Making new friends and saying goodbye to old ones becomes routine for foreign service children. Unfortunately, when the bonds of friendship are being formed, it can be time to say goodbye as a new assignment begins in another location.
The difficulties associated with the creation and maintenance of friendships are most acutely felt when joining and leaving school. Moving a child from school to school every couple of years can be emotional for the child and disruptive to their education. For this reason, children’s education, along with their healthcare, is one of the key considerations for diplomatic parents when deciding on an assignment. In addition to choosing the best type of school for their child from the available boarding schools, international schools and local schools, parents must also consider the continuing education of their child, ensuring that they remain on the same syllabus and course of study.
For foreign service children, the stresses of moving to a new school and developing new friendships, can be heightened if their favourite subjects are not available for study, or they join the school in the middle of term time and are forced to repeat lessons and topics which they have already covered. Parents can help their children to settle into life at their new school by keeping detailed educational records of syllabi and grades, ensuring they are placed within the correct classroom.
Foreign service children have a unique opportunity to learn several languages, a portable skill they will carry throughout their lives. However, owing to their transient lifestyle, they are consistently forced to start and stop languages. As they become proficient in one language and accustomed to being taught in that language, they may change countries and find themselves required to begin again on another language, which can lead to difficulties studying and confusion with grammatical rules.