6 Reasons Your Kid Will Be Thankful They Grew Up an “Expat Child”

Posted on Jul 15, 2015 | 5 comments

6 Reasons Your Kid Will Be Thankful They Grew Up an “Expat Child”

Are you hesitant to move your career to a different country because you have kids? It’s not as big of a problem as you think. Actually, it turns out that it could be a positive–and a big one at that.


In 2013, St. John’s International School conducted a poll among 131 people who grew up as expat children. They were asked to name the main benefits they received through the experience. Here’s what they had to say:


1. Experience different cultures (61.1%)

It’s one thing to visit a foreign country on vacation for two weeks. It’s a whole different story to create a life there. Expat kids get to experience a culture for what it is, not a commoditized, tourist-geared version of it. This perspective will help your child learn to empathize with new cultures and embrace the differences.


2. International awareness (49.6%)

It’s difficult to fully understand something you’ve never experienced, which is why people who spent their childhood in one location have a harder time accepting different cultures. The worldly knowledge that a child gains from growing up an expat kid will help them later in life as they pursue jobs, academic ventures, and other experiences.


3. Appreciate diversity (39.7%)

Expat kids are surrounded by foreignness, yet it’ll become normal to them. This normalization of otherness will put your children in a position to want to celebrate diversity, not suppress it or condemn it.


4. Travel (38.9%)

Wherever your career takes you will open up so many different options for travel that you didn’t have before. Moving to Germany? Get ready for family vacations to Paris. Looking back, your kids will be astounded at the places they got to see.


5. International education (34.4%)

An international education is an incredible achievement for an expat child. Experiencing a different education style will help them learn more about the new country they moved to, and perhaps offer them an academic challenge that will set them apart when it’s time to start applying to colleges and jobs.


6. Learning languages (32.1%)

I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again: there is no better way to learn a language than to move to a country that speaks it, especially when you’re young. I learned more Spanish studying abroad in Spain for four months than throughout all four years of high school Spanish classes. You’ll be amazed what your brain can do when it’s put to the ultimate test!


Did you grow up an “expat child” or have an “expat kid” of your own? Leave your two cents in a comment below!



Passport Career provides detailed career and cultural information and extensive resources for finding a job, internship, or alternative career opportunity in over 80 countries. If your organization, company, embassy, university/college, library or other institution would like access to our country portfolios (15,000+ pages of expert content for 80+ countries and 250+ cities) to share with your employees, their spouses/partners, students and others managing a national or international career transition, please contact us regarding a free, live, online demo and details on how to obtain a license to access Passport Career.


Kayla Neal, Marketing and Social Media Manager


  1. Paint a verse or a Grateful Tree right on a wall and encourage kids and visitors to write their thanks right on the wall, or in painted leaves, a visual testimony of your thankfulness to all who come or go. Be intentional about taking Joy! Leave out a basket of thank-you notes, an invitation to always give thanks to someone.

  2. We conducted a similar survey of parents at our school (NIST International School in Bangkok) to determine what they valued most in their children’s education. The answers were incredibly consistent and fall in line with those you listed.

    Topping the list by far was the diversity and openness, closely related to the community culture. They also cited international awareness and compassion/empathy to be significant factors.

    My guess is that these results would be consistent across most international schools. Educational research has shown that the traits most desired by employers and universities include resilience, adaptability and multicultural awareness, so students who attend these schools are definitely a step ahead of their peers.

    • I agree, and it doesn’t come as a surprise that your school experienced the same results! Hopefully employers and universities will continue to further recognize the benefits of hiring and accepting those with international educations. Thanks for sharing your experience! – Kayla Neal

  3. Very nice post. I just stumbled upon your blog and wanted
    to say that I have truly enjoyed browsing your blog posts.
    In any case I will be subscribing to your rss feed and I hope
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    • Thanks so much! I’m glad to hear you find our blog useful! – Kayla

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