Planning for and with kids

Working internationally with children can change where you may choose to live and what kind of school you teach in. Below I list some considerations you may wish to consider.

Pregnancy and birth

Of course you may not plan to become pregnant in your host country, but if you are planning this, be sure to check the availability and costs of pre-pregnancy care and childbirth. You should also investigate whether you are happy with the hospitals in your local area and the levels of provision. It is also worth finding out whether you can buy pre-natal vitamins. When I lived in Vietnam, they were not available and I bought them from the U.K. In Vietnam there were international hospitals with doctors who spoke basic English. However, I was not happy to deliver there, as I felt my doctor made several mistakes on the lead up to the birth. However, my friends had delivered happily in Vietnam. For me I also considered the fact I wanted to be around friends and family after the birth. I also felt more secure in a health system I knew. Another consideration is if you have your child in your host country, how long will it take to register the birth and receive a passport? In Vietnam this process could take in excess of 6 months. Therefore parents could not travel with the baby.

Having a young child abroad

Another consideration for your move, how suitable is the country for your child? Are their parks, playgrounds and other facilities? Is there a social network for parents there? For example, cities such as Bangkok and countries such as Singapore have large established parent networks. You can search and find these on Facebook. However, if you are moving to a community without a parent group presence, you can set up your own group! I did just this, by hosting an event and posting it on Facebook. I chose a neutral area where mums and dads good buy a coffee and have a chat.

The school

If you are joining a school with a child, you need to consider what will happen on Inset days or curriculum evenings. Ask the school directly if anything is put in place for this. If the school does not offer cover in these situations, you will need to seek out a nanny or babysitter. This can be nerve wracking early on in a move, so I suggest again ask HR or a parent teacher for recommendations.

Other considerations

Make sure you contact parents in your host country prior to the move, as specifically, what can you not find in (x,y,z). In Vietnam for example, I could not find good quality shoes, Calpol and good quality English books, so I brought these out with me. Toys maybe very expensive and/or limited in variety so you may wish to ship these. Further, when you contact parents, it would be a good idea to find out where parents live, so you can join the groups and hang out in the same areas.

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