Moving Overseas

Two teen girls playing together

It's one thing to move within the United States, somewhere from sea to shining sea in our country. But military kids' family moves also take them across oceans, to foreign countries with different languages and customs. That's a special perk of having a military parent.

Here are some tips for military kids who are moving overseas:

  • Research your new location. Go online or head to the library to learn about the language, popular music, local sports teams and more in your next home.
  • Look for books and movies that feature your overseas location. You're about to star in your own overseas adventure, so you might enjoy finding characters that do the same. Search online for titles or ask a parent or someone at your school to help.
  • Make a travel wish list. Moving overseas will allow you and your family to expand your travel horizons in a big way. Print out a map and grab a marker or some pushpins. Mark your new location, then check out the nearby area and landmarks. Make a wish list and share it with your family.
  • Find out what you can and can't take. Weight restrictions may limit what you can take with you on this move. Make a list of items that are most important to you. Talk to your parents about what you can take. Remember, you're not necessarily getting rid of what doesn't make the move — just leaving it in storage until you return. And think of the cool mementos you're likely to bring back from your overseas adventure.
  • Start learning the language. Ask your parents about learning the language in your new location. Try using language recordings, phrase books or even taking a formal class to get familiar with how the local people speak.
  • Find out about your new school. Get a head start on education. Ask your parents the gazillion questions you probably have — starting with where your school is located, how the grade levels are divided, whether you'll be wearing a uniform, what you'll be learning and more.
  • Figure out how to stay in touch with old friends. Make a plan to stay in touch with old friends. Remember that you may be several time zones apart, so figure out when both you and your friends will be awake. That way, one of you won't have to be up in the middle of the night. And don't forget, snail mail is always an option, so make sure your friends have your new address.
  • Get ready to make new friends. Signing up for activities is a great way to meet people. Start by checking out all the fun things to do at your installation youth center, and joining clubs and teams at your new school. You can also try to volunteer in your new community. You'll have new besties in no time.
  • Find out who can visit you overseas. Talk to your parents about the possibility of inviting relatives and friends to visit you. As you get settled and get to know your new area, think about what you'd like to share with company.
  • Track your journey. Decide how to record and share the new and interesting sights you see along the way. Maybe you'll snap selfies at each stop with a smartphone, for example. If it's OK with your parents, you can share them with friends and family members. You can also keep a travel journal, collect postcards or save your memories in another creative way.

The more you learn and prepare, the more amped you'll be about your overseas move. Check out Military OneSource for more great tips for military kids on the go.


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