Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Spending Time Abroad

I know I'm getting ahead of myself (my first born isn't turning two until the end of February!), but I've started dreaming about taking a year off to live abroad when our kids are around the 4th and 6th grade respectively. The idea appeals to me on so many levels: it would be fun to plan, it could bring us closer as a family, it would be an amazing learning and life-changing experience for our children, it could be an opportunity for our children to have one-on-one academic attention--the list goes on! 

Even though it feels early to be thinking about this kind of trip, it also feels like our kids will grow up in an instant and if we don't plan these kind of experiences with intention well in advance, the opportunity might pass us by. It will take a lot of planning to identify the right place to go, to save up the money we need, to take care of all the logistics back in Austin, to plan out the homeschooling piece, to position myself at work in a way that allows me to take time off, etc. 

Matt and I have started the conversation (he only wants to go for a semester; I want to go for a year; he wants to go to the south of France; I would rather go somewhere like Guatemala), but we also recognize that the children will be an integral part of the planning. I imagine we'll work together to create a matrix to compare all the options. I'd like to spend our mornings focused on academics and then spend our afternoons in various ways, including volunteering, exploring, and focusing on new independent hobbies.

So exciting!

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Leah Benedict said...

After my husband and I were married about a year (no children!), we moved overseas to teach at an international school in Turkey. The experience has been amazing. To give your children a larger world view would be a priceless gift.

I highly suggest reading about "TCKs", which are Third Culture Kids. It's a fascinating topic. This book, especially is great:

Laura said...

Check out Design Mom, she has six kids and they are all living in France for a couple of years! The kids are learning French and they travel around to other countries all the time.

Kelsey said...

We are hoping to take advantage of Chris getting a sabbatical every 7 years to go on adventures with our family. Definitely a lot to coordinate but what an amazing experience for the kids and as a family, I know it would be worth it. Personally I'd love to go to Sweden! So fun to dream about!

Elizabeth said...

We're planning for this now! My husband is applying to teach abroad. It'll be a two year contract, and it looks like most of the jobs are in Asia or the Middle East. Right now, I'd love to go to Malaysia! My baby will be one when we leave at the end of the summer, and we think now is the perfect time to go - she's not in school yet, so we won't need to take her away from her friends or teachers, and my mom hasn't made her planned move to live near us yet!

Sara said...

I second checking out Design Mom, and also suggest you check out The Happiest Mom (Meagan Francis) - she and her family are interested in doing this, too, and are beginning to plan their own travel!

Shawn said...

So exciting! You should check out Oaxaca. I spent a summer there doing a home stay program in high school and fell in love with the place. Although no place is really a cross between the south of France and Guatemala, when I think of the perks of each, Oaxaca is actually a pretty good compromise. Oaxaca City is a charming colonial style city and a manageable size. The food is interesting - known for their moles and chocolate. You have the charm and culture of the city, but with a quick drive you can be out in a rural setting - exploring ancient ruins and the traditional way of life of those in small villages. It is also an easy trip to beautiful beach destinations such as Puerto Escondido. I also vote for Buenos Aires in terms of a happy medium. It is such a beautiful city - I really found myself thinking that I could live there. It is very European feeling, but then all of the interesting, unique culture of Argentina and surrounding countries like Brazil would keep you very busy. Plus, much more affordable cost of living than Europe. Just some thoughts - thanks for letting me reminisce about two of the best trips I've been on!

Anthropolochic said...

Ooooo... Jordan at "oh happy day" did this last year with her husband and two kids. They went to Paris for a year. She put together two posts on how she organized the move re: visas, finding an apt etc.. Check it out http://ohhappyday.com/2012/08/moving-to-paris-part-1/ and http://ohhappyday.com/2012/08/moving-to-paris-part-2/. . She has dozens of other posts dedicated to what they did there.

If you are really thinking about Guatemala check with the state department first. There is some seriously bad stuff going on down there.

Jennie said...

If you do choose the south of France, my friend and her husband have a business that could be helpful in a variety of ways: http://www.monamiandy.com/

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