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Home » Africa, Asia, Europe, Expat Life, Middle East, Relocations, Rest of the World, Russia - CIS, headline

Advantages for Children Living Abroad

Living overseas creates beneficial bases for children's future

By Relocation Expert
April 21, 2011

multi-ethnic childrenIt is normal for expat parents to worry about the impact that living abroad may have on their children. They will be concerned about the new school and how their children will adapt to the new environment, culture and routine. Leaving their friends and old life behind can make parents wonder if moving was the right decision for their children.

Contrary to such worries, studies have shown that living abroad is actually good for your children. Not only does it provide them with an opportunity to learn how to adapt, but will also create a great foundation for their future in many ways.

Here are some of the key benefits:


Most people don’t have to adapt to unfamiliar surroundings until they reach the age of 18 and leave home to go to college. Some will not even do so then, if they decide to study in their home town. It may seem easier at the time, but at some point they will find themselves in a situation in which they have to integrate into a new community. Being able to integrate in a new culture and society from an early age gives expat children a great advantage in many later-life situations. Learning to communicate with different people and to adjust to different environments will increase a child’s communication skills, knowledge, adaptability and self-confidence.

Getting to understand the world

From the comfort of our homes, we can do our best to empathise with the difficulties faced by people living in less developed countries. We can even try to help by donating or raising awareness. But it is through actually being and living in a different country that we truly appreciate the differences in quality of life and the problems faced every day by people in poor countries.
For a child, such experience will develop a sense of the world around them. It will increase awareness of why recycling is important, or why wasting food is bad, developing empathy and willingness to do more.

New experiences – over and over again

For expat children, childhood never seems to end. There are constantly new things to explore, stoking an unending sense of wonder. Children living abroad learn all the time, from new friends, new tastes, new places and new cultures.


Living abroad will give a child a chance to learn foreign languages as well. Some expat children attend classes in local schools and are exposed to local language daily,  some learn the language just by playing with kids from the neighborhood or by watching local TV and listening to local music. In any case, children learn new languages surprisingly fast, and any expat child is most likely to become bilingual or even multilingual. Such knowledge is truly a treasure and a child can only benefit from it.


Studies have shown that 81 percent of people who grew up abroad earn at least a Bachelor’s degree, and half of this number get Master’s degrees and Doctorates. A study conducted in the USA identified this as ‘adult third-culture kids’  are reliably more academically successful.

Personality development

Relocating abroad will stimulate the development of skills necessary to adapt to new environments and accept new cultures. By learning how to accept various changes and live with them, a child will learn to overcome obstacles, a skill we all need in our lives.

Family bond

As a child is learning how to adapt to a new surrounding and meet new friends, parental and sibling support will be essential. This is a time for a family to stick together, and it can have a very positive effect on family bonding. Many expats claimed that living abroad improved their family life and reinforced the family members’ connection.

Problem solving

Expat children are very likely to become excellent problem solvers, as they have to face so many changes regularly. Adapting to a new school, new friends, new house, new language and completely new culture will make a child think of new ways to communicate and behave. Situations, in which children can not simply say “I don’t like my new school” or “I hate this neighborhood” will make them think “What can I do to get accepted in a new school” or “How can I approach my neighbor to make friends with him?” And before you know it, they learn how to solve the problem. Or become exponentially more devious.

New things are good

Life constantly changes us, whether we like it or not. An expat child will learn that new things are probably good and exciting, and that a challenge is not something that should be avoided. Changes for them are actually positive and desirable. Children living abroad often develop positive approaches to unpredicted changes in life.

If managed properly, moving abroad with children will become the opportunity of a lifetime for them, not a disadvantage.


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