Is It Time to Take Your Kids to Live Abroad?

Posted Friday, March 15, 2013 in Other by Patricia Seybold

Recently, I met a neighbor in our rural Maine town who happily informed me that she was moving to Rome. She said, “I’m single again. My kids are off to college. It seemed like a great time for me to look for a job abroad.” While congratulating her on her adventurous life choice, I thought to myself, “What a shame, she didn’t do that sooner with her kids!”

When I was 10, my family moved from Pennsylvania to Paris, where I attended a French Lycée for 18 months while my father worked at the Quaker Center and my mom brushed up on her French and enjoyed the intellectual stimulation of being in the midst of a cosmopolitan cultural mecca.

While I admit my schoolgirl French is pretty rusty now, there were many other benefits I gained from spending my pre-teen years immersed in another culture. A child at any age is a sponge. Immersing your children in one or more foreign cultures is a gift that will pay off more than private schools, and more than all the dancing and horseback riding lessons money can buy, and more than all the football games and school dances they’ll miss.

When I returned to resume my life in a suburban town in the States, I was able to fit right back in, but I was a different person—one with different experiences, different values, and different perspectives. It was the best gift and the best educational experience I ever had.

Think about it, before it ’s too late for your kids!


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