It’s natural to want your children to have fantastic opportunities in life - as parents that’s all we ever want. That’s why we encourage our kids to try different sports, take family trips to see the world, and make our children’s education a priority. When it comes to giving your children the best chances, you may be considering doing something a little more radical. Such as moving abroad to the UK, for instance. It’s a big step, but it could just be the perfect one to make.
Sometimes, moving to a new location can be all it takes to give your children the opportunities that they’re missing where you live. Okay, it might be a big step to take - upping sticks and jetting off to another country, but if it’s right for your family, it’s the right choice to make. If you like the idea of moving abroad, the next thing that you need to do is get your head around how to make it happen. What are the steps that you need to take to move to the UK and what makes it worth it? I’ve done the research so that you don’t have to - keep reading for everything that you need to know.
Plan a trip to the UK.
The first thing that you need to do is plan a trip to the UK. Regardless of how many times your family has been to the UK, if you’re planning on moving there, you need to spend an extended period there. The school holidays are an ideal time to do this. As your kids are off of school, so you can take them with you without worrying about them missing anything important. Rent a house or flat and spend a few weeks in the UK. Travel around and get a feel for various parts of the country. Is there an area you love the most - spend some time there getting to know it.
The next step is to consider what opportunities your family will have in the UK. If you’ve heard about the high levels of state education on offer, for instance, take the time to do more research into this more. Or, if the reason you want to move to the UK is because of the job prospects for you and your partner, take the time to research working in the UK. You need to find out how you would go about it as a US citizen. The UK has lots of opportunities for families, it’s an amazing place, but that doesn’t mean it’s right for you. Before you make the move overseas, you need to ensure that the opportunities that you’re moving for are there.
Go house hunting.
The idea of looking for a house overseas is most probably a scary prospect, especially if you can’t be in the country to house hunt on a constant basis. The best thing to do is start house hunting while in the UK and get yourself a good estate agent whose judgement you trust. That way, when you’re back in the US, if they show you a house online, you can trust what they say about it. For trustworthy estate agents, visit Bridgfords. Or, have a browse online for other reputable estate agents in the area that you want to move to. You’ll feel a lot better about moving abroad if you know you have an estate agent that you can trust to help you find the perfect property.
Decide what to keep and what to say goodbye to.
The downside to moving overseas is that you can’t keep all your possessions. Well, you could do, but it would be incredibly expensive to ship them all. It will most probably work out cheaper to buy all new furniture and electronics instead of shipping all of your items. Plus, some electronic items won’t work well in the UK because of the voltage difference to US plug sockets. So it could be best all around if you opt to buy new furniture and electronics. Any items you no longer want, sell and use the money you make to put towards new items in the UK.
Only ship what you need.
If you want to keep moving costs low, only ship what you need. When it comes to personal items, give each family member a crate to fill with any items that they want to take with them. Toys, photos, clothing, and so on, should be placed in this crate. If you can’t pack all your clothes, don’t stress, as there are plenty of cheap clothing stores in the UK. It can be hard saying goodbye to your belongings, but if you don’t need to take them, it’s best to save money and not ship them. Don’t forget to pack a few US to UK plug converters for things like tablets and smartphones.
Taking pets abroad.
Pets are part of the family, so you’ll want to take them with you, the question is how to do that? It’s not as difficult as you would think, all you need to do is ensure that your pet is microchipped and up to date with all vaccines. This should include rabies - if your pet hasn’t had this, they need to have it, as well as a blood test for the disease, at least a month before you move to the UK.
Enrol your little ones in school.
The chances are that you’ve already looked at the best schools for your children, but you can’t enrol them until you have a UK address. So, as soon as you arrive in the UK, you need to enrol your children in the school of your choice. If they’re of elementary school age - known as primary school in the UK, they should be placed immediately into the correct year. However, if they’re of middle or high school age - known as secondary school in the UK, they may be placed in a lower year than their age. This is simply because of the exam system in the UK - ask the school to explain this in further detail.
It’s important to help your little ones make friends in their new country. You’ve chosen to move abroad so that they can have a better quality of life, and friends are a big part of that. The best ways to help your little ones make friends is to sign them up for local clubs and activities. If they had a hobby in the US, such as ballet or soccer, find a local club or class for them in their new country. If not, look for a new sport or activity that they might like - there are plenty to choose from. Local sport’s centers are a great place to look for clubs and activities as are children’s centers, as they tend to have lots of activities on offer.
Teach them about their new country.
If you want your family to do well in the UK, you need to teach them about their new home. Your kids need to know everything about the UK, from the spelling difference in the US to who the Queen and Prime Minister are. If you want your children to do well in their new country, you need to help them integrate into it properly. Of course, you still want them to remember their roots, but also learn to love their new country. Perhaps you could buy them a book all about the UK, packed full of fun facts and interesting trivia? Find a way to teach them about their new home and they’ll have more opportunities because of it.