Back to school in a foreign country

By Bettina Hemmingsen

Moving is a challenging and difficult experience especially for children. Whether it’s your first relocation or another down the line it is important to remember that reactions from children will vary depending on their personality and developmental age.

Roller coaster emotions are not uncommon. One day the child may be thrilled and excited, then blue and depressed the next.
Moving to a new school is usually the hardest part of a move for kids. Switching schools means making new friends, getting to know new teachers and figuring out how to navigate their way through a new system. This is particularly difficult for teens.

Tips for the First Few Weeks or Months
Talk to them.
A lot. The first few weeks of school can be challenging. You might find that your child reacts differently than you may have expected. Make sure you take the time to talk to them about their experience. Watch for any signs that your child is not adjusting. Ask for one-on-one time with teachers, if needed.

Grades may change.
Be aware that your child’s grades could be affected by the move. Often, grades go down. This can be due to the change in curriculum, change in teaching styles or simply that they need time to adjust.

Encourage extra-curricular activities.
Help your child find clubs and activities they’ll want to attend either through school, a community center or a local church. Encourage sleep-overs and play-dates.
Ask your child about new friends, then call their parents and invite them over for an afternoon or evening. Or volunteer to drive them to the mall or to a movie.

Remember, it’s going to take time.
Adjusting to a new home, new school and new friends will take some time. Give your child the chance to feel comfortable in their new space. It may even take a few months before things settle. Allow your child (and yourself) that time. And before you know it, you’ll all be feeling a lot more at home.

Go to my website: www.bettinahemmingsen.com if you want to know more about how I can help you and your family adapt to change in your life abroad.

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