Friday, 27 January 2012

Teenagers: the sky is the limit?

Wow! It's amazing, these two 17-year-olds from Toronto, Canada managed to launch a lego man 24 kilometers into the stratosphere. The whole enterprise cost them less than $500. They used a weather balloon, some cameras, determination, creativity and a certain mind set. They were thinking "out of the box". Well it certainly gave them "different" view of the world. A nice inspiring story.

You know third culture kid teens or expat teens are a little like these boys. They are often creative, can be determined and think out of the box. So what is it actually like to relocate across the globe with teens and how many kids are there out there making international moves. It's really hard to find the amount of kids moving. I did find some figures about the number of kids attending international schools.

At the moment there are more than 6000 English speaking international schools in the world. In 236 countries of the world (click here if you want to know in which countries) you can find an international school. There are 2.979.680 students attending these schools. Source: Most of the students attending these schools will be third culture kids or cross culture kids.

Here in the Netherlands there are 12.500 students attending international schools. Source Factsheet JGZ

4 tips when relocating internationally with teenagers:
  1. The best time to move is at the beginning of the school year because that's when the groups are forming.
  2. Include your teenagers in the preparation of the move. Take them with you to see the new country. Allow them to be part of choosing the new home and school etc.
  3. Acknowledge their emotions. Maybe they are angry about the move or sad.
  4. Consider taking the family pet along. Our dog made an overland move when we moved from Malawi to Zimbabwe. My dad drove our car from the one country to the next and took our dog along too. He had company on the road and we had our pet in our new home.
Do you want to read more about moving with teenagers? Check out

This week I found an interesting blog: Expat Teens Talk. It's worth a visit. The blog gives insight into the life of an expat teen. Here is an example of a blog post: The positive aspects of being an expat teen. You know these teenagers are all over the globe even the sky is not the limit.

Do you have any tips when relocating with teenagers? I would love to hear them.

Related posts:
Image thanks to Taliesin Morguefile


  1. Having moved overseas with my two teens I can say that while there is much you can do to prepare, support and assist, in the end they are the ones who have to do the hard work of transitioning and fitting in. It helps to keep communication lines open, respect their conflicting emotions and allowing them space to grieve and deal with them, and support them as you all collectively build a new life together.

    Ruth Van Reken and the late David C. Pollock's insightful book Third Culture Kids remains 'the bible' on living abroad (for all ages) for good reason. Reading this book is helpful for the entire family, and has set the bar for related books that have followed.

  2. Thanks for the comment Linda. Yes it's so true that you need to be available to listen when the teens want to talk, in their own time. Being sensitive to their needs, which can be quite a challenge during a transition period.
    I agree with you that the book "Third culture kids, Growing up Among Worlds" by D.C.Pollock and R.van Reken is a great book to read. It was the first book I read on this topic.