Should I Stay or Should I Go?
The definitive guide to moving abroad and whether it's right for you

Raising Kids

This is a preview to the chapter Raising Kids from the book Should I Stay or Should I Go? by Paul Allen.
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“The test of the morality of a society is what it does for its children.” – Dietrich Bonhoeffer, German Protestant theologian and anti-Nazi activist (1906-45)

Perhaps you’re one of the many retirees considering a life in the sun, and your children have already flown the nest. Or maybe you don’t have kids and have no intention of ever saddling yourselves with a bunch of money-sucking leeches. If so, please feel free to skip forwards to the next section.

When we moved to Spain we didn’t have children either. Yet, as already mentioned, within six months of getting here my wife was pregnant. And believe me, the prospect of raising a family puts your living abroad adventure in a whole new light.

So, assuming you have a family already or envisage starting one at some point, consider this: do you see your offspring growing up as little Australians or Canadians, as Spaniards, French or South African, with all the sense of identity and cultural affinity that implies? Is this who you want your children to become? Is this who your children themselves want to become?

Unless you’re relocating purely because of a job offer or work transfer, presumably you are considering moving because you feel your desired destination offers the chance for a better life. You know, a bigger house, beaches close by, the chance to go waterskiing every weekend ... all those factors we’ve already discussed.

In theory it sounds great. And there are strong arguments in favour of an international upbringing, whether as a result of a permanent relocation, or as a Third Culture Kid (TCK) tracking their parents’ overseas job postings. As non-profit organisation TCKID highlights1, some of the pros include:

- An ability to bridge cultures.
- Often being able to speak several languages.
- More open-minded and less prejudiced.
- Able to adapt easily to different countries, cultures and people.
- Used to establishing relationships quickly.
- Self-reliance.
- Tendency to be educational achievers.

In this globalised, multicultural and fast-moving world such attributes are becoming increasingly valuable, even essential.
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