Moving Abroad with Young Children
Living abroad brings a new perspective to your life; the dynamic of cultural experience is much deeper than just spending a short period.
Moving to Spain is my second overseas move as a multicultural family. Individually, I have nearly ten moving abroad experiences crossing the borders and continents for half of my life. Culture shock, reverse culture shocks, and relocating is part of me. My family comes with a package of two multicultural kids and a mid-size Shiba Inu dog. Increased family size causes an increase in stress, cost, and effort.
I began to consider moving to a city where it is suitable for multicultural kids after having my daughters. I knew Barcelona would be an excellent place for us to embrace multiculturalism and diversity. Most importantly, to help my biracial children to develop self-identity by understanding and respect the differences.
Undoubtedly, Moving abroad is a significant decision for any family. Planning a brand new chapter overseas is exciting. However, moving to Spain with children requires much planning and effort.
Moving Abroad Preparation
Moving abroad with young children and a pet can be lengthy and complicated. Several moving details to keep track of. Therefore, staying organized is one of the most critical habits to develop throughout the moving process. Listing tasks helps to think better and to prioritize.
The most important thing about moving abroad is a Positive Attitude.
Moving abroad with young children is nothing comparable to relocating alone, it takes time and effort. Most expat families spend an average of six months to one year to feel fully settled down, and some may never even feel this way after a few years.
For example, navigating a new city and overcoming language barriers is challenging when you move to a new country; Running after the legal documents and dealing with bureaucracy can be stressful.
As a parent, having a positive attitude can project light energy for children; it also helps you to cope with the daily affairs more effortlessly. Positive mentality brings optimism to your life, and when you face any challenges after moving to Spain, it will bring constructive solutions for you simply because of the “can-do” attitude.
Good Communication with Children
Before moving to Spain from Taiwan, I have tried to prepare kids by telling them we are going to a new place. A new city with beaches and beautiful mountains, I showed them the pictures of Barcelona. Finally, pinpoint out the activities that we can do in Barcelona after moving to Spain to generate their interest.
Keep in mind that effective communication with children throughout the moving process involves listening, understanding, and responding. Pay attention to the things that they may want to share, understand their concern if there is any, provide practical solutions as a response to your child.
Decide on a Moving Date
Choosing a moving date can be tricky. It depends on how flexible your situation is; The airfare or train tickets will depend on the destination and demand; Your current job ends and new job start date; or housing situation may impact your decision too.
Why moving to Spain in late Summer?
- It allows children to enjoy the city and try to adapt before winter arrives;
- Suitcases are lighter to pack and move in the summer season.
- The school semester begins in September.
Plan to move during the low season and buy the tickets as early as possible, because tickets are generally cheaper if purchased well in advance. It is also helpful to check on credit card rewards or airline mileage. You may save some expenses from moving abroad. Always phone the airline company directly and speak to a customer representative in case of flying with young children.
Set an ideal deadline first to monitor the ticket price. The ideal moving date helps me to communicate with all parties, such as moving company, pet travel agent, to consolidate the possibility of putting every element together before moving to Spain. It gives me a clearer vision for the future arrangement.
Give yourself enough time!!
Selecting a Moving Method
I have chosen an international moving company to help us with moving to Spain. Quotation depends on the shipment’s size, shipment distance, and how you would like to be delivered. In general, sea freight is cheaper than airfreight!
Some families may hire a one-stop-shop international mover that provides the service from packing, transport to unpacking; Some families may prefer moving with the maximum airline baggage allowance.
Housing – Rental v.s Sales
If you are renting the current property, checking the lease contract is vital.
If you are selling the current property, the availability of a buyer is the most influential aspect of your moving date; The cost of selling your existing property may also impact your financial structure for moving abroad.
Where will you be staying after moving abroad? If you are purchasing a property, the availability of a house for sale affects your decision.
I have begun our life in Spain by renting a short-term apartment first. By doing so, we can take time to understand the neighborhoods and not spend time worrying about needing to see the site at first, connecting the utilities, and buying essential needs on our first day. Not to mention in some cities, you will need a proper local ID, job proof, and local bank information to rent a long-term apartment.
My suggestion is to have a single place ready to rest if you have young family members traveling along with you. Short term leasing is usually higher, but it guarantees your family a single place to rest and allow yourself to take a deep breath before starting another brand new stage.
DOCUMENTS, DOCUMENTS, DOCUMENTS
Most of the mistakes I have made moving abroad are falling under this particular category, and this is the most complicated procedure to complete in my opinions.
Applying for legal status in a new country is a costly and timely process. You will likely be handling an abundance of official paperwork and dealing with an inevitable government bureaucracy.
I was asked to report to the town hall within a specific time frame after moving to Spain. My daughters are applying for the nationalities bound by their father, and I am applying for a permanent residence visa. All of them demand different documents, application channels, and deadlines. Make sure to speak with the consulate or immigration attorney before moving to Spain.
Other documents to consider are the international driver’s license, vaccination record, English bank statement, valid passport, and birth certificate.
Do not bring a home-printed version; be sure to check which documents need to be notarized in advance. If you plan to move to a country that does not speak the same language as your home country, make sure to find a certified official translator to localize the documents.
Are you closing the bank account in your current country? How about credit card cancellation? Do you have a bank account ready in your new location? How much cash to bring on the day of moving to Spain?
Contact your current bank to inform the customer representative that you will be leaving the country. Transfer the remaining balance into your new bank before moving to Spain if possible. If you wish to bring cash on the day of moving to Spain, make sure to check the maximum cash allowance.
If you decide to leave your bank account open in your current country, signing the power of attorney with a trustworthy person may be necessary for future assistants.
Physical Exam & Healthcare
We have scheduled a few physical exams before moving to Spain, including vaccination, dentist, and proceeding with a final body check-up.
If you are moving to Spain with children, it is vital to understand the healthcare system. In general, children do need access to regular health care, as well as access to special services when it’s necessary.
Spain overall provides a well-planned healthcare system. However, I would suggest considering having insurance coverage in a foreign country.
The main advantage is to have better control and receive quicker medical care. It secures and improves your child’s well-being in a new country after moving abroad.
Remember to apply for an official vaccination and health record before moving to Spain. Your new family doctor will likely see it.
Will your mobile phone and network work after moving to Spain?
I would like to keep my smart devices connected to the network to stay in touch with important contacts. Therefore, I have canceled the mobile service contract on the day of moving to Spain and purchased a temporary European prepaid SIM card online in advance.
Last but not least, things need to be terminated, paying outstanding bills and debt, electricity, utilities, water, insurance, gym membership, Internet, and cable.
The decision of moving to Spain is not easy, moving abroad with a child makes the task even more challenging. In this significant life transition period, keep yourself focused and remember to remain a positive “Can-do” attitude.
Be brave, Take risks, Nothing can substitute experience. – Paulo Coelho