Why You Should Seriously Consider Being Family Expats
The Many Benefits to Moving Abroad with Kids
The country of choice is not important, but your frame of mind is. Moving abroad with your family and kids is a huge undertaking, and an admirable one, too.
Moving to a new country might sound intimidating, but if the opportunity arises do not hesitate to seize it!
Learning Through the World
Moving abroad offers an educational advantage comparable to nothing else. Not just for your kids, but for you, too.
Living in a foreign country is guaranteed to open your eyes to a whole new view you never knew you were missing. Imagine the history, culture, language, geography and cuisines you will get to explore together.
Through these experiences, your entire family will gain an awareness and appreciation for versatility. There is no better way to broaden the horizons than to immerse yourself in a world of unfamiliarity.
As expats, your life will constantly revolve around conquering personal limitations. As individuals and as a unit, the family will have endless opportunities for inner growth and fulfillment.
Gaining a New Perspective
Imagine the fingers of your child intertwining with the hands of another from a different land. As you watch, they completely and unapologetically examine their differences and similarities.
Nose to nose, they inspect the contrasts between their skin, eyes and hair. After several moments go by, they burst into smiles and embrace.
In that instant, a lifelong, international friendship is born. Moments like these can positively alter your child’s perspective for the rest of her life.
One of the greatest adventures of living in a foreign land is the exploration of unchartered territory. No matter how much research you do, it is not possible to be familiar with every place to visit before you go.
The benefit of being an expat over a traveler is that you will have the time and ability to explore extensively, the way the locals do. After all, even the best family vacations don’t allow for enough time to fully immerse yourself in new territory the way living somewhere does.
It is a testament in itself, to allow yourself to trust the guidance of another, when they tell you of an unknown place to go. When you are in an unfamiliar area, all of your senses activate in full force.
You might find yourself overwhelmed, and you will certainly find yourself noticing details you would not have appreciated before. In these times, you will learn how to listen to your instincts and intuition; traits you may not have realized that you let go of long ago.
When you surrender yourself completely, the experiences can morph into moments of ultimate discovery and achievement. Sometimes the rewards are grander than expected.
For us, there was a day when we hiked several hours through questionable weather, into the remote mountainsides of Ecuador. It was physically and mentally challenging with both young kids and dogs in tow.
But, in end we were rewarded with total awe when we finally reached the high altitude, volcanic thermal pools. There is nothing in a comfortable life that could be comparable to adventures like these.
Even in the daily, mundane life that is also part of expatry, many families find that an extraordinary bond develops between them. Culture shock is a very real phenomenon, but it certainly is not something you will die from.
In fact, as a family you will recover from it together. When the only form of normalcy is each other, an appreciation for them develops quickly.
Suddenly a big brother or bratty sister don’t seem so bad after all.
Once this happens, all novelty experiences become instant bonding opportunities. Whether it be completely sabotaging the Spanish language, collectively spitting out unimaginable street food, or finding a mutual affinity for the flamenco — all family members eventually stand as pillars in the other’s experiences.
When you go through the good, the bad, and the ugly together, you can expect to return home stronger and closer than ever.
The overall benefits of becoming an expat family are too numerous to count. But there are a few that stand out the most.
Although a change in perspective is one of the benefits of traveling in general, moving abroad will likely change everyone’s perspective on many things. This is where enlightenment and self-education begin.
It is life changing to witness the world from a culture that differs from your own.
Self-growth and familial bonds are the extensions of the perspective change that happens when you live in a foreign land. Not only does expat life boast some incredible developmental benefits, but it also ties in the best of all travel perks for the long term.
So, while you are all busy blossoming into global citizens, you can also indulge yourselves in all things food and culture — just like the locals do!
See what the life of an expat family is really like by visiting 8 Duffels & 2 Mutts, our blog about living in Ecuador with our two children and dogs.