There are many factors you must consider when moving your family abroad. You must think about education and healthcare facilities for your children, the costs of these and the cultural differences of parenting in a foreign country.
Education costs vary from country to country. Private schools will be the most viable option; there are many schools in the popular expat destinations with high standards of teaching and an internationally recognised curriculum. Some countries will allow expat children to study in their state-funded schools, but will generally charge for the privilege. This does tend to be less expensive than the private schooling option, but has its drawbacks in that classes may not be taught in English. Further education can be extremely expensive; especially outside the UK where you are unlikely to get subsidies on university tuition fees. Location specific information on schools can be found in the relevant city guide.
Health insurance is essential both in case of emergency and, just as importantly, for peace of mind. When it comes to medical treatment for your family, most expats are more comfortable with an English speaking doctor to explain matters. The popular expat destinations have international hospitals, where the staff all speak excellent English and the medical care is first class. Please refer to our section on international healthcare for more information on medical insurance and to our city guides for location specific healthcare information.
Settling your family in
When families move abroad they lose the support network they will have built up over generations. The personal friends, close family and neighbours you might have once relied on (for example to keep an eye on the kids or pick them up from school), will no longer be about. This will likely have the effect of making your family more close-knit, but this can also create tension. Consider that in most newly expatriated families one parent will be working whilst the other is at home (at least at first).
Your children may be of help when you first move by making new friends that will in turn bring their parents into the fold. British expats tend to form very cohesive communities and this is an ideal way of meeting other expat parents. Children may actually find it easier to adapt, and the younger they are the easier they will find it. Teenagers may have more difficulty adapting to a new language and new culture, as well as having to deal with the loss of their friends and everything they know. Since younger children rely on their parents a lot more, they have an easier time adapting to change. Take a look at settling in and culture shock for further guidance on these issues.
Combining increased health and education costs will put a strain on your finances. This will generally be compensated for by higher wages, or your package will include education and healthcare benefits. You should thoroughly research your options before setting off as you do not want to be caught without the necessary cover in case of problems. Take a look at common relocation costs and consider drawing up a budget before you leave the UK.
Also, parents might find our Family Savings Calculator tool useful to calculate the future cost of raising your child.