by Expat Focus Columnist, Toni Hargis
In addition to the list of things I wrote about last year, there’s another thing to consider before making the big move abroad. Family. (If you’re reading this having just had a tiff with the mother-in-law or a sibling, come back when you’ve calmed down.) But seriously, despite the well-worn adage “You can choose your friends but you can’t choose your family”, raising children abroad often means raising them thousands of miles from family members.
My teenage daughter recently wrote a paper about being a “dual citizen” (US and UK) and her familiarity with both countries. She has cousins her age in England, and indeed second and third cousins that she knows quite well, but no cousins in the US. Although she loves life in the US, and considers herself more American then British since she was born here, she stated that she felt “at home” and “safe” in England because of her family. As someone who is very close both to siblings and cousins, that made me question whether my move abroad has been the right thing to do for my children.
Although many people move abroad for a “better life”, you should consider how great that life is will be if there are no family members within hundreds, even thousands, of miles? Might it affect how children relate to their own children in later life? Will the lack of close family members contribute to any feelings of homesickness or isolation? ...
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