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Expat children become more open to new cultures

Released at: 20:05, 17/05/2017

Expat children become more open to new cultures

Photo: KinderWorld Vietnam

Seventy per cent of expat parents in Vietnam believe their children become open to new cultures after moving abroad, HSBC Expat Explorer survey finds.

by Quynh Nguyen

The latest HSBC Expat Explorer survey reveals that 48 per cent of expat children take longer than six months to feel at home and most expat parents living in Vietnam (77 per cent) find that moving abroad helps their children become open to new cultures.

Twenty-five per cent say their children take more than a year to feel at home, while the parents find the adjustment even more difficult, with 67 per cent taking longer than six months to feel at home and 49 per cent taking more than a year.

Raising a family abroad also presents financial problems for parents. Fifty-two per cent of expat parents in Vietnam find the overall cost of raising children abroad more expensive than at home, with 39 per cent saying the cost of childcare in particular is more expensive.

In the long term, however, this may be money well spent as the majority of parents say life as an expat has had a positive effect on their family life and children’s lifestyles.

Half of expat parents in Vietnam say their children’s overall quality of life is better as a result of the move, while nearly one-third (30 per cent) rate it the same, compared to the global average of 60 per cent and 27 per cent, respectively.

Indeed, the challenges families face in moving to a new country can help bring them closer together.

Forty-six per cent of expat parents say that moving abroad has brought them closer to their children, with only 14 per cent saying it has not, while 48 per cent say that life abroad has brought them closer to their partner, with just 16 per cent saying it has not.

The experience of growing up abroad also helps with the wellbeing and development of children. Just under half (49 per cent) of expat parents globally say their children’s health and wellbeing has benefited from moving abroad, while 69 per cent find that their children are open to new cultures and experiences and 45 per cent say that their child is a more well-rounded and confident individual.

In Vietnam, more than three-quarters (77 per cent) find that moving abroad helps their children become open to new cultures and experiences and 69 per cent see it is a good opportunity for the children to become fluent in more than one language.

Despite such benefits, only one-fifth agree that the health and wellbeing of their children is better while just under half (49 per cent) say it the same.

Mr. Sabbir Ahmed, Head of Retail Banking and Wealth Management at HSBC Vietnam, said that moving abroad can be a momentous challenge for the whole family to overcome, whether in making friends or adjusting to the new culture. “Whether it is improving in a foreign language or becoming more confident, it’s likely that children will enjoy a variety of benefits from an expat life in Vietnam, such as their improved quality of life and openness to new cultures,” he said. 

The Expat Explorer survey is commissioned by HSBC Expat and conducted by YouGov. It is the largest and one of the longest running global surveys of expats, with respondents sharing their views on different aspects of life abroad, including careers, economics, experience and family. 

The 2016 Expat Explorer survey was completed by 26,871 expats from over 100 countries through an online questionnaire in March, April, and May 2016.

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