at home using maid services. (Maids who are trained nurses may be available).
• Senior relatives may feel lonely so far away from other senior friends and relatives back home.
• Alternatively, you may invite them to stay with you for a longer time once you have settled.
There will be no dry eyes when it comes to a decision about your pet’s future. Consider the following pros and cons:
Reasons not to take the pet along
• The pet is older than 10 years.
• The pet has a serious health problem.
• The breed is used to temperate conditions.
• Asians, in general, are not as affectionate with pets as Westerners.
• Muslim Southeast Asians consider dogs to be impure and do not want to come close to them.
• In China, dogs are still eaten and pets found on the road will be disposed of in many Southeast Asian countries without searching for the rightful owner even if they have a collar.
• The freedom of your pet may be severely restricted also in view of the heat and some dangerous animals (snakes) your pet is not used to.
• Dog-sitter or kennel costs can mount, as you cannot take your dog along with you, especially when traveling or on home-leave.
A stay back home with the grandparents or other relatives may turn out to be the right solution if you are not staying abroad for a long time. Ask yourself what you would like if you were your pet!
There are numerous organizations specializing in relocation, covering moving, insurance, financial and other services. Refer to our Business Directory for some of these service providers. Find out if your company has a relocation program and what this package includes. Go to Step 4 “The Move”.