Relocation is not easy for adults but it can be made otherwise when you plan well. Though it is always simpler to move a young family (or family without children), relocation still requires a lot of undertaking. From taking care of accommodation, school, utilities down to getting rid of the car, moving in any fashion is a very tiring process. Moving to another country is more complicated as the process is not straight forward like going to the next block (of the same country). Such a move requires greater coordination including having a knowledge of how things work in the other country. Caroline Yeung shares with us about her experience of moving to the States 17 years ago.

helping your child to adjust to a new culture

1. Before Actual Relocation

Friends: Leaving children’s established network of friends can be a difficult process. Unlike adults, children may take a longer time to establish friendships. If possible, parents should consider collecting their current friends’ contact details as their children may find themselves initially without friends at the new location.

Visit: To assess the opportunity, parents may want to consider visiting the new location prior to the actual move. To establish greater cooperation from their children, parents may also want to bring their children along to enable them to see the new environment. While visiting, they should arrange appropriate activities for them to check out new potential. Whenever possible, parents should also visit the new school with their children.

Country choice: If possible, parents may also want to consider the relocation choice that could maximize their families’ potential. To me, relocation to the US is relatively easy compared to the other countries. Culture, freedom, language, and space were among my initial consideration when I first moved to California 17 years ago. Northern California is unique as it has a larger mix of people where Asians take up 15% of the total population. California’s Asian population is estimated at 4.9 million (approximately one-third of the nation’s estimated 15 million Asian Americans). As such, more ethnic amenities such as Chinese cafes, bakeries, supermarkets, restaurants, and other shops have become the latest (and necessary) additions in most Californian cities.

2. Upon Arrival

New system: In US, students attend elementary, middle and high schools before going to colleges or universities. At each level, a choice of public and private schools exists. Prior to departure, parents should identify areas where they would like to live as this will help to identify school choices. Generally, parents can send their children to any private elementary if they choose to but they would have to stay close to a public elementary school due to admission requirements. Next, the academic year starts in September or fall, and ends by mid-June allowing students to participate in summer camps, and non-academic activities. Most schools use the quarter system which includes winter and spring breaks. In addition, uniforms are not required (for all public schools), and students have the freedom to wear casual clothes. While the children are adjusting to the new system, parents should render as much help as possible to enable a smooth transition.

academic system in the US

Lighter academic load: I certainly feel that it is easier for children coming from the east to adjust in the US. For one, the lighter load, and absence of periodic examinations will not create an added stress at least in the beginning. Children are still required to perform in classes – homework, tests and group projects are assigned, collected and graded on a regular basis. In addition, an emphasis on sports, and other non-academic activities tend to encourage these children to go outdoors as well. Over here, weekends are popular for outdoor sports such as baseball, basketball, soccer, tennis, and others.

Helping Your Child Adjust To A New Culture Part 2

By Caroline Yeung
Caroline has over 18 years of communication experience and she has worked with technology and consumer companies. Her recent interest in Early Childhood Education has led her to work towards a certificate from The UCLA Extension in California. Caroline’s previous teaching experience also came from working with junior college and polytechnic students in Singapore.