April 13th • 4 min read
#Easy Skill #Career #People #International mobility

The Art Of Expatriation As A Family: 7 Steps To Make It Work

When it comes to building a life you love, there are endless configurations. Find your dream job. Have a family. Earn more money. Spend more time with your kids while they’re young. Work harder to climb the ladder. There’s too much advice. And a lot of it is contradictory. So figuring out what you want comes down to your dreams.
← Select another article


The good news is that we can have it all without compromising our dreams. It just takes some planning. So when it comes to career goals, can you guess what’s at the top of the pile? International experience and work life balance. Taking your career to the skies is a common aspiration, but is it only for the young and unattached? Can you still do it when you have a family? You bet you can.


Family matters to everyone. In fact, one third of all international assignment fail due to family issues. Since no one likes to fail, striking the right balance between your personal and professional life will make you (and your family) happier. Life as an expat can get overwhelming, but we’ve got some tips to help you do it all.


Meet our consultant Olivier who has been leading that coveted expat lifestyle for 5 years with his family all around the world. Originally hailing from France, Olivier enjoys tasting different international lifestyles. Every location is a new adventure. Raising his children on foreign soil, embracing multicultural surprises, and advancing his career are his top three goals. But it requires considerable effort to find the right balance for everyone in the family. Let’s see how Olivier is riding through the waves to make it work.


A vision made for two.

 Expatriation can mean different things to different people. “We’ve always shared the same vision and openly discussed obstacles,” states Olivier. Let’s start with a solid foundation. What kind of job would make you jump out of bed in the morning? What languages can you speak? How do you view raising a family and schooling abroad? You’re partner might want to work as well and what are the options? Once you’ve ironed out some of the most important things, you will be able to create a solid vision.  


Dream big. 

If you’re going to hit the skies, you know what they say. The sky is the limit. Where do you want to land? Depending on what you pick, it might take time, money, and a lot of paperwork, but it’s always worth it. Sometimes the harder the project, the more rewarding the outcome. Be bold. Olivier had his first expat role in the USA five years ago. “It was such a dream come true for my partner and I to live the American dream we always saw on TV. We spent three awesome years there and our son was born on US soil,” he shares.


Understand the opportunity cost.

Ok so having an international job is your goal, but what about your partner? It’s a real conversation that needs to be had since 49% of expats are married or partnered men. And only 20% of spouses are working during their time abroad. Each country has different systems to help or hinder your partner’s chances of getting a job too. “We moved to New Caledonia when our second child was only 4 months old, so we decided that it made sense for everyone if she didn’t return to work right away. She was excited to spend more time with the baby,” shares Olivier.


Chose a destination together.

There are so many countries to choose from, but sometimes fate steps in. “We had just finished discussing the merits of New Caledonia as a potential destination and moments later Easy Skill called with a job offer. That was too big of a coincidence!” exclaims Olivier. The first assignment was only a four month contract. “I was so excited that I resigned from my job before signing my new contract. When the universe lines things up, you have to go all in,” confides Olivier. After working for two years in New Caledonia, he was delighted to land a long-term contract at a major mining plant, which means a major career change filled with new opportunities.


Making it work for everyone in the family. 

“When we first arrived, we lived in Noumea. It was a big city for us. Now that we’ve moved to a remote area next to my mining site, my lifestyle is more family friendly,” revealed Olivier. Living in a safe neighbourhood with quality schools nearby and with great access to nature was a win for Olivier and his family. Every family has different needs so it’s important to identify what your family needs so you will know when you find it.


Get the ball rolling. 

Want to move abroad? Start by telling your network about your ambitions! Display your goals on your LinkedIn profile, post your resume on international job boards, and apply to companies directly in the country you’re after. “Easy Skill contacted me because I uploaded my resume on a job board and included that I was seeking an international relocation,” explains Olivier. Making the first move will take you one step closer to a life changing opportunity.


Grow a mutual satisfaction.

Moving countries is hard. Expatriation can tear people apart. Or it can also bring you closer together. It’s a challenging and rewarding experience that constantly evolves along the way. When decisions are made together from the start, they have the best chance of success. Open communication, honesty, and reflection are key. Know what you’re biting off so you can match your expectations to the adventure. “The memories we gained from our experiences abroad make our family more united than it could have been,” shares Olivier.

The biggest source of frustration lies in misconceptions. When people don’t know what they’re in for, it’s easy to gloss over the hard parts and just focus on the reward. But like anything worth doing, there’s work involved and it can be hard at times. On your journey, many things can go wrong and so it’s important to have contingency plans. Figure out how you’ll know when you’re succeeding and when you’re not so you can go back to your plans and make some adjustments.  


One thing is certain. Once you have tasted expatriation, it’s addictive. Most expats can’t stop. Take the time to enjoy the experiences along the journey while you’re in it. It’s the experience of a lifetime and one of a kind.

Manon Capitaine

Email + Marketing Operations Specialist

Technical native with ninja-like project management skills. She drives technology like she built it and specialises in smoothing out the digital experience. Disorganisation is her nemesis. A beer aficionado, she can be found brewing (and sampling) craft beers.

Growth starts with individuals. Unlock the power in your people first.
Talk to an Expert