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When it comes to work and life balance, there is nothing that will push you outside of your comfort zone like working and living with your family overseas.

If you’re considering living and working overseas, you need to know that this is a massive lifestyle change. I asked a couple of my friends who have successful careers and family lives and have been living overseas for awhile for some advice. “Christian, Ideally I’d like to know what the impact is to your family as a unit as you live and work overseas. What is the good and the bad… Thanks!

Rytting family

Rytting family – Christian, Emily and their three children live in Ras Tanura, Saudi Arabia.

Christian Rytting, a marketing pro, had this to say about his family’s experience overseas:

“Trying to summarize what living internationally is like for our family verses living stateside feels a little like trying to compare apples to oranges. Each lifestyle poses unique opportunities and challenges and I am sure they differ for each family. For us, the best way we have come to describe the difference in our experience is this – living internationally as a family you trade what might be considered a convenient lifestyle and fairly uniform culture in the states for exposure to a richly diverse culture and fairly inconvenient lifestyle. Let me highlight a few lessons we have been learning.
Experiencing convenience
If you decide to live internationally, be ready for the stress of inconvenience. There are plenty of times when we just can’t seem to find that one piece of furniture for the house, the final ingredient to your kids’ favorite recipe or the perfect birthday gift. Say goodbye to those last minute runs to Target, Costco, or Walmart.
But this kind of convenience is not always bad. We have actually come to love not being continually bombarded by advertisements, entertainment or being tempted by every store and restaurant we pass on the road. As a family we have found ourselves focusing our time, energy and money less on buying things and more on spending time together.
Experiencing culture
If you decide to live internationally, make sure you really live internationally. There is a lot we miss about America like holidays, entertainment, and especially family. You will have to work much harder to remember the holidays, establish your own traditions and keep in touch with the people you love.
But leaving your culture can be an incredible experience. For example, we can’t believe how incredible the international school is. We love that our children have friends from Pakistan, Australia and India. At the same time, we feel a greater sense of unique pride in representing our culture, the US, among those of the world. You won’t be happy if you simply try to replicate the lifestyle you had in the states. Living internationally means that you, as a family, really live internationally by immersing yourselves in understanding and appreciating the culture where you live.
Overall, we are loving our experience living internationally. We don’t think this is something we will do forever, but this time we are having is something we will always cherish. Our goal was to grow closer as family while gaining a broader perspective of the world and living internationally is doing just that. I guess that is really the best place to start. Decide what you want to accomplish as a family and the experience of living internationally could be part of the answer.”

I’m really excited for my friend and how this overseas experience will grow their whole family as well as each person individually.

I also asked the lovely and talented Kelly King Anderson about the impact of living overseas. Check out her beautiful response…

If you are considering moving overseas with your family, how would you strive to balance work and life?