When Bhawna Nagar was just two-months pregnant with their second child, she and her husband, Arjun, followed his career with Reuters and moved to London. It was 2007, their son was 2. It was a great opportunity.
Also, it was hard.
“The first eight months or
so were difficult,” Nagar told me. But a few months after the baby was
born, she found work, made friends and settled into a groove. “London turned
out to be a great base for us to explore Europe,” she said.
For most families with
little kids, packing up and moving abroad seems like a dream. For families like Nagar's, the adventure of
living abroad with little ones in tow is an item that can now be checked off their
In 2009, Fareen Kazi and her husband also moved their five-person family abroad, from Indianapolis to London. Although her husband no longer works at the company that
spurred the move, they’ve decided to stay in London, at least for now.
“Our kids are settled in
school, and we like the lifestyle here,” she said. Kids in England
seem to have a lot more independence starting at a younger age, Kazi says. Kids as young as 11 take the underground train on their own.
THere's also a multicultural environment in London that Kazi appreciates. “Our kids have friends
from all different cultures. It’s unusual for kids (like ours) to only speak
one language,” she said.
“We made a conscious decision that we would splurge for a year, and we have no regrets.”
In 2012, Natashka Pollock moved her family in the opposite direction, across the Pacific. A
pediatric ophthalmologist who lived in Vancouver, Canada, at the time, Pollock took a year-long fellowship in Melbourne, Australia. Her daughter was 4
and her son was 4 months old when they moved.
“There was a good
fellowship program I could have pursued in Toronto,” she said. “But I figured
if we were going through all the trouble of packing everything up, we should go
Matthew, decided to put his career on hold to be a stay-at-home dad during
their year abroad. “It definitely took the pressure off of finding daycare,”
said Natashka. “I don’t think we would have gone if we had to find childcare in
a new country.”
“She was exposed to different languages, different learning styles and a more diverse set of cultures."
For Matthew, the 12-month
timeframe made the adventure more appealing. His father’s ailing health made
him reluctant to stay away for long. “I think Matt was worried that we would
love Australia and not want to come back,” said Pollack.
Preparing for the move was
hard work, and the cost of living in Australia was higher compared to
Vancouver. In addition, the time difference made keeping in touch with their
families hard. But for Natashka, those were the only downsides to the
“Australia is gorgeous,
and the surgical training is really strong there,” she said. “We made a
conscious decision that we would splurge for a year, and we have no regrets.”
Scott Russell shares a
similar sentiment. In 2011, he left Seattle for London with his wife and
daughter, Cyan, when she was just a year old. Their jobs at Microsoft provided
“I thought we were crazy
at first, but the move was incredible for Cyan’s development,” he said. “She
was exposed to different languages, different learning styles and a more
diverse set of cultures."
“Overall, being in London
for two-and-a-half years was a life changing experience for all of us. I
especially think Cyan came away with a better development experience than if we
had stayed in Seattle the whole time.”