From the desk of Mango Writer Jillian Rodriguez
Here at Mango, success is our favorite word. When we got wind of the not-so-pretty success rates for corporate overseas assignments (a little over half get it right), we pulled together a few ideas that help families on the move experience a successful relocation. Whether you’re packing your bags as a civilian or a service member, fill them to the brim with positivity and preparedness. Don’t forget to leave a little extra space in your suitcase; you’ll need to store all the souvenirs you’re bringing back for us, right?
Language and Culture
More than often, we turn to language and culture to save the day, and it has never let us down. Your supervisor is likely to make a similar recommendation and, ideally, you’ll be given language and culture training prior to and after your move. But for a move of this size, we suggest you double up on the training and seek out language and culture learning opportunities for the entire family. Research shows that companies routinely under-prepare families and employees for their reassignment, which makes overseas success even harder to achieve. We know you can do it; all it takes is a little extra effort. Build in additional supports for each member of your family, customized to their lifestyle. Is your partner constantly working, but takes solace in movies in bed? Check out Mango Premiere for the comforts of cinema, but with a language learning edge. Are your children going through their superhero phase (Better question: are you?) Research the kid-friendly heroes of your new home and incorporate them into your child’s play, bed time stories, and language lessons.
Prepping the Kids
First things first, bring out the globe and show them exactly where you will be moving. For children, you’ll need to pull out all the stops to help them understand exactly where the family is moving and what to expect. Children are very visual, so creating a simple, easy to understand countdown calendar in the home will help them track the time until the big move. Create weekly (or daily, if you’re brave!) language and cultural activities to help prep your children for their new environment. Relevant crafts, activities, books, and media will get them excited and interested in their upcoming adventure, while also preparing them for the new setting. Don’t forget about Little Pim, the language learning program for children under 5 years old. Even your smallest travelers can get in some formal prep time.
I don’t know about you, but I’ve managed to screw up packing for a weeklong trip to Florida. If your family is relocating to a new country, it’s time to do some serious research. First, consider the cultural norms. What do people wear on a day to day basis? What do people wear to work? Do children wear uniforms to school? Answering these kinds of questions will not only help you pack efficiently, it will also show the community that you respect their values upon arrival.
Speaking of clothing, what is the climate and geography like in the region? After you get a feel for the area’s general climate, add the city to your weather homepage so you can check out the day to day conditions and pack accordingly. Fingers crossed that you get to leave your winter coat at home.
Preparing your family for an overseas assignment will bring a flurry of activity; stuffed suitcases, marked up language dictionaries, truly unfortunate passport photos – but also a lot of excitement. It’s your move, take it into your own hands and make it a success.