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Moving Overseas With Young Children

“Kathleen, I want to move out of the United States, but I have a wife and two young children. I want them all happy and comfortable. I visit your site often, but it seems that the countries you list are geared more for retirees versus families.

“Where are the best countries to consider moving that are ‘family friendly‘?”

–Randy G., United States

A family and young children are no reason not to make the move you’re thinking about. When Lief and I left the States, our daughter Kaitlin was 8-years-old. Has she been “happy and comfortable” all these years since, living in Ireland, Paris, and now, at the age of 23, in Panama City?

Those might not have been the words she’d have used to describe the experience every step, every day along the way…but, ask her today, and I think she’d tell you enthusiastically that it’s been a remarkable experience growing up the way she has and that she’d recommend it highly. (She reads these dispatches and will tell me if I’m wrong. I’ll report back.)

Meantime, moving overseas with young children, your priority is schooling. You’ll find bi-lingual, international-standard schools in most major cities in Latin America as well as in some less developed areas, such as Roatan, Honduras. Where you choose to settle depends on the lifestyle your family is looking for. The schools on Roatan would not be the same quality and you wouldn’t have as many to choose from as in, say, Panama City or San Jose, Costa Rica…but maybe you’d choose Roatan anyway if you wanted the beach life.

Most of Europe certainly qualifies as “family friendly.” I speak from personal experience in Ireland and France. I’d heartily endorse both countries as great places to raise children.

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“Kathleen, you are from Baltimore? Me, too. I get your e-mail updates, which are better than most.

“I was born in the city and attended prep school in Towson and hold some great memories of BTown. The weather is great there, four seasons even including the hot, humid summers well documented. I spent most of my life near the water in Annapolis, another great town. Nice party town, as well, but those days are behind, as I have been living in China for the past seven years.

“I don’t apologize for Baltimore. It is really very under-rated. There is a great movie featuring the city and captures the feeling I am speaking of called ‘Home For the Holidays,’ by Jodie Foster. Do you know it? A classic look at Baltimore and the one I always remember.”

–Greg B., China

My children and I watch “Home For The Holidays” every Thanksgiving Day, wherever in the world we’re celebrating. It’s become part of our Thanksgivings overseas annual traditions.

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