Trying to decide if the ex-pat life in China is right for you and your children? Discover the numerous benefits of raising your kids abroad and the struggles you’ll likely face giving them this incredible, life-altering opportunity
Ask any long-term ex-pat parent about the benefits of raising children abroad, and they’re likely to start waxing lyrical about the innumerable benefits. You’ll undoubtedly hear all about their precocious offspring being bi or multi-lingual.
They’ll probably also mention how their kids are more culturally aware and independent than their well-rooted cousins/friends back home. After a solid half-hour-long monologue, you may start wondering if there are any cons to it at all.
If raising children abroad is all that…why isn’t every family packing up and moving to the opposite end of the planet?!
Well, because raising children in a foreign country isn’t exactly the easiest thing in the world to do. At least, not at first. Yet, for every struggle families face raising third-culture kids, the benefits are not only numerous but also long-lasting. Raise your child abroad, and you will literally change the course of their lives…for the better.
Here are a few of the most important and unique benefits
They will be better able to cope with change at any time in their lives
Uprooting children from their home country during their formative years is perhaps the hardest task of all. Yet, this very real struggle pays back the biggest dividends when it comes to adaptability.
Expat children develop a natural knack for coping with change, and this will serve them well, long-term. Being flexible to live’s many curve-balls and adapting to new situations are undoubtedly the most crucial benefits of being raised abroad.
Children who are raised abroad develop a different sense of ‘home’
Children who are brought up abroad inevitably develop a unique sense of home. For them, home is a feeling that’s primarily tied to people, not places. Because of this, feeling ‘at at home’ is something most expat-kids-turned-adults manage to experience no matter where they go.
Once the metaphorical umbilical-cord to their home-country is severed, children raised abroad to learn to become their base rather than have their base, and this is a wonderfully comforting feeling. As a third-country kid, you can feel at home just about anywhere you go. This incredible flexibility is a unique attribute of children brought up abroad and something that isn’t nearly as common among those who move abroad as adults.
They grow to be independent and self-sufficient adults
When you remove kids from the fabled ‘comfort bubble’, they will learn to be self-sufficient, independent, and capable of dealing with their issues on their own. Sure, they will have their parents and possibly siblings to lean on in difficult times (a tighter family unit is yet another benefit of moving abroad). However, given everyone in the family will be going through his/her own challenges, kids automatically become more emotionally self-sufficient.
Children raised abroad are more open-minded and tolerant and less self-centered
Being brought up on the metaphorical (or literal) opposite side of the planet is an eye-opening experience. When kids are raised outside of their home country, they will invariably learn all about foreign cultures, traditions, and religions. They will realize that their own culture and ancestry are but one of many, and this ends up making them more tolerant of others.
This doesn’t mean ex-pat children lose the connection to their own culture entirely. But yes, their self-identity will no longer just be tied to one country or culture. For parents who are keen to introduce their children to the world and make them more culturally aware, the enticement of moving abroad, even just for a few years, is colossal.
All of their newly developed skills will make them highly employable adults
The stats for third-country kids in this regard are impressive. In several surveys taken in key expat-countries in Asia and Europe over the last decade, it’s been shown that almost 90% of children raised abroad speak two or more languages, and nearly half speak at least three languages. Two-thirds have a 4-year college degree, and about one-third goes on to acquire a Ph.D. This, combined with all the above benefits, turns ex-pat children into highly employable young adults.
Children brought up abroad stand out from the norm, and this incredible ‘boost’ will see them enjoy the spoils of more choices, no matter where in the world they wish to work and live. Of course, it helps if their education is in the hands of a Shanghai International School like WISS, which specializes in assisting, guiding, and shaping young minds. When you place your child among peers with similar experiences, you’ll be helping them adjust to their new home and come to terms with their newly found identity.
Raising kids abroad may not be the easiest thing in the world, but very few worthwhile and rewarding pursuits ever are.