Our post series from last week on Why You Need to Accept that International Assignment generated a lot of buzz on social media sites, especially on the LinkedIn.com Discussion Groups. The conversation that this generated and the comments from former International Assignees could be really helpful for people making the decision about going on an International Assignment so we want to pass on the best of the advice that was generated as a result of those conversations. Would you recommend taking an International Assignment with children? Leave your recommendations or advice in the comment section below or tweet @ParagonRelo on twitter!
Should I take my child on an International Assignment?
Here are responses to the question “Would you recommend taking an International Assignment with children?”:
Lisa Casey from Office Depot said:
Definitely would recommend to take the assignment with the children. I did it. My husband and our two children, ages 5 and 7 at that time, accompanied me on my assignment to Hong Kong. The exposure to culture, food, travel, and people added another dimension to their growth. We have since traveled back to the Asia region several times after the assignment was over and we still talk about it…
Susan Lomartire from HeartSilks said:
Absolutely — unless, of course, the assignment is in a high-risk area. It is my experience working with expats that all family members benefit in many ways from the exposure to other countries and cultures. It’s a fantastic educational experience — both in school and outside of it.
Jan Kasper from Russell Real Estate Service said:
We have done the international relocation and with a family. Our son was in high school when we moved to Australia. It was a great experience and we all still talk about it as a fantastic growing experience! There are always ups and downs but you will regret not taking the challenge!
Ron Scruggs from SCI Procurement said:
My wife and 4 sons joined me on a transfer to Geneva Switzerland. My 3 year assignment was extended to 10 years. The family is all bi-lingual now (though not at the start of the assignment). This was a tremendous experience for all of us. The quality of life proved to be excellent, the experience was worthwhile. Though not for everyone as a rule, this was a positive life changing experience for all of our family.
Rebecca Grappo from RNG International Educational Consultants said:
I think there are many factors that contribute to children’s success in overseas assignments. It seems to me that the kids that are able to easily make social connections, are successful learning in a mainstream, traditional setting that one finds in most international schools, have supportive parents, and a well-developed sense of self are the ones that do really well.
In contrast, the kids that struggle to make social connections, or struggle in school and don’t have their learning needs met, or who wrestle with core identity issues, are the kids who seem to not do well. I have worked with many very bright, gifted kids who could not easily relate to peers – and thus hate moving and starting over.
Rebecca Sullivan from Adare International said:
I’m over a year into an overseas relocation with my family – husband and 2 young boys (now 3 & 5). While this kind of move presents many challenges – not least a language barrier to some degree – the benefits are evident for my children. In fact the children have gained the most out of the country change. Naturally the country you move to plays a major part in the benefit stakes so homework needs to be done in advance.
Danielle Lammie from Oakwood Worldwide said:
I relocated to Europe throughout high school with my family to Luxembourg. It was life changing. We became closer as a family. I attended American International School of Luxembourg now (ISL) – this was an amazing school, with fabulous professors. I would never take that kind of experience back. I see how the world is global not just local.
Patricia D. Rivera from 123 Accounting LLC said:
There are many different aspects to international assignments one critical is where is the assignment? Children are extremely resilient. However parents need to set the stage. If the parents are excited and look upon this move as an adventure and a way to expand the children will very nicely adjust as well.
Christina Buchanan at Audubon Engineering Operations, LLC said:
In my experience, children thrive during an international assignment. Of course, not all places are children-friendly (or for that matter, people-friendly…) but in most locations children adapt quickly and will look back to it as a turning point in their lives. In a continuously changing world, let your children get “a leg up” on the competition!
From a lot of the conversation that was generated on this topic it seems that families that take International Assignments have been very pleased with the experience for their whole family. In addition, a few comments reminded that there would be challenges to every relocation but yet even in light of these challenges the comments almost all said “go for it!” in one way or another. What has been your experience? What advice would you give to a family thinking about a big international relocation?
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