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Relocations Programe >> Moving to India >> Expat Kids
Relocating Kids

Successfully relocating kids internationally can be as much an attitude of mind as it is practical logistics.

  Getting the practical aspects of the move to go smoothly and calmly is important in helping children make the necessary adjustments. Planning the shipment of personal belongings and pets, the leaving of one home, traveling to a new country and then settling into a new home, country and school are separate issues whose individual aspects must be addressed from a child's point of view.
  Children can form negative perceptions of any part of a move, not just from what they hear from their parents and friends, but from what they do not hear.
  Common concerns children have about an international move can be :

They will be left behind (either at home or abroad)

  Their toys and personal possessions will be left behind and/or thrown away
  They will never go back home
  They will never see their friends and relatives again
  They will not have anywhere to live once they move abroad
  They will not be able to attend school abroad
  They will not have any friends in the destination country
  They will not be able to eat their favorite foods whilst abroad
  No one will speak their language in the destination country

Involving the children in the processes of moving can go a long way to relieving some of these concerns and explaining to them what is happening and going to happen can relive others.

  When parents presents a positive, but realistic, attitude towards a move, children will feel much happier too; they can easily pick up and adopt their parent's negative attitudes.
  The practical aspects of moving that directly affect children are discussed below. Addressing each, in consideration of an individual child's needs, will help them relocate successfully.
  Shipping as many of a child's personal possessions as possible will help them settle quickly into their new home by providing them with familiar objects and toys with which to personalize their new room. Providing personal photos and photo albums for children can also be helpful for reassuring them that their friends and relatives are not gone and forgotten.
  When children can see their belongings being packed and placed in the lorry, they can more readily accept they will see them again. If they have also seen a removal lorry delivering a shipment to a neighbor’s house they can be more confident that the lorry with their shipment will do the same too.
Leaving and Closure
  Saying goodbye is important for children. They need to know that friends and relatives will not forget them, and are waiting for them to return, either for visits or permanently.
  It might be painful at the time of the good-byes, but in the long run it can leave children more comfortable with the thought of being away from home.
  If it is necessary to fly to the destination, tips to help families do so can be found in our section Flying with Kids.
Arriving and Settling-In
  Children need to feel secure and confident in the new environment before they can fully appreciate and enjoy the new country.
  The first few days, or even weeks, is not the time to insist an older child venture out into a new city and country alone.
  Younger children may not sleep well and can suffer from separation anxiety. Because so much of what they know has changed, it can take them some time to understand that further changes are not going to happen too.
  If you moved from rural Scotland to downtown Edinburgh it would take your child a while to settle, and a move from London to Berlin will be much the same for a child.
  Providing a child with a secure and comfortable base, from which to explore their new surroundings, is an excellent place to start the settling-in process.
  Begin by making their room comfortable and familiar. Arrange toys, books, pictures and beds so they feel 'at home'. A child that sleeps well at night is going to be much happier than a tired grumpy one.
  Once the new home feels comfortable, the local area can be investigated with the knowledge that the safety of home can be returned to. This confidence booster will also make it easier for a child to integrate with other expat children and invite them to their home.




For expat parents, the decision on whether primary childcare of pre-school children will be done by a parent, domestic employee or day-care centre is made harder by the addition of factors that really only occur when the family is abroad.

  If one parent has fulfilled the primary childcare role before the move, they may be happy to continue doing so afterwards. However, in some countries it is not common practice for expat parents to do this as most families employ full-time domestic staff. In these circumstances it can be difficult for an expat caregiver to integrate into the group of caregivers because of language difficulties, or because the caregivers perceive the expat to have a different social status and thus remain detached.
  Other expats, who employ full-time staff, may also not 'approve' of an expat who looks after their own children, which can make it difficult for the care giving expat to mix with other expats during the day.
  When both parents have worked before the move, it can difficult for one to adjust to staying at home and assuming full-time childcare duties. If expat childcare in the host country is also commonly carried out by domestic staff, there may also be the problems discussed above.
  When considering the employment of domestic staff for childcare duties, expat parents need to consider how they will communicate with the caregiver, what language the caregiver will use with child, as well as the cultural attitudes of the caregiver towards diet, health/safety, behavior and discipline.
  If the family is planning to stay in the country for an extended period of time, a local caregiver can instill knowledge of the language from an early age and the child is likely to grow up bi-lingual, though if both parents work long hours the child's native language ability may suffer.
  Cultural attitudes towards childcare vary enormously and in some countries expat parents need to be firm in laying down ground rules with an employed caregiver. Areas of concern can be the provision of acceptable activities for the child, when it is safe for the child to go outside (in some countries children are never taken outside to play during the winter), television viewing and diet.
  The availability of day-care facilities varies from country to country, as does the quality. They also split into two general categories; local and international.
  Local facilities will usually use the local language and most of the staff and children will be local nationals. An expat child in such a centre will be immersed in the local language and culture.
  International facilities usually use English as the medium of instruction and can be of a standard and quality comparable to the best in Europe or North America. Some staff may be native English speakers, though there will probably be local staff too. Local children are often enrolled in such facilities, by parents anxious for their children to grow up bi-lingual.
  Whether the centre is local or international, expat parents should take care to find out as much as possible before enrolling their children. A meeting with staff and a visit during school hours is important, as is talking to parents of children who have attended the centre.
  Most expat children attend what are commonly referred to as international schools. These have been set up to provide quality education, in English, to children of many nationalities.
  Within the broad umbrella of international schools are 'American', 'British' and 'International' curriculum schools.
  At elementary and middle school level, there is not much to choose between them in terms of curriculum and teaching style. At high school level the curriculae vary greatly.
  American curriculum schools aim towards Standardized Assessment Tests (SATs) and Advanced Placement (AP) courses. These are the most common exams used to assess students for entry to American universities. At high school level students usually study a broad range of subjects until they graduate. For students who are likely to transfer back to America, or another American overseas school, accreditation by one of the US agencies or the European Council of International Schools (ECIS) can be important.
  British curriculum schools generally follow the British National Curriculum and students study for the GCSE and Advanced ('A') Level examinations. Accreditation is not seen as so important by many of these schools, though they can be among the best of the international schools. Students generally study at least 8 GCSEs and 3 or 4 'A' levels.
  In many countries there are also German, French, Pakistani and other nationality schools, sponsored by governments and organizations, which provide the standard education of that country.
  International curriculum schools are usually members of the International Baccalaureate Organization (IBO), based in Switzerland. IB school may follow any, or all, of the Primary Years, Middle Years, or Diploma programs. Many also offer IGCSE courses (the international version of the GCSE exams). The IB Diploma program is a demanding multidisciplinary course that can be taught in English, French or Spanish, though most use English. The IB diploma is widely recognized for entry to universities around the world.
  Local schools are another option for expat children, though parents should consider difficulties that the language of instruction and the content of the curriculum may pose for their child. For younger children a local school can be a good way for them to learn the local language.
  Whichever school is chosen, the suitability of the school, both socially and academically, for the child should be considered. Also important to consider is where the child will go when they leave the school (another school, university, etc.) and whether the curriculum will help or hinder that future move.
  To determine the quality of a school, parents should ask as many questions as possible of the school, parents of children who have attended it and expat staff at their embassy.
  To find an international school in your destination country, see our directory below :


American Embassy School

Chandragupta Marg, Chanakyapuri, New Delhi, 110 021, India
Tel : (+91) 11 2611 7140
Fax : (+91) 11 2687 3320
Age Range: 3-18
Total Enrolment: 971; 511 boys, 460 girls
FEES : Day only -US$ 4800-US$ 13150
American International School Chennai
17 Murray's Gate Road, Alwarpet, Chennai (Madras), 600 018, India
Tel : (+91) 44 2499 0881
Fax : (+91) 44 2466 0636
Age Range: 3-18
Total Enrolment: 201; 105 boys, 96 girls
Nationalities: 18
Pre-School: 15
Elementary (K-5): 100
Middle School (gr 6-8): 54
High School (gr 9-12): 32
Fees: Day only -US$ 2950-US$ 13500
American School of Bombay
C/o AmConGen, Department of State, Washington, DC, 20521-6240, USA
Tel : (+91) 22 22652 1837
Fax : (+91) 22 22652 1838
Age Range: 3-19
Total Enrolment: 306; 157 boys, 149 girls
Nationalities: 33
Elementary: 169
Middle School: 61
High School: 76
Fees: Day only: US$ 3208-US$ 17208
Other Fees:


Registration US$1,000; Capital levy Pre-K
US$10,000; Capital levy K-12 US$20,000


Bangalore International School

Geddalahalli, Hennur Bagalur Road, Kothanur Post, Bangalore, 560077, India
Tel : (+91) 912 846 5059/5060
Fax : (+91) 912 846 5059
Age Range: 3-17
Total Enrolment: 140; 68 boys, 72 girls
Fees: Day only -INR 20000-INR 42000
Calcutta International School Society
18 Lee Road, Calcutta, 700 020, India
Tel : (+91) 33 2247 9131
Fax : (+91) 33 2280 3258
Age Range: 4-18
Total Enrolment: 492; 237 boys, 255 girls
Fees: Day only -INR 13800-INR 19800
Canadian School of India
14/1 Kodigehalli Main Road, Sahakar Nagar, Bangalore, 560 092, India
Tel : (+91) 80 2343 8414
Fax : (+91) 80 2343 6488
Age Range: 2.5-19
Total Enrolment: 233
Nationalities: 28
Day: 83 boys, 89 girls
Boarding: 46 boys, 15 girls
Boarding: 61
Day: 172
Fees: Day only -US$ 4000-US$ 6200
Boarding -US$ 3000-US$
Hebron School
Lushington Hall, Ootacamund, Nilgiri Hills, Tamil Nadu, 643001, India
Tel : (+91) 423 442372/442587
Fax : (+91) 423 442195
Age Range: 5-18
Total Enrolment: 598; 185 boys, 154 girls
Fees: Day only -US$ 1000-US$ 6600
Boarding -US$ 1450-US$ 5800
India International School
Gurukul Marg, SFS, Mansarovar, Jaipur, 302 020, India
Tel : (+91) 141 239 7906/7/8
Fax : (+91) 141 239 5494
Age Range: 4-18
Total Enrolment: 2000; 1210 boys, 790 girls
Nationalities: 7
Play School (KG): 107
Primary: 708
Middle: 527
Secondary: 340
Higher Secondary: 318
Fees: Day only -INR 12900-INR 14600


International School of Hyderabad

6-3-346 Road # 1, Banjara Hills, Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh, 500 034, India
Tel : (+91) 40 2335 1110
Fax : (+91) 40 2339 5065
Age Range: 3-18
Total Enrolment: 55; 25 boys, 30 girls
Nationalities: 11
Nursery/Pre-School: 7
Primary School: 34
High School: 14
Fees: Day only -US$ 4800-US$ 5700
Kodaikanal International School
PO Box 25, Kodaikanal, 624101 TN, India
Tel : (+91) 4542 41104/5/6/7/8
Fax : (+91) 4542 41109/10
Age Range: 4-19
Total Enrolment: 492
Nationalities: 24
Day: 63 boys, 63 girls
Boarding: 211 boys, 155 girls
High: 316
Middle: 93
Elementary: 83
Fees: Day only -US$ 3300-US$ 15000
Boarding -US$ 3700-US$ 15000


Mahindra United World College of India

Post Office Paud, Pune, 412108, India
Tel : (+91) 2139 43263/4
Fax : (+91) 2139 43260
E mail: dwilkinson@muwci.net
Web site: http://www.muwci.net
Age Range: 16-20
Total Enrolment: 200; 0 boys, 0 girls
Mallya Aditi International School
Post Box No 6427, Yelahanka, 560 064, Bangalore, India
Tel : (+91) 80 846 2508/856 0238
Fax : (+91) 80 846 2506/7
E mail: mais@aditiblr.org
Age Range: 5-18
Total Enrolment: 489; 234 boys, 255 girls
Fees: Day only -US$ 10000-US$ 11250
Mercedes Benz International School
Bungalow 16, Telco Senior Officers Housing Colony, Pimpri, Pune, 411018, India
Tel : (+91) 20 747 3688
Fax : (+91) 20 747 3688
E mail: mbisch@pn2.vsnl.net.in
Web site: http://www.ecis.org/mbis
Age Range: 2-16
Nationalities: 14
Total Enrolment: 57; 27 boys, 30 girls
Nursery: 3
Primary (PYP): 24
Secondary (MYP): 30
Fees: Day only -INR 192000-INR 475000


Pathways World School

2 Sainik Farms, New Delhi, 110062, India
Tel : (+91) 11 685 0592-3
Fax : (+91) 11 685 0591
E mail: jstaylor@pathways.ac.in
Web site: http://www.pathways.ac.in
Age Range: 3-18
Nationalities: 0
Total Enrolment: 0
Fees: Day only -US$ 2000-US$ 3500
Boarding -US$ 4500-US$ 5500
The British School
San Martin Marg, Chanakyapuri, New Delhi, 110021, India
Tel : (+91) 11 410 2183/467 8524
Fax : (+91) 11 611 2363
Age Range: 4-18
Nationalities: 49
Total Enrolment: 526; 287 boys, 239 girls
Primary School: 204
Senior School: 237
'A' level programme: 85
Fees: Day only -INR 87000-INR 160000
The International School Bangalore
NAFL Valley, Whitefield-Sarjapur Road, Near Dommasandra Circle, Bangalore, 562 125, Karnataka, India
Tel : (+91) 80 782 2550
Fax : (+91) 80 782 2553
Age Range: 4-18
Nationalities: 49
Total Enrolment: 660; 230 boys, 190 girls


Woodstock School

Mussoorie, Uttaranchal, 248 179, India
Tel : (+91) 135 632610/547/421/622
Fax : (+91) 135 632885
Age Range: 3-18
Nationalities: 21
Total Enrolment: 450
Day: 32 boys, 34 girls
Boarding: 196 boys, 188 girls
Fees: Boarding -US$ 9950-US$ 11100
Ecole Française Internationale
51- K Bhulabhai Desai Road - Sham Nivas Colony - 400026 Bombay, India
Tel : (91) 22 2367 39 41 / 54
Fax : (91) 22 2364 93 08
Age Range: 2-11
Total Enrolment: 14
Fees: Boarding - 3 689 _ - 6 280 _
Ecole Française
2 Aurangzeb Road - - New Delhi 110011, India
Tel : (91) 11 3201 71 38
Fax : (91) 11 2379 45 95
Age Range: 2,5-17
Total Enrolment: 201
Fees: Boarding -2 210 _ -4 299 _
Lycée Français
12 rue Victor Simonel - BP 35 - Pondichéry 605 001, India
Tel : (91) 413 33 40 96
Fax : (91) 413 33 42 65
Age Range: 3-18
Total Enrolment: 1168
Fees: Boarding -340 _ - 575 _
Culture Shock

Culture shock is an integral part of relocating; everyone suffers from it to some extent. The term 'Culture Shock' can be misleading, as it is not only the different culture of the host country that can be unsettling. Instead of the label culture shock, try considering the phrase, 'stress and anxiety resulting from unfamiliar surroundings'. When moving abroad, not only the predominant culture of the people and city around you changes, there is often a lifestyle change for the family too: apartment living instead of a house with a garden, a private school instead of a state school, increase in disposable income, domestic staff being employed in the home, only one parent working. Even if you can buy recognizable and favorite food items in the host country, there are likely to be changes to taste, quality and price due to local climatic conditions, production and preparation methods and the cost of importing. These lifestyle changes can be as difficult for a family to adapt to as the cultural changes. The change in environment can lead children to become depressed, anxious, unhappy, badly behaved and physically ill. Advance preparation and introduction to the likely changes will mean that they are less surprising and ultimately less problematic. Introducing A New Country As Your Future Home
The best way to introduce children successfully to something new is to make it exciting. The following ideas can be used to prepare your children for an international move:



Show them picture books, videos and travel brochures about the destination country.

  Take them to restaurants that serve the food of the country you are going to
  Introduce them to nationals of the destination country at embassies, tourist offices and ethnic restaurants.
  Explain any anticipated differences in lifestyle before the move.
  Plan strategies for working with the changes so their impact is positive as much as possible.
  Always try and convey excitement about the move.
  Once children have some knowledge of where they are going and are excited about a new experience they will be more open to accepting the novelty and less worried about the great unknown.
Post Arrival Strategies for Relieving Culture Shock
  It is the unfamiliar aspects of a country that prompt the stresses of culture shock. For children it can seem that everything is different and unfamiliar. The language they hear around them and the signs they see are likely to be unintelligible. The buildings, shops, foods and restaurants can all look strange too.
  By finding familiar shops, restaurants and foods, the enormity of the differences will lessen for children. A visit to McDonalds may not be top of the list for adults as a place to eat in Paris, but for children it can be a welcome reassurance that everything they knew has not disappeared.
  Making contact with other children who speak their language - preferably those who like the country - will help children settle too. A peer that children can communicate with can help reduce loneliness and anxiety, and provide explanations of and introductions to the new culture.
  Activities and sports are useful for helping children settle in a foreign country. Football, horse riding, or any other activity that a child likes can give them something to look forward to and a place to make more friends, both local and expatriate ones. Attending a specific group activity eases the pressure of making friends, by giving the child a reason for being part of the group. It will also boost their confidence, encourage them to find positive aspects of the country and teach them, through host country friends, how to make the most of the country that is now home.
  A major cause of stress in a foreign country is the inability to understand what is being said and written. This lack of language skills can also make it more difficult to appreciate how to successfully live in a country. If the local language is not being taught in the child's school, consider private lessons.
  Younger children pick up a language by assimilation. If you have local friends ask them to speak to young children in the local language, especially if you expect to be in the country for a few years. Continuous exposure to the language will help the child learn it and make their stay in the country much less frustrating and much more enjoyable.
The Cycle of Culture Shock
  The effects of culture shock usually fade over time, especially with family support and encouragement to understand the differences met during time spent in a foreign country. Culture shock often follows a pattern of Euphoria (initial enjoyment of all the exciting new aspects of the country), Depression (when the negative differences overwhelm the positive ones) and Adaptation (as adjustment to the country is made). The time scale of this pattern varies for everyone and not everyone experiences all three. The most common time scale seems to be approximately a week of Euphoria, a couple of months of Depression and many months of Adaptation. Many expats feel that the first year in a country is one of ongoing adaptation and orientation.
  However, culture shock can be cyclical and expatriates find that it recurs over time, especially at certain times of year, no matter how long they stay in a country. Special holidays or anniversaries can reawaken aspects of culture shock and spark depression and frustration years after the move.

Children can experience this cycle too and they need ongoing support from their parents to benefit fully from the experience of living abroad.