potential trailing wife

Old Nov 28th 2015, 5:37 pm
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Default potential trailing wife

Hello there,

My husband potentially has a job offer in the netherlands. It is a great career opportunity for him, and we are in the process of working out if it is beneficial for the whole family to relocate or for me and our son to remain in the UK and we see each as often as possible for the two years he would need to stay for the experience to have cache.

One of the deciding factors being my ability to find employment. I have a background in large scale healthcare design and construction projects in business development. So I would most likely want to seek employment with an English speaking large multi national, but assume competition is fierce. We would also need to factor our sons education.

Reading through some of the posts it seems that without a collection of relevant qualifications and good grasp of Dutch my 15 years experience would be pretty worthless?

Opinions, however blunt, welcome.

Thanks
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Old Nov 28th 2015, 7:32 pm
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Default Re: potential trailing wife

Get used to blunt in the Netherlands! and Welcome.


The age of your child is paramount: is he young enough to pick up the language before the end of primary school exams? This is a fantastic country to raise children in, the repressive Victoriana (children should be seen and not heard) is non-existent. They are free to run around, go off with friends on their bikes, do as many sports and other activities as they can cram into their week (they even get Wednesday afternoons free to do these things), and they are generally very happy. Generally, 8 or younger and he'll have few problems fitting into Dutch education. Older, and he might stay down a year to give him more time to pick up the language (something that doesn't happen in the UK but does in many other countries).

Nobody here can guarantee a successful career progression for you, as a trailing spouse. I believe from your doubts that you've read enough stories to understand that trailing spouse rarely find the experience as exhilarating as their directly-recruited partners; yes, competition can be fierce, and being mono-lingual is a distinct disadvantage in most cases. In your favour, it seems you are an experienced professional with a unique skillset, so it could work out for you. LinkedIn is your friend here, in such circumstances - join discussion groups and talk, start to follow Dutch organisations who provide a similar service to your current one, and see if you can bait their HR into speaking with you Also, use Facebook to network, with groups like The Expat Women NL, or https://www.facebook.com/groups/AMSBusinessMamas/?fref=ts[Amsterdam Business Mamas It's tough, but not impossible. It's also absolutely fine to request a 4 day week to accommodate the school-free Wednesday for other things (such as taking your son to his activities) - and this goes for your husband too! Men share the load here with childcare, as much as they can (but employers are very relaxed about it because they've all been there).

Unlike the UK, there is no real requirement for you to work. I know, that for a feeling of self-worth it's important, but you can buy a house on one salary here, comfortably. Again, that depends on whether you're considering a short term expat assignment or a semi-permanent move.

Last edited by Red_Wine_Fairy; Nov 28th 2015 at 7:36 pm.
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Old Nov 29th 2015, 11:37 am
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Default Re: potential trailing wife

I fully endorse what Red Wine Fairy posted above. We did it by me commuting for 2 years; but in reverse to what you're asking, wife + kids in Holland, me working in the UK. I used to get the first flight out of Schiphol on a Monday and fly back on a Friday lunchtime - it was tedious, but doable - it helped that my company paid for my accommodation in the UK, plus half of my flights.

We did it that way because we couldn't be sure if either option was right long-term. In the end, we compromised and moved back to the UK and my wife (Dutch nurse, tri-lingual) got a job in the UK with no problem. The kids soon picked up English and thrived. I can't think of any reason why it wouldn't work in reverse.

If you're not sure; try the commute first. Once he gets a place, go out there yourself and test the water, take the kids, look at the schools. You may hate it, although I can't think why, Holland is a great place.
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Old Dec 3rd 2015, 7:21 am
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Also endorse RWF's advice here.Have to say however that in these circumstances keeping the family together would be my first priority .Life is tough enough for an ex-pat without long separations being added imo,especially for the children.Your 'ace' card is in having a special skill.I would do as much research in that area as possible before any decisions are made. I had a friend (when I lived in NL) who worked in Radiology at a very high level. She was recruited almost immediately upon arrival without Dutch.English is widely used in the medical field anyway. I am not saying she had it easy though,but then none of us did.Your OH will also be required to learn Dutch,added to the average working day it's quite exhausting,however the rewards are great for those prepared to put in the effort.
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Old Jan 23rd 2016, 10:53 am
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Default Re: potential trailing wife

Hi there,

I am also a potential trailing spouse. My husband has been given a draft for two years to Holland so myself and two children will be going with him in July. We are worried about the children's education as they only speak English. They are 6 and 4, my youngest starts school in september. I have no issues with not working as he will be earning enough to support us all but I am worried about us all learning the language and fitting in. Where abouts is your husband going to be located?
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Old Jan 24th 2016, 11:31 am
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Default Re: potential trailing wife

Originally Posted by Cannadine View Post
Hi there,

I am also a potential trailing spouse. My husband has been given a draft for two years to Holland so myself and two children will be going with him in July. We are worried about the children's education as they only speak English. They are 6 and 4, my youngest starts school in september. I have no issues with not working as he will be earning enough to support us all but I am worried about us all learning the language and fitting in. Where abouts is your husband going to be located?

More to the point Cannadine ,where are you going to be living?My children were also young (6 & 9 yrs) when we first arrived in NL. Had I known that we were staying so long (it's very common to be offered a short contract,only to have it extended and extended) I would have put mine in the local Dutch school. I know things have changed considerable over the yrs since i first arrived,but integration hasn't.Mine I believe would have been happier playing with the local children instead of being 'bussed' to playdates when I had the time .You really don't need to worry too much in the first primary yrs. English is taught in Dutch schools at a very early age,being bi-lingual can only help them in the future. Otherwise there are several International schools dotted around the country,Of course these are private (with Government sponsorship) so cost money.The schooling process is also more fluid than the UK system,pupils move up and down according to where they are in ability not in age. Good Luck
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Old Jan 24th 2016, 2:44 pm
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Default Re: potential trailing wife

Originally Posted by Cannadine View Post
Hi there,

I am also a potential trailing spouse. My husband has been given a draft for two years to Holland so myself and two children will be going with him in July. We are worried about the children's education as they only speak English. They are 6 and 4, my youngest starts school in september. I have no issues with not working as he will be earning enough to support us all but I am worried about us all learning the language and fitting in. Where abouts is your husband going to be located?
From the wording, am I right in assuming you're a Naval family? If so, you might want to consider leaving your kids in a UK boarding school; the MOD pay for it.
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Old Jan 25th 2016, 4:07 pm
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Default Re: potential trailing wife

Leave a 6 and 4 year old in a boarding school? These are the children's formative years and they need to be with their parents! You said how miserable you were when you had years of UK-NL commuting, but at least your kids were with your wife and you must have took some comfort from that? I doubt even the Royal Family don't send their kids to boarding school quite that young


These kids will pick up Dutch very, very quickly. It won't hurt them to attend a Dutch school then switch back, so long as the parents are reading English books to them at bedtime and they get some CBBC time.
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Old Jan 25th 2016, 7:42 pm
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Default Re: potential trailing wife

Originally Posted by Red_Wine_Fairy View Post
Leave a 6 and 4 year old in a boarding school? These are the children's formative years and they need to be with their parents! You said how miserable you were when you had years of UK-NL commuting, but at least your kids were with your wife and you must have took some comfort from that? I doubt even the Royal Family don't send their kids to boarding school quite that young


These kids will pick up Dutch very, very quickly. It won't hurt them to attend a Dutch school then switch back, so long as the parents are reading English books to them at bedtime and they get some CBBC time.
Nothing unusual about it (I used to organise the travel arrangements for the kids who travelled to and from Germany). For most Forces families, the most important thing for them is a stable education for their children; with many of them packing up and moving every couple of years, boarding school education (which the MoD pays for) is the only viable option.

IMO - 2 years of Dutch Basisschool won't benefit them in any useful way; any language skills they pick up will be long forgotten by the time they can use them in real life.
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