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FAQs for Living and Working Overseas:


Written by a former Peace Corps Volunteer living overseas since 1989

The Expat Guy: FAQs for Working and Living Overseas

Spouse and Kids in the Expatriate Life?

Does an expat lifestyle fit well with a family?

Working Overseas presents special problems for those with partners, spouses, and/or kids.  Let's talk about kids first.

Kids

Unless you have a the skills for an executive position, specific technical skills, or a relevant graduate degree for teaching English, international school fees for children can be an extreme financial burden when living overseas. 

If your kids are too young to go to school - and your partner is going to stay home to take care of them - then perhaps no problem.  However, many international schools charge fees that are sometimes greater than the monthly salary of many jobs and even that of English teachers.

Exceptions

There are a few exceptions to the rule.  The better jobs in the Middle East will usually fund an international school education for two (sometimes more) children as part of the benefits package.  Also, international schools often provide free tuition for the children of their faculty.  It never hurts to ask if such benefits are provided - but they are not always on offer.

Home Schooling?

The author is aware of at least two families that used home schooling as an alternative to the costs of an international school education.  While it can be done well, the working schedule and burden on the parents to provide such instruction ultimately lead to a very poor education for their children.  These two families rather quickly headed back to their home country.   Home schooling as an alternative to a "real" education - is often not in the child's best interest.

Spouses and Partners

If you have a "working" partner who can also land a job, it only makes things easier!  Some employers (particularly schools) even look for couples, as it reduces their cost of housing: providing only one apartment or house versus two. 

One caution though, working with your partner all day can add stresses to your relationship.  And these stresses will come at a time when you are already a bit stressed by moving to a new country, culture, and job.  The author worked at the same school with his wife twice and wouldn't recommend it.  But, for many people for it works out just fine.

Be aware that working spouse or not, your partner is also in for a major adjustment and will need your support as much or possibly even more than you.

Non-Working Partners

Some spouses or partners will have difficulty adjusting in a country where they don't know the language and even TV sometimes offers only limited English language programming - if they have nothing to do. 

It may be best if they come either to work or with a specific project in mind (Writing a novel?  Setting up a website? Furthering their education?).

 

 

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