Relocating with a family: A little research goes a long way

Relocating with a family: A little research goes a long way

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Relocating to a new country is a big challenge - and even more so when you’ve got a family to take into account. Unlock the secrets to a successful move with these tips from IRC Relocation

It is no secret that moving is stressful. If you add another country and a family into the equation, then the prospect can seem both exciting and daunting at the same time. Not only will you be starting a new job - which is in itself a big change - but there will also be lots of other adjustments for you on a personal level. 

A new country may mean a new language, new culture and a completely new place to navigate your way around. For all of these reasons, it’s very important to do some research and have some idea of what to expect before you arrive. This will help you feel a little more secure and confident in your big adventure ahead. Here are some tips on what to consider, and where to get answers. 

1. Use your network

Your first port of call, if you have the chance, is to connect with colleagues or perhaps even friends and acquaintances in your destination country. Talk through their experiences and ask lots of questions to get an insight into your new home city. 

There are also many blogs, expat pages on social media, or perhaps even podcasts, that you can make use of. Social media groups can be a great place to get answers to your specific questions and advice on topics that will be important to you in your new home. 

Lastly, a relocation consultant can be a fantastic resource to help guide you through the transition, especially if you have concerns about your partner or your children. 

2. Find a language course

Germany is a very international country, and most Germans speak a reasonable standard of English, but it is still very important for your integration to learn some German. This will help you meet new people and feel part of the local community - which in turn is crucial to feeling at home long-term. Your partner and children should also do a German course, if possible. 

Let people know you don’t speak that language but you are willing to learn. This always helps to break the ice, and you’ll find for the most part that Germans are very accommodating and willing to help you learn. 

3. Dive into the culture 

There is no doubt you will experience all kinds of different cultures and cultural differences. Germany is a very multicultural place, and Germans are generally open and interested in people from other places. Not only will you get the opportunity to learn about German culture, but also other cultures from all around the world, as you become part of the wider international community. 

There is a good chance that you will also have plenty of opportunities to connect with people from your home country, if you like. This often helps to alleviate homesickness. 

4. Prepare for the weather 

You might not think the weather is an important factor, but it is. If you are coming from a much warmer or sunnier climate then you should prepare yourself for the weather in Germany. 

Spring is the awakening after what can be a very long, cold and dark winter. Summer is usually good and can be very hot at times, with temperatures of up to 40 degrees. Autumn is usually mild with a good mix of rain and shine; golden and very beautiful. Winter comes back around from mid to late October and lasts through to March or even April, with temperatures plummeting as low as minus 10 degrees at times.

For this reason, you’ll need a good, varied wardrobe for your entire family, especially the children, as in kindergarten and school the kids will spend time playing outside no matter what the weather is like. 

5. Learn about schools

Finally, it’s vital to do some research on how your children will be integrated into your new home city. If you have kindergarten or school-age children, it is important to have an idea of what is on offer, particularly if your children have any special needs. 

International schools may offer a familiar environment but if you are thinking of entering the German school system then it is advisable to understand the basics of how the system is set up and what will be required, especially if your children do not yet speak German. 

A move with children is a big upheaval for everybody, but the great news is that children who attend school and kindergarten tend to integrate the fastest out of the whole family due to their open nature and ability to pick up new languages quickly. 

Prepare for your big adventure

The success of a relocation with a family is ensuring every family member is well taken care of and happy. Moving to a new place is a fantastic experience which will teach lifelong lessons and make precious memories.

Need a hand with your move? IRC can help! Managed from the head office in Berlin, their widespread team of local consultants bring their local expertise and useful contacts to make your relocation a success. Get in touch now to see how they can help you. 

Juli Buchanan


Juli Buchanan

Juli Buchanan was born in Germany and spent the most of her childhood growing up in New Zealand. She has a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Auckland. She...

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