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Academic sabbatical and family life

(8 Posts)
disguisedasabeggarwoman Fri 02-Jan-15 19:38:50

This sank like a stone in Chat so reposting here for relevance:

I'm due a semester's research leave in autumn this year and I'm starting to list all the preparations that need to be made, e.g. finding accommodation, renting out our own place, sorting transport and childcare etc etc. We're planning to spend a few weeks in Spain and a few weeks in an English University town (where we have family), both hosted by collaborators of mine. DD will be almost 3, DH will be working from home (i.e. our sabbatical home).

Are there any academics out there who've done anything similar? There's lots to sort out in order for it to work for all 3 of us, but it could be a brilliant way to escape the UK autumn, get some research done, and give DD a foreign adventure since my next period of leave will be after she's started school. Our home nursery are v. accommodating and will keep her place open for no retainer whilst we're away.

I'm thinking that a bilingual childminder would be the best option for morning daycare for DD, and a long term let via Airbnb or similar for accommodation. Have also registered with

Any other advice gratefully received!

albertcampionscat Fri 02-Jan-15 19:41:02

It seems quite a lot of moving about. I'd worry about research time getting eaten up by all that planning.

PiratePanda Fri 02-Jan-15 19:46:30

Definitely do it now before your DD is of school age; after that, sabbaticals away from home will be much more difficult. I have a 12 month sabbatical that's just started, but because DS is now in school and academic DH not on sabbatical, I can only actually go away for three weeks, one week of which I will be taking both him and my new PhD student (as an au pair) abroad with me.

Airbnb is a very good choice for long-term apartment/house rentals; my postdoc has done this for months on end with her DH and two children in Europe. also comes highly recommended.

PiratePanda Fri 02-Jan-15 19:47:27

(Oh, and yes, I really do agree with albert - sounds like an awful lot of faff for not a long time away, which will eat into your productivity.)

disguisedasabeggarwoman Tue 06-Jan-15 12:18:44

Thanks both. The PhD student as au pair sounds like a good deal for everyone involved.

We're hoping to spend 6 weeks in each place and will do everything to avoid wasting time for web connections etc to be sorted out. Roll on September..

TheCountessofFitzdotterel Tue 06-Jan-15 12:23:50

DH did it when our dcs were 1 and 2. We stayed in the UK but spent a term in Cambridge. Accommodation was sorted for us by the institute dh was in, which made it easier, but otherwise the admin wasn't too complex.
The au pair idea sounds like a good one. Ours were in a local nursery which turned out to be crap and the only negative thing about the experience was having to drop them off every morning when dd really didn't want to go.

CityDweller Thu 12-Feb-15 22:10:30

Not to be a killjoy, but agree with earlier notions about avoiding too much moving about. A semester isn't very long at all and the distractions of being in different places will take away from your research activities. Don't underestimate how long it takes to get familiar with a new library, sort out internet, etc.

I had a semester sabbatical a few years ago and we spent a month of it in New York, where we have been many times before (and have family). It was great, but a total distraction and cut into my productivity massively. Kind of wished we'd just done a 10-day holiday to New York, rather than the longer 'working' trip.

TalkinPeace Sun 15-Feb-15 11:08:36

Several of my family members have had sabbaticals - generally a full year.
Aim for at least a month in each place - airbnb is your friend
The kids (who ranged in aged up to 13 between the 4 families) remember it as one of the most formative times of their lives.

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