Seven golden rules for moving abroad with children

Starting a new life abroad is daunting at any age. And for children, who might not have a say in the big move, there is lots of excitement and anxiety about the new place they will soon call home.

Seven golden rules for moving abroad with children
Photo: maximkabbDepositphotos

Here’s what you need to know in advance of your move plus some tips to get the kids fired up to pack their bags.

Do your homework

Making a move overseas with your family in tow is a huge commitment. Be sure to know just what you are letting yourself in for by doing your homework. HSBC’s Expat Explorer Survey is a good place to start as it ranks countries based on economics, experience and family. The leading European countries ranked are Germany, Sweden and Switzerland.

Find out how AXA’s health plans can help protect your family overseas

Discover the benefits for expat families

Another useful survey is the Family Life Index, which ranks 45 countries according to childcare and education options. Sweden, Denmark and Norway all feature in the top five for family life. For example, in Sweden, there are 480 days of paid parental leave as well as compensation by the social services system if you need to take a day off work to look after your child if they are ill.  The Family Life Index also ranked the three Scandinavian countries, as well as France, Spain and Germany, for having affordable childcare and education.

Look after your health

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With so much to sort out when you move, figuring out how the healthcare system works in your newly-adopted home might not be at the top of your list. But if you’ve got children, it’s worth doing your research. The Nordic countries, as well as France, are famed for their state-subsidised health systems where children get treated for free. Communication is vital when your child is ill, but finding a doctor who speaks English may not always be possible. As with most of AXA’s global health plans, you can use the virtual doctor service to speak to a medic in your own language around the clock over the phone or via video call.

Make them feel involved

Whatever your reason for moving abroad, whether it’s for a new job or simply for a change of scenery, making your children feel involved in the process is vital. Show them pictures of their new surroundings and emphasise the positives. Take a virtual tour on Google Maps and point out some of the landmarks and fun places to discover.

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Photo: Sai De Silva/Unsplash

Learn funny new words

Let’s face it, grasping a new language as an adult is not easy. Fortunately, children are fast learners and numerous scientific studies have shown that children who learn two languages have a higher IQ. Apps such as Babbel and Memrise make language learning enjoyable for the whole family. And of course, there are lots of amusing words to have a chuckle at (like the Swedish word for speed bumps).

Plan new ‘firsts’

Wherever you and your family pitch up, there are going to be lots of new places to check out. Planning activities and new ‘firsts’ like a trip to a football match or concert will help the transition process. And of course there will be lots of restaurants to sample the local cuisine so garner their interest by suggesting a quirky local dish. Anyone for German classic Toast Hawaii?

Retain stability

Children thrive on routines and maintaining them will make it easier for them to adapt to their new country. So carry on with the Friday evening trip to the sweet shop and pick up a few new strange looking local treats, make time for Saturday morning family breakfasts along with movie Sundays. Whilst your surroundings may have been altered, children will respond well to the change if familiar family life is retained.  

With AXA’s global health cover, you and your family are protected at every stage of expat life. Find out more about how AXA’s international health insurance can help you live the expat life you’d always hoped for.

Presented by AXA.

AXA Global Healthcare (EU) Limited. Registered in Ireland number 630468. Registered Office: Wolfe Tone House, Wolfe Tone Street, Dublin 1. AXA Global Healthcare (EU) Limited is regulated by the Central Bank of Ireland.

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How do I get a European Health Insurance Card in Austria?

An European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) provides EU residents with access to public healthcare across the bloc. Here’s what you need to know about getting an EHIC in Austria.

How do I get a European Health Insurance Card in Austria?

A big advantage of living in Europe is the ability to travel to so many different countries.

But sometimes accidents or illness can happen while on holiday or a work trip, which can mean an unplanned visit to a doctor.

READ ALSO: Austria recommends 4th Covid vaccine dose for everyone over 12

Thankfully, the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) provides some protection against expensive medical bills in the form of reciprocal healthcare. 

Here’s what you need to know about the EHIC and how to get the card in Austria.

What is an EHIC?

An EHIC is a form of medical insurance cover and replaces the international health insurance voucher (form E111). It is issued free of charge and allows holders to access state-provided medical care while temporarily in another EU country. 

It works on a reciprocal basis through a country’s social security system and care is provided at the same cost as those insured in the country (which means it can be free, in some cases).

This means that if you have an e-card and are insured with one of the public health insurances in Austria, such as ÖGK, for example, you are entitled to the EHIC and to access public health services (to a certain extent) in other countries.

FOR MEMBERS: What is Austria’s e-card and what do you need to know about it?

The EHIC is valid in all 27 EU countries, as well as Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, Switzerland, Macedonia, Serbia, Montenegro, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and the UK.

However, the EHIC is not an alternative to comprehensive travel insurance as it doesn’t cover any private healthcare costs, a flight home or lost/stolen property.

Why do I need an EHIC in Austria?

The main advantage of having an EHIC is if you need medical treatment while briefly travelling in another country.

While the coverage is limited to state-provided healthcare, it does mean you will be treated by a doctor and not liable to pay non-resident medical fees.

READ NEXT: How Austria is making it easier for non-EU workers to get residence permits

Austria’s e-card – the national insurance card – is needed for almost all medical procedures. On the back, it contains the EHIC Ecard image: Wikicommons

How do I get an EHIC?

EHICs are issued by the national health country provider of the country where you live. This could be, for example, the ÖGK or SVA, depending on which provider you use in Austria.

In Austria, every e-card (the health insurance card that is used to visit a doctor) already contains an EHIC on the reverse of the card, so there is no need to apply for it separately. 

However, if the data fields on the EHIC on the back of your e-card contains stars (***) instead of personal information such as name and date of birth, further documentation is required to access healthcare in another EU country.

In this case, you need to contact your social security provider in Austria to receive a replacement card before you travel.

The EHIC is only valid on the condition that you are insured or co-insured in Austria.

Useful words 

Social insurance – Sozialversicherung

Travel insurance – Reiseversicherung

Healthcare – Gesundheitspflege

Useful links

European Commission

Austrian social insurance