Middle East the most challenging place for expat children

Published:  9 Nov at 6 PM
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Tagged: Australia, UAE
A recently released survey has identified the Middle East as the most challenging destination for bringing up expat children.

According to HSBC’s 2012 Expat Explorer survey, expat parents working in Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Kuwait have the hardest time bringing up their children. The three countries are rated at the bottom of the league table for expat families abroad.

One of the toughest challenges in the Middle East for expat kids was that of social integration, with six out of every ten respondees based in Saudi Arabia saying their children reported real problems with it. 40 per cent of expats based in Kuwait and 36 per cent of those in the UAE noted similar problems.

Lack of social integration resilted in expat children spending more time watching TV or playing computer games, with nearly half of all children in Saudi Arabia playing more video games than in their home countries. In Kuwait and the UAE, the numbers were 33 per cent and 44 per cent respectively.

Saudi Arabia was at the top of the league for watching TV with 63 per cent, and the UAE and Kuwait weren’t far behind with 48 per cent. A contributary factor for this might well be that the soaring temperatures in the desert region made playing outside dangerous as well as impractical.

The survey also reported that childcare costs in the Middle East far outstripped those in other expat destinations. Extra costs after relocation were felt by 86 per cent of parents in the UAE, 70 per cent in Saudi Arabia and 67 per cent in Kuwait The overall cost of education featured as far more expensive than in the home country, especially in the UAE, according to 86 per cent of expats .
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