Families in global transition in a post-COVID-19 world
Families in global transition have to continuously adapt to change and undergo transitions. Relocating from one’s home country to a host country, or from one host country to another, can be stress- and anxiety-inducing. However, it can also be very rewarding when transitions are handled properly.
More and more employers, schools, and relocation management companies realize this and are playing their part in increasing understanding of why transition support is so important in global mobility. Similarly, they are helping to build better transition care practices in schools and companies across the globe.
Prioritizing transition care ensures all members of a globally mobile family get the most out of the move. Plus, it creates a smoother experience overall. In this Pacific Prime article, we take a closer look at how the pandemic has changed things for families in global transition.
Why transition support in education is essential
Whether moving locally or internationally, schools often play a key role in making a good transition as a family – and a successful international assignment in general. In international school settings, in particular, schools have traditionally welcomed globally mobile families and invited them into the community.
Transition care for children from cross-cultural families and third-culture kids (TCKs) is a growing area of research. According to John Hattie’s meta-study, children who are not settled cannot learn as effectively. That means in order to take care of learning, schools need to also focus on taking care of families, teachers, and staff in global transition.
Schools that are able to positively manage transitions can help everyone involved in the move. Admissions officers play a critical role, as they need to ensure that families feel welcome and understand their options. It then continues through the school from when the student arrives, whether in a virtual or in-person classroom setting.
Post-pandemic transition care practice
Positive transitions are made up of happy hellos and good goodbyes. However, consecutive global lockdowns have increased the occurrence of greetings and farewells. They’ve also made them more challenging in practice, at least for the time being.
At the start of the pandemic, some families were separated indefinitely while others had to make unexpected transitions due to border closures and quarantine rules. Many children continue to switch between virtual and classroom learning, as well as various locations – sometimes without much notice.
This stresses the importance of conversations surrounding what good transition support involves and how the pandemic has changed it, along with increased its urgency. What does a good goodbye even look like when families have to leave the country in a matter of hours? Questions such as these are vital to focus on as the pandemic continues.
Building a community throughout the pandemic
Technology is essential during this time in both work and school settings. To welcome new families, many schools recorded virtual school tours – despite never having done so before. Virtual tours were also effective for school re-openings, as they made it easy for families to understand social distancing, desk spacing, and other new regulations.
With stress and anxiety at an all-time high for families in global transition and throughout the pandemic, some communities and educational institutions scheduled online mental health discussions, mental wellbeing documentary screenings, virtual game nights, and more. Even in places where in-person schooling is back, things are still far from normal.
Taking care of the underlying anxiety, fear, and uncertainty is imperative to meeting students’ emotional needs. Social and emotional learning is becoming increasingly available, with more time and resources being allocated to that type of care on a global scale.
Searching for the right school as a globally mobile family
Schools that prioritize communication and emotional learning support help create a strong sense of trust. Parents and students beginning their search for the right international school could look into how schools have been supporting their communities throughout the pandemic. This will provide invaluable insight into its transition care and support.
Schools and educational professionals realize they’re building and being a community, regardless of time or place. As a result, community building with parents and staff is more intentional.
A silver lining of the COVID-19 pandemic is that everyone is going through it together. In mobility, it’s common to feel as though your family is the only one experiencing it. This is especially true when returning back home or during repatriation. The entire experience can feel isolating when, in reality, we’re all going through minor transitions on a daily basis.
Educational institutions have had to extend their transitions path. Admissions officers and programs are now reaching out to other countries to ensure that families feel welcome well before their departure and offering plenty of orientation services to cater to that.
Families planning a global move should look for schools with frameworks and practices such as these and ask questions like:
- How will you take care of my child/your student during the transition?
- What programs are in place for both the student and family?
The answers provided to questions like these will give you a better idea of the level of transition support on offer.
Take care of your family with Pacific Prime
Another important thing to consider when moving internationally with your family is global health insurance. Securing health insurance for all members of the family ensures your loved ones can receive the quality medical care they deserve, no matter where you are in the world.
As a leading global insurance broker with over 20 years of industry experience, Pacific Prime can help you find the best plan for your needs and budget – whether you’re looking for expat health insurance, family health insurance, or anything in between.