Relocating with your family to a country like Spain is the start of a whole, new family adventure. It’s exciting, it’s exhilarating but can also be a stressful experience for the family.
Very recently I came across results from a survey carried out on 500 expats from around the world living in a variety of other countries (including, but not limited to: Dubai, Thailand, U.S., UK, China and India) in March 2018. Unfortunately, Spain was not included but I’m sure that most of us can identify with the findings.
Aetna International wanted to know the answers to several questions about expats, their lives, their children and the challenges of moving to another country. You can find all of the results here but there were a couple that caught attention that I wanted to share.
Take a look at this first one:
How important were the following aspects of relocation and how much of your preparation time was allocated to those aspects?
Looking at this graph we can see that the most important aspects were:
- Sorting out banking and finances
- Finding a place to live
- Finding the right schools and childcare
What is surprising is that although these were considered the most important, there is still quite a gap between amount preparation time spent on each. ‘Learning about new cultures and traditions’ was seen as the least important of nine factors, but it still occupied more time that the more important factors of researching local amenities and safety and security.
Rather than berate ourselves (and slowly lose our minds!), we have to be realistic and realise that sometimes there just isn’t enough time to prepare the move in the way that we’d like to especially if we are working and looking after children. We need to reach out for support from either family, friends or contact a relocation consultant. A relocation consultant can really smooth your family’s move to Spain and can manage certain aspects (or all!) of the move allowing you to devote your time to preparing and involving the family in this big move to Spain.
Another question given to the group of respondents was ´What advice would you give to parents relocating with children´. The top piece of advice was visit before moving and involve the children in the move. Both seem quite logical and could apply to all families planning a move to any country with their kids. Alas judging by this piece of advice ’Don’t do it’, there are families that regret their move abroad. It’s good to make us realize that not all moves abroad are dreamlike and to make a move as smooth as possible, planning and preparation are essential. Like I mentioned at the beginning, Spain was not one of the countries included so anything more specific is missing. What would you include that’s not already there? I’ve got one, Prepare Pa——-k 🙂
Another one that caught my eye was this one related to children – How hard was each aspect for children relocating? I don’t think that any of us are surprised to see that the hardest aspect is ‘saying goodbye to family members’ followed closely by saying goodbye to their friends. I think that might be the one of the main reasons why moving with kids to Spain (or any other country) is so stressful. Your worries are multiplied by each family member and it can lead to severe anxiety. But…. before we change our minds and decide to stay put, we’ve got to remember that children in general adapt well (usually better than their parents!) to change and if their new school is the right one and they find their new group of pals everything else will fall into place.
And then that brings us to the next stage, choosing the right school for your child in Spain. Without a doubt this is one of the hardest decisions you’ll make as a parent when relocating to Spain and that’s why we want to help and guide you through this process. We want to share our knowledge and expertise to make this a stress free process, saving you time and energy.
Get in contact to discuss your family’s unique needs and how we can best support you.
Sinéad Galvin is an educational consultant and founded Steps into Spain (a boutique educational and relocation consultancy located in Madrid) to help families find the right school for their child in Madrid. She uses her professional and personal experience of Spanish schools, the Spanish education system and the Spanish way of life to ensure that parents are knowledgeable and informed about what to expect and can secure the best school for their child.
Steps into Spain will take stock of your children’s educational needs and overall family requirements (housing, paperwork and general settling in). Our trusted and expert service is provided to families who are moving to Madrid from abroad. And also, to families that already live here and need some extra guidance and support.