Yesterday, November 20th, was World Children’s Day – a day dedicated by the United Nations to promote international togetherness and children’s welfare. It’s also a great excuse to challenge yourself to shift your perspective and see the world through the eyes of a child. You may be pleasantly surprised to find it a little more vibrant and brimming with curiosity.
As mobility professionals, we support the whole family in the transition to their new location, whether that includes kids, grandparents, furry four-legged friends, or Dexter, the emotional support peacock. And generally, everyone will experience a relocation differently. But that’s not a bad thing! While many parents are apprehensive of the impacts of uprooting a child from what feels safe and familiar, with the proper support, a relocation can be an enriching experience that builds invaluable skills and resiliency! The road won’t always be easy, but the skills they develop last a lifetime and will help them succeed in childhood and adulthood!
Throughout an assignment, we witness some of the most important milestones, like packing up their belongings, saying goodbye to friends, the first day of school in the new country, developing new friendships, and exploring their whole new world. We’ve learned that these pint-sized family members are often more adaptable, curious and excited about a move.
Kids are hardwired to learn and retain information far more effectively than adults. And this comes in very handy when transitioning to a location where a different language is spoken. Expat children are often the first in their families to master the language of their new country.
“Even without much language at all, you can see how young kids find ways to play together on the playground, or how adolescents spontaneously start sharing music or video games. These natural bonds offer children entry into a new world—and it’s a world that rapidly grows with familiarity and improving language skills.”- Jack Marmorstein, Chief Learning Officer & Jessie Miller, VP Talent Success
The same science that makes kids quick learners, also makes them curious and flexible, and this helps them to adapt remarkably well to new environments and cultures. Their sponge-like ability to soak in new stimuli allows their brains to adjust to social norms and expectations more seamlessly (neuroscientists call this neuroplasticity). So, while they may show resistance at first, children are generally the quickest to be comfortable with diversity and change.
Exposure to big (positive) changes early in life, also helps children become capable problem solvers and resilient humans! And here’s the incredible thing:
“When a young brain is stretched to accommodate a new language, new culture, and new environment, it never changes back.”Jack Marmorstein, Chief Learning Officer & Jessie Miller, VP Talent Success
This leads us to our last point…
Children who grew up relocating, or in immigrant households, maintain a healthy curiosity for the bigger world and are more likely to actively seek out opportunities to explore and connect as adults. They are confident in their ability to overcome language and cultural barriers and are more eager to embrace and work with those with backgrounds different from their own.
The world of work is becoming increasingly more interconnected by the day – no one knows this better than mobility professionals – and expat children are equipped with the resilience, cultural competence, confidence, and adaptability to develop into the enviable talent of the future!
We’d like to thank Global LT, a vital partner and member of the Weichert Workforce Mobility Supply Chain for their contribution to this blog. Global LT is acknowledged as one of the leading worldwide providers of language training, translation, cultural interpretation, and expatriate destination services. They are also experts in helping children thrive in the new location (and it’s making me regret that my children had a boring old upbringing in their hometown).