I think back on the last two years, I congratulate myself on being a ‘successful expat‘ here in Italy. I’m here, I’m still here and I’m staying here. I don’t want to leave.
Then I stop to consider why the biggest threat to expat life, particularly in a smaller town, hasn’t yet struck me. I’m talking about loneliness. Sometimes expat life can get lonely, and the thing calling you home – your friends and family – that’s hard to replicate abroad. That sense of home, belonging and comfort.
So why aren’t I searching for that now. Two years later…
The answer is simple. It’s having your child/ren with you. Not only do you not have to miss your family, but – and here’s the real killer secret – kids get you a free ticket into a town, into a community.
There really is no better way to make friends than to bring your kid to a new town, and even better once they’re integrated into the schooling system. You’ll have access to a huge supportive friends network. The younger the kids the better too. There’s no better way to bond than to endeavour on an education journey for the first time – and at the same time – with the locals.
And this will come as no surprise, in Italy having kids is definitely the secret to making friends. Italians adore children, adore it even more if you’re raising your children as Italian too.
And, again what better way to teach your children Italian than to send them to school in Italy. Speaking of school, the new school year is just starting this week. The little ones – for us on the Riviera – next week.
And school – I’m talking about the equivalent of kindergarten or nursery school – is more reasonably priced than any kindergarten or daycare facility in Australia. And the one we are going to is semi-private too.
The monthly cost for La Scuola Materna for us is 180 euros – in Australia we were paying close to this for a single day!!
Why am I talking about schooling and costs… because I feel like the dream of the digital nomad/expat life is often considered over once you have had children.
But I’m telling you the secret to expat life IS children. Here it is even more enjoyable and economical than similar options we had in Australia.
So go on, be an expat. Bring your kids and be a long-term, don’t miss your home kind of expat!