Pros and cons of expat life for families with children

The pros and cons of expat life for families with children

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Relocating overseas is a great adventure but if you're moving with the whole family in tow, there are important things to consider in order to help your children transition as smoothly as possible.

Expat life can be an exciting adventure for all the family but moving to a new country takes on a whole new dimension when you have children in tow. That’s why it’s so important to consider the full picture, including all the pros and cons.

International expat health insurance provider AXA PPP International provides tips on how to successfully relocate overseas with children of all ages.

Young children

The expat world can be a highly stimulating environment for young children — one that furnishes them with fabulous memories and gives them a unique set of tools for life. Potential advantages include growing up bilingual — a huge advantage both at school and in the workplace — and being exposed to different cultures from an early age.

But finding the right childcare is key, especially for single parent families or those in which both parents will be working full-time. You might, for example, find that it is easier, and cheaper, to take on a nanny than to get a place in a crèche. In Bangkok, the going rate for a full-time nanny is about GBP 300 a month. That’s less than the amount parents in the UK typically shell out for part-time childcare — GBP 321 a month per child, according to a recent study by Halifax. If, however, you are heading to Canada or America, childcare options are likely to more closely resemble those in the UK, but often at an even higher cost.

Top tip

Find out about childcare options in the local area by using online forums and checking out location-specific expat groups on social networking sites such as Facebook. 

Older children

Moving overseas is often more difficult for children of school age. Being the new kid at a strange school is always tough — but it’s even tougher if everyone there speaks a language you can’t understand. That’s why lots of short-term expats choose to send their kids to an international, English-speaking school. These are recommended for families who are staying in a country for five years or less.

As most are run according to an International Baccalaureate curriculum, they can prove a better choice for children looking to move on to another secondary school or university back home. Downsides of international schools include that they often cost thousands of pounds per term. Your child may also find it harder to learn the language and integrate with the local kids, which is why it’s vital for him or her to start language courses at least six months before making the move.

Top tip

Internet course such as Inlingua Online Learning or Rosetta Stone’s language-learning software are a cheap, convenient choice that the whole family can do together.

Health and wellbeing

For many expat parents, health risks are one of the major disadvantages of living overseas with children. The issues faced vary widely depending on where you go. Malaria is a concern for families living in Kenya. But in Dubai, respiratory illnesses and heat stroke are more common problems.

Wherever you live, taking out international health insurance will help to protect your children — and your peace of mind.

Top tip

Choose a policy with multi-lingual helplines and good access to medical facilities both in your destination country and in the UK.


If you’re considering relocating abroad or have recently moved, why not give yourself one less thing to worry about by knowing your healthcare needs are covered. Call AXA PPP International today on +44 (0) 1892 596 420* to speak to their experts and get a quote.

*Lines are open Monday to Friday, 8am-6pm (UK time). Calls may be recorded and/or monitored for quality assurance, training and as a record of the conversation.


AXA PPP International / Expatica

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