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.

BegoniaBampot Tue 27-Nov-12 11:48:19

Think it's important thought to check out schools before hand. We had a small window to do that when we arrived and had a choice.

BegoniaBampot Tue 27-Nov-12 11:47:00

We moved to Singapore without a prior visit. husband had been and I had spent 2 days there on a stop over 20 years earlier. Had a rough idea what it would be like and had been on expat web sites. It was fine. Depends on the place though, some places I would definitely have to visit first.

Alligatorpie Mon 26-Nov-12 18:57:45

I've lived in six countries in four continents, I have never visited a country first.

We are also thinking about moving to Dubai, and the lack of choices you have about schools is something that everyone mentions when you tell them you are thinking about Dubai.

ZZZenAgain Mon 26-Nov-12 11:37:39

It seems that you will have little choice wrt schools, so I would ask myself: if I move to Dubai and am seriously dissatisfied with the school options available to us, what will I do? If you have an answer to that which seems viable to you, I would go ahead and try it.

Labootin Mon 26-Nov-12 10:30:36

Then you have your answer.
You either find a way of seeing schools out here or you don't go.

suebfg Mon 26-Nov-12 10:22:41

'TBH would you have enrolled your ds in his English school sight unseen ?'

No way, I visited lots of schools before settling on the current one. It almost feels like I'm destined for failure as I am so happy with the current school that it is going to be very difficult to match it.

Labootin Mon 26-Nov-12 10:12:02

Ah yes

TBH would you have enrolled your ds in his English school sight unseen ?

Pre kids I would happily chuck a spare pair of pants in a carry on and jet off anywhere.

Now is different and Butterflies mentioned it and I agree my priority was schools and wether my children were happy to move. There was no way I was having crying children on the plane.

Personally I would not have moved without being ABSOLUTELY happy.

suebfg Mon 26-Nov-12 09:58:57

I have posted before re Dubai. It has taken over 4 months for the offer to finally come through, maybe longer!

mortimersraven Mon 26-Nov-12 09:52:39

Marjorie our accommodation was found for us for our first 12 months, we found our own after that. We don't have kids but all other parents from DP's company had their kids school places taken care of. But there are several good-quality schools near us, so places weren't an issue.

I guess it's different in Dubai. I don't even know what debenture is! blush

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)

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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

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.

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!

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.

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

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.

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.

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

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.

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.

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