Have you/would you move overseas without going over first for a visit?

(34 Posts)
suebfg Sun 25-Nov-12 20:50:19

My other half has been offered a job in Dubai. We were hoping to have the opportunity to go over first for a visit, to check out schools and accommodation, but this is now not going to be possible in the timescales.

I've been to Dubai for a brief holiday about 10 years ago and my other half has been there lots of times on business. But it does seem a bit risky to take the plunge without going over first, particularly re the schools as DS is in a very good school in the UK.

Any thoughts appreciated.

MiauMau Sun 25-Nov-12 21:41:31

We're about to move to Vancouver in February, everyone keeps on asking us if we've been before and being really surprised when we reply that we haven't. For us this is a choice that we made for our DS's future, we chose a city with a high quality of life, that has what we had as small children in our own country (sea, mountains and forests) and where we'll have the most job opportunities. Saying that we're not closing any doors here, if everything goes tits up and we're not happy there we can always come back to London.
I think that that is the solution in your case, just don't lose contact with people here so, that you'll always have a place to come back to.

ripsishere Mon 26-Nov-12 00:20:49

Six times so far.

OpheliasWeepingWillow Mon 26-Nov-12 00:23:19

I moved with DH to a country in Asia with 6 weeks notice having never been there before. Was fine and financially a good move but I was SO lonely at first.

Basically a good move but stressful and I should have taken up about 3 hobbies when I arrived despite FT job.

MarjorieAntrobus Mon 26-Nov-12 01:17:50

I think it's risky if you have never ever been to that place before, and particularly if you haven't travelled much previously. But, you have been to Dubai before once, albeit a while ago, and your DH more often and recently. You both have a fair old idea what you are going into.

I moved from the UK to South America, then Asia, then the Middle East as a single person. Met DH in the ME, moved back to the UK, then to Asia again and are now in the US (and moving again next year).

We didn't check out any of the moves ahead of time, but have always fallen on our feet eventually - some places took longer than others to settle, but I don't think doing a recce would have made a difference.

Good luck with your move!

Lifeonthecanal Mon 26-Nov-12 03:12:55

I have done a few times as DH has been moved very quickly with the company he works for. If we'd been to one of them for a visit beforehand there is no way I'd have moved!

But Dubai is such a popular place there is lots of information available to read before you go.. Look at expatwoman.com for stacks of school info. It's also fairly easy in that there is lots going on and plenty of social/sports things to do. It's not for everyone, but most people I know are very happy.

Lavenderhoney Mon 26-Nov-12 03:42:16

We have moved several times and haven't been able to go first due to pgncy or timing. It's fine- really if as dh has accepted the job then we are going anyway! We tend to have done all the homework before accepting! you can look on expat sites and all the house renting sites are pretty good and online. You can see what our are getting for your ha.

When does your dh job start? Most people come and are put up in accommodation whilst they look for a house near the school. Though in Dubai that tends to be very hard, as all the schools have waiting lists or closed applications! So you dont so much choose a school as its the only one with a place!!! You can apply online for schools and look at their websites to see if they have any spaces, call admin etc. Accommodation- tends to move very fast. Wherever we are it's been 2 weeks notice to move in- some agents won't show you round with longer timescales.

With Googlemap, timeout, and expat sites for all countries nearly, I think you do know what you are getting wherever you go, to some extent. Although if it's hot, nothing can prepare you for the heatsmile

Maiumaui that sounds amazingsmile do you know anyone there? How long from deciding to going? How adventurous you are

GirlWithTheMouseyHair Mon 26-Nov-12 03:42:57

We moved to LA in feb, DH had been for 48 hours for his interview but otherwise neither of us had been before. I'm generally spontaneous though and was up for a change. Not exactly like moving to somewhere completely different but even if he'd been offered a job in Japan or china i'd probably have happily gone without visiting first - visiting is very different from living after all

Labootin Mon 26-Nov-12 03:44:27

Be warned with the Dubai expat woman site, the moderators ie the owners delete pretty much anything that has any whiff of discontent about most schools (a think this is due to the schools in question advertising on the site) so whilst its helpful it's certainly not the full picture.

Schools are mainly for profit (ie gems) and have glossy websites (and fees for joining waiting lists)

Long weekend ? You could view schools on Sunday morning (first day of working week) and fly back that evening.

Labootin Mon 26-Nov-12 03:52:34

Also when you say other half I take it you're married ? Are you intending to work ? if you're a sahm you'll need to go under his sponsorship so you'll need to be.

Apologies if this is stating the bleeding obvious but a lot of people are surprised by this, you also cannot have children "out of wedlock" here.

CordeliaChase Mon 26-Nov-12 04:17:53

We moved to Canada without so much as a sniff of a visit! Neither of us had been before, had no idea what to expect. We're currently experiencing our first winter, and I'm thinking Dubai would've been a better option haha! Seriously though, you don't know if you don't try. We love it here, been here since July and getting settled. DS is only 2 so we don't have to worry too much about a school just yet. DH is the breadwinner and I'm searching for a job. You can always go home if it doesn't work out. Just give it your best. You will get lonely buy push through that. smile

mortimersraven Mon 26-Nov-12 04:24:25

If your DP has been offered a good package they should find suitable accommodation for you and enrol your children in a good international school. Are they doing this?

I moved to China, had never visited. It's do-able for sure.

Labootin Mon 26-Nov-12 04:28:59

Mortimer it's not quite that simple in Dubai tbh, it's generally a given that you get an allowance which often if you have more than one child doesn't cover the full cost but you're left to sort out you're own schooling,some larger firms offer a debenture (ie JESS which is virtually impossible to get into without one) but it's not the norm.

RichManPoorManBeggarmanThief Mon 26-Nov-12 04:43:32

If you went to Dubai 10 yrs ago, you havent been to Dubai IYSWIM as pretty much everything that's there now and that shapes the place, wasnt there 10 yrs ago. I left 3 yrs ago, and from emails from friends I can tell its changed a lot even in that time.

Agree with Labootin that expatwoman is very heavily moderated but it is still useful (albeit a nest of vipers grin). Mymovedubai.com is another website that is fairly useful for the basics, although has no forum. Also agree that you'll be in the minority if the company sort a school place for you- usually they just cant unless they have a debenture so you have to do it yourself (same as in HK to be honest). This usually involves badgering the admissions person daily until they give you a place just to get rid of you.

The other thing I know about the schools in Dubai is that the kids are never in them- main complaint from parents is how few school days there are due to public and religious holidays, but that's a general point, not specific to any one international school.

I did visit Dubai before we moved there (in July, so I could see it at it's worst). However, realisitcally, a weekend doesnt prepare you for living there, so I wouldnt worry too much if you dont get a chance to do a recce. Then we moved to HK, where I'd been for work, but again, seeing a place for a conference is not the same as living there, so I really did go in blind. However, it's really worked for us.

best of luck

MarjorieAntrobus Mon 26-Nov-12 04:51:08

Agree with labootin. I thought "normal' was being given a hotel for a few (2 to 4) weeks within which time you have to find your own flat/condo/house. I also thought that school enrolment was down to you (ie me).

Mortimers, did your employer really find both accommodation and school places?? shock If so then that makes the move quite straightforward, really.

Labootin Mon 26-Nov-12 04:53:40

Rich man.. They were off last week for New Year and off next week again for National Day ...

Agree on a weekend not preparing you (or a holiday either ESP 10 years ago !.. I'm struggling to think what WAS here 10 hrs ago TBH !) but re schools the ones I thought before seeing (good websites blah blah) I'd like I really didn't
(dc's HATED Kings for example and that's a generally recommended one iykwim) ... Now that would be deleted on expatwoman!

Bertrude Mon 26-Nov-12 05:12:21

We hadn't visited here before we moved here. In all honesty, even once we were here we were still using the same Internet forums (expatwoman, britishexpats etc) to find things out until we made friends so most of the research was done from home anyway.

Not got kids to comment on the schools thing properly, however my company still pay the accommodation, help you find it, help get the children into the schools you want etc. it's a semi-government entity though - I've not recently heard of many private sector jobs that it happens on. (also means I get two days next weekend, woohoo!)

Agree with labootin's question on the DP/marital status and sponsoring of you and the children. If you're not married it'll be nigh on impossible to sort out the visas.

ben5 Mon 26-Nov-12 05:50:31

moved to Perth Australia without ever being to Australia before. Best thing I've ever done and really don't want to go back to the UK not even for a holiday

Cadmum Mon 26-Nov-12 05:58:12

Like ripishere <<waves>>, we always move sight unseen. 7 countries on 3 continents and potentially adding Oz in February.

We have four children in tow and started with state schools, switched to International ones and wound up home educating.

vvviola Mon 26-Nov-12 06:06:44

I moved to Japan without ever having visited.

2 countries with work without longer than a few days of a business trip.

Here (NZ) after only a week-long visit (although DH is a kiwi so it's a little different)

Scared the hell out of me each time, but it's been worth it every time too.

Never had a go-see trip, first move abroad was 19 years ago as a new graduate and have been moving by myself, then with dh, then with dh and 2 dds ever since ... Have moved 8 more times since then.

It has nearly always been a requirement for us to move (ie it's this job or no job for dh) so there was no point going to see purely to decide if we wanted to move or not. Ironically we have another move coming up in July 2013 and are traveling from Asia to the us (24 hours in the air and 13 hour time shift hmm) at Easter to take a look, but mostly so that the dcs are settled and have an idea of houses and schools before we go (they are 4 and 8). If it was just me and dh, or if the children were under about 4, we probably wouldn't bother going to take a look. Kids are our priority in a move, I could live anywhere, so could dh but we want to ensure that the dds are positive and have enough information to make a move as stress free for them as possible.

We went to San Diego without visiting... well kind of. I spend half a day when I was 15 there and DH spent half a day a few months before we went. We had been elsewhere in the states though and I lived elsewhere in California when I was a teen.

suebfg Mon 26-Nov-12 09:04:09

Hi, yes we're married. The package DH has been offered is pretty typical of that in Dubai nowadays so there is a school fees allowance but no debenture. The school is my main concern as DS goes to a great independent prep in the UK that I'm really pleased with and we won't have the opportunity to check out the Dubai schools before an offer was accepted. It's just not possible, not even for a weekend, due to other circumstances.

Labootin Mon 26-Nov-12 09:37:34

Have you asked this before .. You seem familiar ?
Apologies if it wasn't you but Dubai comes up regularly it might be worth doing an advanced search (you'll probably find me spouting on about the same stuff)

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