This week I talk to Tasmin, an American who had her baby daughter in Australia as part of the series The Global Differences of Baby-Making. She talks about the benefits of being raised as a dual citizen, the challenge of getting affordable baby stuff and the importance of getting professional baby photo’s done. Here is her story:
Tell me a bit about yourself? Where are you from? How old is your daughter and where did you have her?
I’m Tasmin and I grew up in Texas, but my dad is from New Zealand so I was raised a little cross culturally (eating lamb, loving to travel). I had visited family in Sydney before and always wanted to live here since it is a big city, but clean with heaps of friendly people and things to do on beautiful beaches. I married another American and we moved around the U.S. a bit after University (where we met studying abroad in New Zealand) and I finally convinced him to sell everything and hop on a plane to Sydney 4 years ago. My daughter is four months old and she was born here.
Why did you have your daughter abroad?
Being raised as a dual citizen allowed me lots of opportunities like studying abroad at a non-international tuition cost in New Zealand, sometimes travelling under the radar in developing nations, and being able to live abroad in Commonwealth countries without prolonged visa applications. I’ve always wanted my children to have those same opportunities. Growing up in a small Texas town it made me feel special to have a connection to another country since so many of the people around me didn’t even have passports. I think it gave me more of an open view of the world and its possibilities from a young age.
What do you feel were the benefits to having children abroad?
The U.S. has a certain way of doing things, and when it comes to birthing and raising babies, it’s not usually my personal preference. Australia is very family friendly and the work arrangements especially appealed to me. It is very common, if not expected, that you will take a full year off for each child. Provided you return within 52 weeks, you have full job security at the same position with the same pay. In addition to your employer’s leave payment (averaging 8-12 weeks full pay), you also get 18 weeks paid from the government at minimum wage (replacing the old baby bonus scheme this year). It means you do not derail your career by spending the first year of their life with your child full time.
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