How to safely settle your family internationally during Covid-19

The latest in our successful Relocate Global webinar series looked at innovative solutions to new challenges internationally relocating families face due to the global coronavirus pandemic. Relocate Global was joined by Françoise Zurbach of EIFA international school, Johanna Mitchell, of Lumos Education and Brenda Levis of NYC Navigator for a wealth of practical insights.

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With globally mobile parents planning their next assignment or return to work, schools around the world are also preparing to re-open their doors to students after national lockdowns.Now is a great time for employers, HR, global mobility and relocation professionals, relocating or repatriating parents to take stock of the 2019-20 academic year and look ahead to what we can expect in 2020-21.“July and August will not be quiet in the UK as employees return to work and new families move to London and the regions,” says Gael Panhelleux, Executive Director of FOCUS, an expatriate membership organisation run by expats for expats families. “It’s about getting things sorted quickly and efficiently and reassuring those moving.  It’s a good time relocating. You can have the pick of properties and schools, which are normally hard to find.”
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What are the challenges for relocating families during the coronavirus pandemic? 

Relocate Global’s International Education and Family Focus webinar, broadcasting on 21 July, brings together Françoise Zurbach of EIFA International School, London and Johanna Mitchell, Director of education consultants Lumos Education, with Relocate Award winners Robert Stitch, Principal of The Garden International School Malaysia, and Brenda Levis, President of destination service provider NYC Navigator.Gael Panhelleux will also join the conversation, along with her guests Mary Burke Tobias, Director of Admissions at Marymount London, and Sophie Taylor, Relocation Manager at relocation management company, Sterling Lexicon. Together, they discuss the many live challenges the global pandemic prompts for relocating families and international assignments.Our webinar is a chance to find out how the best international schools and service providers are supporting students, families and employers at what remains a critical moment for their move’s ultimate success.

How can schools continue to support families under lockdown?

As this fascinating and timely conversation shows, the coronavirus pandemic again highlights the resilience, agility and practical wisdom of the global mobility community as it seeks to ensure everyone thrives during international transfers or relocation.For schools, education consultancies and destination service providers, a key challenge is how to manage all-important school, cultural support, orientation and accommodation tours during the global coronavirus public health crisis. Schools are a linchpin of assignment success and this remains true at the current time. School choice frequently determines housing decisions, as well a nurturing environment for younger family members and a community for parents.EIFA International School, a bilingual school offering an independent education from nursery to year 11 in Marylebone, London, is among those providing a safe space for children and young people to adapt to the changes around them.During school closure because of the lockdown, EIFA organised a virtual art exhibition so students and parents could feel connected to their school and express their feelings about the situation. EIFA is also re-opening earlier – 27 August – so children can be eased back into the new and Covid-safe routine.“We will explain how new measures around the school work, and sit, talk about and reflect on what has happened since the school has been closed and how we got through this difficult period,” says Françoise Zurbach. “We will be very relaxed about it and as adults give comfort and trust to the children that it’s going to be ok: even if this happens again, you’ll still be learning and still see your friends virtually.”

School, employment and cultural transitions during the coronavirus lockdown

From an admissions perspective, EIFA and other international and independent schools around the world are busy continuing to field new enquiries and offer virtual tours, as well as carrying out registration administration and inductions and settling in support online.With French being the national or joint official language of four of the top ten of Nasdaq’s fastest-growing economies in the world (Cote D’Ivoire, Djibouti, Cambodia and Senegal) and with established mobility trends and education choices in flux, for example with Brexit and the trade agreement between Canada and the EU, the webinar acknowledges it is time to look again at what a truly bilingual education can offer today’s relocating families.During the Education and Family Focus webinar on 21 July, you will be able to hear from Johanna Mitchell, of Lumos Education. Lumos offers tailored support for the whole family, including global school placement, academic assessments, expert tuition, cultural awareness programmes and career support.Johanna will explain how all the family can still access its services and feel supported during their transition. The webinar is an opportunity to ask Johanna directly how families can make the best use of the summer, and prepare for the new academic year and international assignments.Robert Stitch, Principal of the Garden International School in Kuala Lumpur, which won the Relocate Award for School Providing Outstanding Relocation Support for its onboarding and induction programme and community ethos, will also discuss how GIS has launched a range of valuable support and activities for relocation parents and students in response to Malaysia’s lockdown. Many of the GIS resources are available to share.Fellow Relocate Award winner Brenda Levis, President of destination service provider NYC Navigator will also be on hand to talk through the challenges at the present time of international and domestic relocations into the USA.

Register now to join us live on 21 July and get the inside track on what the best international schools and service providers are doing to ensure top-of-the-class transitions over the coming months for all the family.

Share the registration link with colleagues managing international employees and expatriates and international parents. Have your questions answered on the live chat.

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