Expats And Their Families Missing Support Network

New research by AXA’s international health insurance specialist has found that expats and their children are finding it difficult to be away from close friends and family. Two-fifths of expats and 32 per cent of their children cited that being away from their support network was one of the most difficult aspects of their transition to life abroad – no matter their nationality or where they had relocated to.

Making friends was an issue for both groups, with 20 per cent of adults and 28 per cent of children citing difficulties. Twenty per cent of adults and 15 per cent of children (according to their parents) also said they struggled with building a new support network after relocating. Surprisingly, the research consistently highlighted how adults were affected more than their children and faced more barriers.

Language was another difficult obstacle to overcome, with almost a third of expats saying they have found the language a challenge, along with 25 per cent of their children. Notably, 62 per cent of expats found this to be the case when moving to Germany, more so than other countries. Surprisingly, weather was also a barrier to settling in – especially for those moving to the UK. Overall, 26 per cent of adults found the weather difficult to get used to but this rose to 42 per cent when speaking about the UK specifically.

When it came to family life specifically, childcare was a significant consideration. Thirty-six per cent of expats agreed that childcare is more affordable where they live now than in their country of birth. Forty-one per cent of expats agreed the standard of childcare is better than in their home country. However, 38 per cent did state that the standard of childcare concerns them more than it did in their home country. Language, however, was not seen as a concern, with almost half disagreeing that the language difference is a concern when bringing up children.