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UK Relo round up

By Caroline Breeds, ACS Corporate Relations Consultant

We were delighted to hold our Relocation event last week at our Egham campus; this provided a fantastic opportunity to network with industry peers and to listen to a panel of ACS Egham parents they shared their personal feedback regarding their experiences of relocating to the UK. As always the feedback has been extremely positive regarding the event. We will be hosting our next event in February so look out for that invite in the New Year.





   I have attended many conferences since my last round up, the Embassy   Education Conference being one of them; this was a great opportunity to speak directly with Embassy officials. The winner of our prize draw was Brigadier General S. Mahbobo – the picture below was taken giving the prize (a Fortnum and Mason Tea Basket) to a member of staff at the South African Embassy.












My colleague Fergus Rose and Andrew Kittell had a very successful Worldwide ERC conference, meeting with many delegates. Congratulations to Fergus who was awarded the Meritorious Service award. 

Having recently attended the FEM Summit this was a great opportunity to keep up to date with the latest trends in mobility, such as more diverse nationalities relocating to the UK, gradual increase in the female lead assignees as well as a reduction in the graduate programme.















We had a fantastic opportunity to give a presentation at Shell in London with one of our alumni students, Isabella Rose. Isabella was able to share her experience of attending our Hillingdon campus and present on the topic - ‘Why choose the International Baccalaureate’ if you would like to view the video please click here If you would like to arrange a similar presentation then please do not hesitate in contacting me.  I look forward to speaking with you soon, Caroline 

Our newsletters are brought to you in partnership with Living Abroad.  This month's feature will be of interest to any professionals who relocate families with older children.

Helping Teens Adjust to Life Abroad

by Ellen Harris, International Product Director, Living Abroad

Being a teen on a family’s international assignment presents its own unique challenges. Being a parent to that teen is challenging as well.

Adolescence is a time when friends and peers mean a great deal. A familiar environment provides balance to the inner tumult many teens feel as they mature physically and psychologically. Removing those two identity anchors can provoke very difficult emotions and behaviours.

In a 2014 Harvard Business Review survey of 4000 executives, 34% said they had turned down an international move because they did not want to uproot their families. Several executives – both men and women – declined to relocate while their children were adolescents. 

And yet, families do move with teenagers. Successfully. Clearly there are benefits and rewards that every family weighs against discomfort and initial unhappiness. How can you help your teen navigate the uncharted waters of a foreign home? Here are a few suggestions:

Talking and Listening. Patience and calm are required when introducing the topic of the move. Listen to and acknowledge their feelings and reactions. Minimizing or dismissing negative emotions doesn’t help, nor does painting a rosy picture in which nothing but good will come of the move. A realistic view shows that you have thought about this opportunity from multiple angles.

And while you’re not obligated to spell out every reason why the move is undertaken, providing some solid reasoning behind the decision can help your youngster see the practical side. Keeping yourself calm will go a long way toward reassuring your teen that the decision has been made and that you are comfortable with it.

Learn Together. Find out about the host country as a family. Websites, videos, books, and music all serve to paint a picture of your new home. Recognition will make it less daunting upon arrival. From your teen’s perspective, he or she is moving from an environment that is relatively safe and comfortable toward a blank future about which they know nothing. They know how much they will miss home, but they can’t yet know how much they will enjoy the new experience.

Arrange for language training if necessary. There are many options for online learning and apps that make acquiring a new language fun. Mastering some words and phrases in advance can start the process of understanding and immersing your teen in the new culture, even if there is a large expat community that speaks your native language.

That’s another thing to find out: How large is the expat population in your host country? In countries with a lot of international turnover, your teen’s experience as the “new kid” is minimized and often shared by other newly relocated families.

Build Bridges. Will your teen be able to keep up a favourite activity or sport while abroad? Can they keep a part-time job? (Be sure to check whether there are any work visa issues with this.) Continuity can bridge the gap between the familiar home environment and the unknown new one.

In addition, a new country can also provide opportunities for to undertake something entirely new. Whether the climate or national pastime is novel, or the environment provides a sense of courage not found in the home routine, help your teen embrace it. For example, someone may have an interest in theatre but consider him- or herself too shy at home. Shedding some long-held peer personality stereotypes can be liberating in the right circumstances.

Enlist Their Help. Have them participate in the preparations and packing. They’ll not only share the family’s workload, but also will feel a part of the relocation process. Cleaning their room, choosing what to bring, and contributing to larger household tasks keep them engaged and helpful. Note that youngsters in your host country likely dress differently than those at home. Give your teen the opportunity to research local wardrobes and so choose accordingly from his/her own closet.

If you have younger children as well, your teen may be able to help them learn about the host country language, food, climate, and local activities at their own level. They also can help younger ones pack.

Encourage Contact but Foster Independence. Encourage and facilitate contact with home friends and relatives. Keeping in touch via social media, phone calls, and apps like Skype or Viber help teens not only stay emotionally connected to close friends, but will also ease the eventual transition back home. Regular chats with grandparents or other close relatives can be reassuring while allowing them to share new experiences.

Realize that this is also a time in their lives when they are asserting independence, and moving to a foreign location places them squarely back into dependence on the family unit – at least in their minds, and at least until they carve out a life of their own in the new country. Respond to this by allowing some freedom and responsibility and you may see augmented personal growth. It also can give your teen a sense of ownership over discovering some aspects of the host country.

Once settled abroad, help your teen understand that a return home one day – if that is your family’s plan – will offer its own challenges, as the teen will have changed. This can have liberating consequences, especially for teens who saw only one life path prior to the move.

Anecdotally, many teens who relocated later say that the move was difficult and/or painful in some way, but the majority claimed they had positive experiences and lessons, not to mention a broadened world view.

Some resources for further reading:

Emotional Resilience and the Expat Child: Practical Storytelling Techniques that will Strengthen the Global Family by Julia Simens

Footsteps Around the World: Relocation Tips for Teens, 2nd Ed. By Beverly D. Roman


I look forward to seeing or hearing from you soon, in the meantime please do not hesitate to contact me if you require any further information.

Caroline Breeds

Corporate Relations Consultant