Global Parenting Interviews
Expat Parenting Interview Series
One of the greatest parts of being an expat is learning from the different cultures around you. For me as a parent, this has meant learning there is no one right way to do things and there is a lot we could all learn from different parenting styles, cultures and traditions around the globe.
Come and read about the parenting world through the eyes of expatriates and the challenges and pleasures of raising a family while living abroad. You may also like our “where are they now” post where we re-interviewed many of our families in 2018.
In our first look in to expat life on the African continent, it was great to get in touch with Annie from A Wright Adventure and her family who followed her husbands teaching job to Solwezi, Zambia. Looking for an outdoor lifestyle where the kids can run freely and the zebra roam around your garden? Zambia might just be the place for you – if you can put up with the isolation, lack of shops and the health risks. Some families are more than cut out for the challenge though and the adventure that lies ahead.
Living the expat life on an island might sound idyllic, but it’s not without its own sets of challenges for a young family. Chantelle talks us through her life with husband, a toddler and a newborn on this tiny Indian Ocean island. Social circles are small, children’s facilities are limited and groceries can be lacking, but does having a beach on your doorstep make it all worthwhile?
Essential Expat Reading: The Expat Partner’s Survival Guide – an authoritative guide for anyone accompanying their spouse on an overseas assignment
Growing up expat, it was no surprise for Mariam when she found herself living a parenting life on the move. Born in Karachi, raised in Bahrain, New York and Pakistan before meeting her husband in the Uk and moving to Singapore, Mariam reveals why Singapore will always be special and why its such a great place for first-time parents.
New to parenting and the expat life, Terri and her husband Ash found themselves thrown into their new world in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam right after the birth of their little girl in 2015. Adapting to distance from family and the Asian way of doing things hasn’t been easy but there are also plenty of opportunities ahead too.
From birthing paradise in Hong Kong to health concerns and language ba
rriers in Xi’an, Aussie expat Nicole walks us through two quite contrasting experiences of expat life in China as a hoteliers wife.
Certainly, not all expat postings are considered hardship. In fact, with the right attitude and timing an expat move can be the perfect opportunity for a young family with options for only one parent to work, exceptional medical care and access to fantastic schools. Laura, a fellow blogger from Life With Baby Kicks is a British expat based in Dubai, UAE. She talks to us about the opportunities that moving to the desert has brought to her young family and how being an expat has eased her journey into parenthood.
Australian expats Gwen and Jose made the move with their two young girls to Macau in 2011. Here is their story about living in this tiny part of the world caught up in extremes. Gwen highlights the importance of choosing the best locations for families to live and making the most of the time you have when you are unable to work.
Not your everyday expat posting – and certainly not somewhere you are likely to see many families today – but back in 2008, prior to the Marriott bombing expat life in Islamabad was a little different. Clara along with her husband and two young girls moved to Islamabad to begin a new expat chapter in their lives, and despite the challenges of living in a very foreign country they were beginning to feel settled when one of the worst possible expat scenarios occurred.
It was Leona’s job that first took them to Doha, in Qatar, but little did they expect how much they would end up falling in love with this city, nor that their first daughter would be born there. Leona takes us through her experience with the Qatar medical system and giving birth overseas, what parents should expect from schooling and how to keep your little ones entertained while you connect with other parents in Doha.
Meet our first expat mum moving from a foreign language into an English speaking country. Italian mum-of-two Marta explains to us why she took the plunge to move her life from Rome to Dublin with her Irish husband. Schooling and cultural differences aside (and the food!), if the worst thing to complain about is the weather, could it be that bad?
Moving for love and an idyllic island lifestyle for your family sounds perfect, but with the good, there’s always the battles too; language barriers, cultural differences and needing to forge your way to a new life on an often lonely path. Johlene takes us through her journey assimilating to life in her small island home and navigating parenting in a foreign culture.
Proving that your expat story might not take you down the path you would like, but you can still come out as a stronger person. Catherine talks us through how an unexpected posting to Petisti, Romania put a spanner in wedding and family plans, the difficulties she endured with language barriers, loneliness and different views on childhood and parenting. Far from the best experience but there was still some small silver lining.
Related Reading: This Messy Mobile Life – how globally mobile families can create a life by design
Tropical storms, mosquitoes, power cuts and gun-wielding teenagers, not exactly the makings of a tourist brochure, nor what immediately springs to mind when you think about the expat life. Imagine being given a weeks notice that you are about to move your family from Europe to Central America, no one speaks a word in your native tongue, you are in fact living over an hour from the nearest capital city with a new baby to care for and no support network. Brit Catherine and her husband Ivo from Belgium were thrown into this situation not long after their daughter Olivia was born in 2010 when his employer posted him to Colon, Panama.
In this instalment, we welcome back our favourite serial expat to the hot seat, Clara Wiggins from Expat Partner Survival. Clara brings to life her feelings on suddenly being plunged into a small island on the opposite side of the world with two small children – the catalyst that inspired her book. Even beautiful beaches and a dreamy climate can’t make up for the isolation and loneliness you can sometimes feel as an expat wife.
Related Reading: Given birth overseas or about to? Knocked up Abroad is a must-read for your expat bookshelf
AROUND THE WORLD
Bombings, malaria, civil war, earthquakes and evacuations. All in a day’s job perhaps for our military men and women, but how did an Aussie accountant and mum of two find herself dealing with these things as part of her job?
I am proud to introduce you to Julie Cooper who with the support of husband Sean, daughter Ali and son Lucas has undertaken a slightly less convenient expat journey through some of the world’s most forbidding locations as a Public Financial Management and Performance Improvement Specialist. Since 2001, Julie and her family have lived on and off overseas, together and apart as conditions have allowed. From the tiny island paradise of Vanuatu to the dust-filled streets of Juba, parenting on the road with hardship postings has thrown up many challenges that most families could not comprehend.
From London to Hamburg; China to Moscow and now living in Pardubice, Czech Republic, native Ukranian Yuliya along with her Russian husband and their two Tiny Expats have already travelled further than most people would go in a lifetime. From childbirth away from home, making mummy friends and establishing your parenting style we talk to Yuliya about parenting life on the expat trail, decisions that need to be made and the impact it might have on their amazing little girls.
We have completed our expat interview series now, but if you still have an interesting story you’d like to have told please contact Keri at firstname.lastname@example.org
Did you know we also have advice on Expat Money Matters to consider when living abroad with a family? Or how about learning more about the wonderful Expat Entrepreneurs who live in and enrich the lives of our global community.
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