English company closing down, offered job in other countries- long!

(117 Posts)
sliceofcakenowplease Wed 31-Oct-12 12:47:38

DH and I work in the same international company (although we do completely different jobs- he's to do with tech, I do website design work). The English company is closing, but we've been offered jobs abroad with the same company, which allows us to work in English (although they stipulate that we have to go to some courses in the language previously).

The places are:
Dubai (not especially interested or happy about this, we're pretty sure not here, though if anyone can persuade me differently, I'll happily change my mind).

Canada (specifically Newfoundland, Vancouver, Ontario/Quebec border, a place called Manotick near Ottawa, Calgary, Edmonton)

Israel (Tel Aviv)

Romania (Bucharest, Cluj-Napoca)

NZ (Auckland, Christchurch, Napier, Wellington, Hamilton)

Australia (Sydney, Brisbane, Adelaide, Hobart, Melbourne, Wollongong)

Portugal (Lisbon)

Lithuania

Japan (countryside area, just out of Tokyo)

Sweden (Stockholm, Uppsala)

USA (NYC, Washington DC, Phoenix, Austin, Denver, Boston, and the places which I can only remember state names for- New Jersey, Rhode Island, Iowa, Oregon, Kansas, Alaska)

France (Paris, Lille, Brest (I can't even imagine what my children would do with that name, Toulouse, Strasbourg, Montpellier)

Brazil (Brasilia, Sao Paulo, Teresina, Campinas, Belo Horizonte, Manaus)

Finland (Helsinki)

Paraguay (Asuncion, Luque)

Iceland (Reyjavik)

Czech Republic (Prague)

Poland (Krakow, Warsaw)

I can't get why they're closing down the English section, and yet they have sections in Paraguay or Romania or Sweden or anything!

USA, Canada, NZ and Australia have big plus points for speaking English. However, France is close to London (where we currently live), and Sweden and Finland are fairly close. I don't really want to live in Iceland, but I'd be willing to live in Finland. The Romanian cities/towns where we could relocate are quite small, as are many other places, and I'd like to be in a larger city. Israel would be fine as I have a few relatives there.

DCs are both 12 (nearly 13), however they currently go to an international state school (only local school available) and I have researched international schools (as well as local schools) for where we might live in each one. Tel Aviv has one, Dubai does, and I haven't got far enough with the others.

Japanese and Icelandic, and Hebrew, is meant to be hard? Which is a reason for ruling it out, because though my DCs show a talent for languages (both have been allowed to take extra language classes, namely Mandarin and Russian, and they are already doing German, French and Spanish). They are already learning French, but this is clearly the DCs worst language.

Canada would be okay, we have relatives in Ottawa and Kingston, but I'm concerned about the distance. I'd like not to have to move continents, but my choices, so far, are:

Canada
NZ
Australia
Sweden (Stockholm, my brother used to live there, although it's expensive and we'd probably have to move into a flat)
Poland (Krakow if we chose the actual place)
USA (NYC or possibly (if I'm brave) Alaska)

What would you do? (sorry about how long it is!) Staying isn't much of an option, we both have very specific jobs and are unlikely to find others here.

pupsiecola Wed 31-Oct-12 14:31:25

I can't offer any in depth advice but before we moved to South East Asia we would have jumped at the chance of a move to Vancouver. Still hope to end up there, or perhaps Boston.

Good luck - sounds like you have a lot of narrowing down to do!

JurassicFart Wed 31-Oct-12 14:33:01

Wow, how exciting! So many opportunities. Would this be a permanent move then? If it is a permanent move I would probably be concentrating on places that are either close or a direct flight away.

If it's not permanent (say, under five years) I would be tempted to go somewhere really far flung.

I would also be tempted by Alaska, and by Poland (I have loads of lovely Polish friends). NZ might just be a bit too far away - do you get flights home paid for annually or anything like that?

LoopyLoopsOlympicHoops Wed 31-Oct-12 14:35:48

Out of that list I would look at:

Montpellier, Toulouse, Strasbourg (all amazing cities, love France, close to home of you want that)

Brazil (for interesting change), maybe Paraguay too

Australia (never fancied it until met a lot of Ozzies recently now am intrigued)

Sweden - supposed to be amazing scenery, brilliant lifestyle etc. Maybe a bit dull?

What are your priorities? What will the pay be like in each place? Will international schooling be included? Flights home? If so I'd definitely be looking further afield to somewhere really different, you might not get this opportunity again.

CanIHaveAPetGiraffePlease Wed 31-Oct-12 14:39:26

I'd love to go to Vancouver. Have relatives in Melbourne which is also nice.

All depends on whether you want to move, if you want to move long term etc.

I did once look al emigration criteria for Vancouver when I was young!

Think about quality of life. Presumably they will pay you as a local so work out how far money will go, what sort of accommodation you would have etc.

sliceofcakenowplease Wed 31-Oct-12 15:05:39

Yes, we will get annual flights home, paid for by the company, but in our own holiday time. They also promise priority for business trips to England for the English staff, the same for other foreign staff for their own countries. They're pretty desperate to have us (not many people will do the subjects needed).

Our main priority is education. We are moving long term, so I have been looking at universities as well as school. However, the contract is only for seven years, although it's a long time, it allows us to experience something new. Family isn't much of a priority (not a good relationship with my parents, same for DH) but I'm worried that if we fly too far, it would be even worse for the DCs.

We currently live in London, in an okay house, but small-ish, and so moving to some countries would be downsizing. The only downsizing we'd need to do would be for Sweden, Dubai and Australia.

In English speaking countries (it's the same for foreign staff- if you speak Portugese and you move to a Portugese country for instance), you go for state education, but you can obviously apply for independents if you can afford it. If in a non-English speaking country, and there is a private school, they will give limited money assistance. As it is, we can't afford private school, but for some of the countries we move to, we will as we will be saving quite a bit of money.

They have offered to pay for all language or out-of-school tuition needed, including musical instruments- I'm amazed at the offer to be honest, it's what I've been dreaming of- as well as the schooling, they can learn an instrument (or more than one) for free, and we will be helped with independence schools, not to mention the annual flights and priority for English business trips. It's such a great oppurtunity!

I think we've narrowed it down to these-

Montpellier
Strasbourg
Toulouse
Krakow
Brazil
Canada (where though?)
Alaska

We're considering Australia or NZ. Not really sure- it seems so far away. Sorry for the extra long post!

sliceofcakenowplease Wed 31-Oct-12 16:35:14

By the way, thanks to everyone who replied, you've given me and DH a lot to think about smile.

amyboo Wed 31-Oct-12 17:38:39

Montpellier is lovely - good Ryanair flight schedule for getting back to the UK and great weather. My Mum has lived in the Languedoc region for 10 years so we know the South west area quite well. Toulouse is nice, but does have some of the typical problems that big French cities suffer from - unhappy suburbs, high rises, etc. i'd personally favour Strasbourg over Toulouse. I spent my Erasmus year there. It has some very good universities, great weather (cold winters, warm summers) is surrounded by fab scenery, skiing possibilities in winter, Germany and all its plusses are a 10 minutes trip over the border, good train links by TGV to Paris. It's quite a small city, but really pretty - a lovely mix of French and German influences - has good food, good shopping, good public transport... I guess you might find it a bit small after London, but I'd definitely consider it.

PhyllisDoris Wed 31-Oct-12 17:42:04

No help I know, but I would jump at the chance to live and work in any of those places! The world is your oyster - enjoy it!

sliceofcakenowplease Wed 31-Oct-12 17:55:52

Thanks amy France definitely has its advantages, and I'd been considering Toulouse, and Montpellier and Strasbourg were on the list but I wasn't actively considering, but that's definitely changed! In the Christmas holidays, I might try and book to stay in one (or both, depending on travel costs and times) so I can get more of an experience of it, and make it seem like a fun thing to be moving to the DCs, who seem excited but I'm a bit worried about. Alternatively, I'll do that with Poland or maybe Romania.

I know Phyllis! I've been given a great chance, as has DH, and hopefully the DCs think so to, to experience the world a bit more. I've always wanted to travel but having kids has limited it to within the UK, normally within England actually, and occasional trips to Paris, and once every now and then to other places, and like I said, I lived in America once. I just need to know what to choose to make the chance even better!

tadjennyp Wed 31-Oct-12 18:01:31

My dh's company moved us to Oregon which is lovely. It is much cheaper than California generally and the scenery is beautiful. Good luck!

C0smos Wed 31-Oct-12 18:13:28

No advice at all - but wow the world really is your Oyster lucky you. If its any help I did a big round the world back pack and visited many of the mon European cities on your trip. I would choose Canada over NZ and Oz, more culture, vibrant, beautiful etc. I was also surprised how much II liked the US.

MaureenLove Wed 31-Oct-12 18:15:37

God not Finland

Graciescotland Wed 31-Oct-12 18:28:47

I'm currently in Toronto and really enjoying it. We were in Brisbane before this, which was lovely but so expensive and the tax regime for foreigners is definitely painful!

If you do look at Canada check out air transat, they're a cheapie airline that does a lot of direct flights to the UK. I do the Toronto- Glasgow leg fairly often for about £400 return.

sliceofcakenowplease Wed 31-Oct-12 18:31:03

I agree about Canada over NZ and Oz, it's close, but far away for it to be really amazing. I like the idea of the Quebec/Ontario border, and I just re-read the information given to us, and I forgot to add: Montreal, Quebec City, Toronto, Halifax. I know I'm an idiot! I think I went to Montreal once- and had a tour around an Olympic stadium thing and went up on a lift to it's top? And there might have been a Bio Dome and an Old Town or something like that, not to mention that in winter most of the shops seemed to be underground or something like that. I might be wrong though.

Why not Finland Maureen?

MaureenLove Wed 31-Oct-12 18:32:50

Finland dark introspective and small. Population is tiny. Plus language impenetrable

sliceofcakenowplease Wed 31-Oct-12 18:35:22

Posted becfore I saw you Gracie. So Brisbane is too expensive? As I live in London, Toronto would be (hopefully) ideal, because of its size, but I'm toying with the idea of going to a smaller place (like Krakow in Poland) so my kids have a less city life. Moving country's so hard- and I've not even decided which one- I'm dreading thinking about buying the house, arranging schools etc;

sliceofcakenowplease Wed 31-Oct-12 18:37:48

So the language is a problem? I heard it was quite difficult, but I didn't really think about that actually. I don't mind small though!

turkeyboots Wed 31-Oct-12 18:41:24

Wow, what a choice. I personally would leap at Strasbourg or Stockholm. Lovely cities. My sister went to Vancouver on holiday and never came back, she liked the place so much. But it would be European cities all the way for me. Most will have a International or British or American school in commuting distance and is a great community for a teenager to be dropped into as everyone has been there themselves.

Can you pick a top 3 and visit ? (paid for by company of course!)

PoppyAmex Wed 31-Oct-12 18:43:08

I'm originally from Lisbon and your children would probably love it - sun surf and just a couple of hours from London.

I also lived in Sydney for 7 years and Tel Aviv and loved it, but Israel can be tough on the language side.

Very envy

madwomanintheattic Wed 31-Oct-12 18:45:28

Calgary or Vancouver. Edmonton or Halifax (still trying to get to Halifax)

If you want a smaller feel, then Calgary or Halifax. (We live an hour outside Calgary, and dh works in the city, so yup, I am biased. We live in the Rocky Mountains. grin

Graciescotland Wed 31-Oct-12 18:49:44

I found it really expensive; rents are high we paid nearly $5K a month for a corporate let all in, buying a weeks worth of normal groceries would easily cost $400. The economy there is buoyant (mining/china) and it's apparent in the prices! Also they've done away with the tax free/ low tax allowance for foreigners so your paying full tax 32.5% (I think) from the first dollar.

We do have a bigger place here (that's cheaper) and the grocery bill has halved (still seems more expensive than the UK but I haven't lived there since 2010). Toronto is nice, like London it's a bit of a spread. We don't live in the downtown core (all condos and offices) but in a nice family area with an easy commute. Canadian property seems reasonably priced though.

slice you are right in what you remember of montreal, that is indeed the place. The pq (?) party has just got in, super french, there is some backlash against english speakers right now, but expected not to last long. They have some policies to really isolate the english population, but my colleagues said they'll never pass the legislation as they are in the minority.

It is easy to live here. Transport is good, the city is compact, and not overwhelmingly large. There is a big english part of the city (westmount) with lovely old houses. Schooling is substandard compared to the rest of Canada, even when paying for private. Dependant on your visa (we are temp workers), you can access the English School Board, however, the french taught in the schools is very advanced, as they assume the base is there already. Private in Montreal run at CA$20k plus extra's. French private schools are much cheaper. I understand that if you are residing here, then University does not cost an arm and a leg.

The difficulty I see in your list, is that it is too broad. I don't envy you having to narrow it down! Good luck!!

sliceofcakenowplease Wed 31-Oct-12 18:58:30

I think I'll do that PoppyAmex. Although the company probably won't do that, I'll send the boss of my small London section an email, and he'll email the head office for the England section to find out, at least he said he would with any enquiries. Of course, if they paid for it, I might accidentally find myself staying in a luxury hotel...<dreams, realises dream is so unrealistic it's not even a dream and just some words on MN>

I also heard that about Israel. One person I met moved there with two children and moved back ages ago, she mentioned they had different streams or schools (can't remember which) for foreign language children until they were fluent enough. Or is it just my hazy memory of what she told me, and I'm completely wrong? Probably the latter, but you never know.

Now I'm dreaming of summery beaches in Lisbon... And not concentrating on moving (or, more to the point, feeding the DCs....)

Ideally we'd buy Gracie, but judging by rents that would be impossible in Australia! I've had a sneak peek at some houses online, and ones which I'd judge at the same level as ours are definitely a lot cheaper, so we could afford either a same sized house but with land (if in a place more like Manotick) or a nice large house (more likely, as I like city areas).

Again, thanks to everyone who replied. It's definitely opened our minds to more places.

Stevie77 Wed 31-Oct-12 18:59:31

I know Tel Aviv (and Israel) pretty well, PM me if you have specific questions

sliceofcakenowplease Wed 31-Oct-12 19:06:06

Yes HerRoyalNotness! I remembered something! (I'm known as Dopey in my family, which is why I'm celebrating...) It does seem worrying about the possibility of anti-English. Guess I couldn't pretend to be German or something? grin I'm glad that there's an English speaking part of the city, because although the DCs and DH are good at languages, and I am also fairly good, it's still quite daunting! Schooling is definitely food for thought, because at the moment the DCs go to a fairly good one (like I mentioned, it's international and allows them to do extra languages) and I'd like them to continue with that sort of standard. Private sounds too expensive for me, even if the company pay the 25-50% offered.

bran Wed 31-Oct-12 19:55:01

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

bran Wed 31-Oct-12 19:57:07

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

ivykaty44 Wed 31-Oct-12 20:05:02

Vancover
Auckland
Lisbon
Adelaide

would be my list and in that order

sliceofcakenowplease Wed 31-Oct-12 20:11:04

I don't know why I didn't consider the USA, I just kinda skipped over it. NYC sounds good from what you say, and from what you say, Alaska will suit. We are quite an active family, I kayak quite a lot, as does the rest of my family, and we enjoy camping, being outdoors etc; I am a bit worried though, because I've never lived in a place with a chance to have cabin fever, I've lived in cities for most of my life, and there's always a chance to go out to the park or the shops, so though I'm okay on short trips when I'm stuck in a tent/room, I'm not sure how I'll deal with actually living like that.

The offices will allow progression for me, but DH not so much in anything but the larger places (most places in the USA would, as would Tel Aviv and Lisbon, possibly Toronto, and maybe some more, I'll have to check). However, promotion for him will mean a minute rise but less of what he enjoys, so he isn't currently keen to actually be promoted, although being in a place where we have the space so there's a possibility that he can be, if we need the money. The English company is quite international with a few people who stay in London for a week but live in France, and other employees who were relocated from other divisions.

The insurance thing sounds worrying bran. I don't drive much, DH normally doesn't, but depending where we live, we'll need to drive more. In England, would the same thing happen- an American who came over will be charged as a brand new driver, or with experience? Does anyone know what happens with other countries?

Thanks for the advice bran!

sliceofcakenowplease Wed 31-Oct-12 20:14:40

Interesting ivy. Lisbon is high on my list, as are places in Canada (so Vancouver) but I'm veering off the further away countries like NZ and Australia. Is the lifestlyle a lot better, or cheaper? Whenever I think about moving to Australia for instance, I know of some people who live in Sydney, but no one else, and no one really from NZ, so I'm sort of getting my views from their experience (not really clued up on moving overseas!).

Thanks for the reccommendations. A lot of people have recommended different countries but it's nice knowing what people think the best ones are, and in what order.

ivykaty44 Wed 31-Oct-12 20:25:49

See I would live in NZ and be happy, but Australia would do my head in - sorry smile

I really like vancover and spent quite some time there and feel it has so much to offer

When we came to Canada we brought our English Insurance details with us, which helped with the premiums. We pay about CA$1200/year for a brand new GLK350 Merc (small suv type thing). We don't think that's excessive. From what I understand, insurance is a lot higher for instance, in Toronto. (anecdotal from a friend who moved there recently)

Re NZ, and I'm from there, it is a lovely, lovely country to grow up in, and I would love to move back with my DC. However, it is very far away from anywhere, it is quiet, a bit backward, and insular (IMO).

I would like to go back for a couple of years at least, for my 2 to spend time with their cousins and enjoy the life they do, but alas our company has no work there. The closest we could get would be Oz, I've lived there too, the major factor that puts me off, is not the Ozzies, but the arachnids!! <shudder> <buys big girl pants>

Again, far from UK, but if you're not close to your families, that may not matter as much. Great weather, it has a wonderful laid back vibe, friendly (Brisbane), beautiful beaches, close to Asia for holidays, a puddle jump to NZ for a bit of a look see. I'd probably give it another go, I've lived near Sydney, and 2 places in Queensland, and enjoyed all of them.

CanIHaveAPetGiraffePlease Wed 31-Oct-12 20:33:54

Australia - Melbourne is lovely and where we'd move if we did but when we looked into it . . .it is so very expensive in Australia now. Housing costs more, books food and clothes cost more. Only thing that doesn't is fuel. Lovely lifestyle but insular in the sense you have to fly. A long way to get anywhere. Good for a holiday but of decided it wasn't for us long term.

I'd still be tempted by Vancouver myself as I loved it. English speaking and lovely!

PoppyAmex Wed 31-Oct-12 21:07:26

No problem. PM me if you have questions about Lisbon or Sydney. smile

madwomanintheattic Wed 31-Oct-12 21:35:02

You want an outdoors lifestyle?
Calgary.
I've just finished a grant application for $30k of canoe, kayak and paddle board eqt. grin

On the water, climbing, hiking in the summer, and skiing all winter. What's not to like? grin

<pointedly ignores whistler>

What an amazing offer!

You've had a lot of interesting answers.

2 more things spring to mind:

You should consider the possibility that one of you ( more likely you DH from what I read) might get to a point where lack of opportunities for professional/personal growth might enter into play.
7 years is a long time. So choose a place where you would have more plausible opportunities to change jobs easily within your industry or make a career change + not have to struggle with visas/residency.
Try and make sure you BOTH get a full working visa and not a work visa + dependent visa.

Once you've narrowed it down on purely practical terms (financial/education etc....), maybe have a chat with the kids? At 12, they should start having clearer aspirations, dreams etc.... and may help you tip the balance?

Good luck and keep us posted!

I get moving fever every few years, I would find it very, very hard to make a decision for such a move.

Mayisout Thu 01-Nov-12 02:50:13

If you move to, say, Australia for 7 years with children the ages yours are then they will go right through secondary school and onto uni there. Their friends will be there and they will probably want to stay. So make sure you also would want to stay as it is a long way from the UK.

My DD is looking for work in Canada and I am v relieved as she was in Australia before, Canada seems much nearer.

Also NZ is lovely but not much work for your DCs when they leave uni.

USA, Canada or France I would say. But you need to visit and look at schools.
Canada and USA are both great places but the distances are huge so you need to check out where you plan to live, where are schools and be sure they are feasible distance-wise.

MarjorieAntrobus Thu 01-Nov-12 03:30:51

Gosh, that's very difficult, OP. You've got far too much choice.

I think I would consider the Dc's education, and your career prospects, and the cost of living. Those three issues would be at the forefront of my mind.

Your DCs are nearly 13, did you say? So they are in Y8 and just coming up to the stage where they get locked into one country's qualification system. If you want them to do GCSEs and A levels you'll need an International private school in most of your places. For instance, if you and they go through the US system then they'll graduate High School but not have UK qualifications, so it'll be a bit more complicated (though not impossible) to get into UK universities, if that's what they want to do.

Do check things out very thoroughly. For instance, I live in Malaysia at the moment and non-citizens are not allowed to attend government (ie state) schools, so expat DC here have to go private. I know that Malaysia isn't on your list. All I mean is don't assume anything that you take to be normal or obvious in the UK translates across to your new country.

People say Vancouver is great. Also that Australia is v expensive at the moment. Also that Dubai has a good expat scene (though cabin fever v likely there).

AllThreeWays Thu 01-Nov-12 03:44:18

I would suggest Canada, If Canada, NZ and Australia are the top due to speaking English, then Canada is the closest. As an Aussie the standard of living is highest in Canada IMO

ripsishere Thu 01-Nov-12 03:58:18

IIWY, wherever you decide to go, I'd find a school that offers the IB programme, our DD has been in the Brit system, IB, Brit, IB and is now, once again following the English curriculum.
Not sure how long we'll be here so I am a bit miffed with DH for accepting a job in a school that doesn't do the IB.
Anecdotal advice given to me by a Brazilian friend is avoid the country. According to her, children get kidnapped ridiculously frequently hmm

fraktion Thu 01-Nov-12 04:26:55

If you're thinking British/EU Uni for your DCs stay in the EU.

If you want good bilingual schooling that has an IB option go for Paris or Lille. The other French cities will have bilingual schools or a European stream but they would then be locked into the bac.

I would be very tempted by Stockholm, although it is expensive, or Lisbon which is a lovely city.

If your DC weren't near Uni age I would be going further afield but EU residence means EU fees...

galwaygirl Thu 01-Nov-12 06:38:19

If you're thinking long term and get language classes then Sweden is a great option. There are international schools that teach most subjects through English and are free. A big plus would be free Uni - and not just free but financial support to go!
In Sweden the state provide language classes for immigrants for free too. Kids get extra support in their home language - again for free.
Swedish is a Germanic language so the German should help them pick it up. Sweden is cold and dark in winter and gets lots of snow but they Get fantastic summers and lots of people have summer cottages by the sea or lake that they move out to over the summer.
It is close by for visiting friends and family in the UK. Mortgage interest rates are low so as long as you have a 15% deposit housing is affordable - especially compared to London!

Bonsoir Thu 01-Nov-12 06:54:28

You need to research the reasons why your company may or may not keep on operating in any of the destinations on offer. And choose somewhere with a vibrant economy - you will have a much better family life.

mummytime Thu 01-Nov-12 07:09:23

Okay as someone has mentioned University, I'll point something out. Having been out of the UK for 7 years your DC will be charged Overseas fees for university. So it might be a good idea to go to a country where theUniversities are good (fortunately idiots somewhere like the US, you should qualify for the same benefits as home students there).

Bonsoir Thu 01-Nov-12 07:13:11

mummytime - if the OP's family stays within the EU, her children will only ever be charged home fees.

Snorbs Thu 01-Nov-12 07:23:39

My brother and his family moved to Vancouver a few years back. It seems idyllic, particularly if you're outdoorsy people as there's just so much to do. My niece and nephew seem to be flourishing in the schools as well. The winters can be a but heavy but it's a city that's prepared for a bit of snow.

If it was me my first choice would be somewhere in Canada. There's always the French-soaking part if you want to feel you've definitely moved somewhere foreign smile

Certainly I'd choose Canada over the US at the moment. I think there are still going to be a lot of economic problems there. I've got friends who moved to NZ and that also seems fantastic but it's just too far for me.

MarjorieAntrobus Thu 01-Nov-12 07:31:36

Also, mummytime, even if you have been out of the UK for quite a while, if you can prove good connections to the UK eg house ownership, and a job to come back to, then even seven years is not too long.

My DS was out of the UK for two years and got home status once we provided all the information on passports and DH's contract etc. My friend's DD had been out of the UK for eight years and got home status because her parents could provide enough evidence of a connection to the UK (ie home ownership, plus temporary secondment, plus intention to return etc).

RTchoke Thu 01-Nov-12 07:37:21

Oregon is a lovely State, quite liberal for the US with stunning countryside. Not too expensive either. Boston is a great city too with easy access to skiing in winter and lakes/beach in summer. The US obviously has great universities bit you pay a lot for them.

I would be drawn to the US but if I wanted to stay in EU then Starsbourg or Montpelier or Lisbon.

EdgarAllansPo Thu 01-Nov-12 08:04:13

You asked about Dubai. Salaries are often much higher there than elsewhere, and tax free. So you could afford lots of flights home. I wouldn't want to settle there though, or take children (poor standards of education, as not much of a middle class work ethic there.)

If looking at Canada, stick to the English speaking cities if French is difficult for you. A friend has a daughter in British Columbia and says she phones home for weather reports, as she can't find anything out there. I'd imagine it could be isolating when it is snowing. Hard work clearing the snow, too.

ZZZenAgain Thu 01-Nov-12 08:17:33

I would choose Canada if you can choose where in the country and it is not somewhere too remote. The health care and education provision is, I am told, very good. I don't know anything about the Canadian university system and how expensive it is. That might be an option for your dc to stay on and study there. After 7 years, it will be home to them in a way a non-English speaking country where they are in an international school might not be. I would also find out about annual paid leave, I am not sure if it is the same as the US.

I agree with Bran who said Boston sounds attractive. I think the same but the US wouldn't be top of my list because of concerns about health care costs, the cost of higher education and the crime rate generally. Perhaps my concerns are unrealistic but this is what would factor in for me personally against a move to the US.

ZZZenAgain Thu 01-Nov-12 08:25:18

on your list of preferences you have two non-English speaking countries - Poland and Sweden. Just thinking about those two:

IMO Poland would be great for an outdoors life, the people are friendly and easy to make contact with, the school education system is supposed to be quite good but Sweden has a better standard of living which means that health care provision, in particular hospital treatement will probably be better. Swedes all learn English to a very high standard so your dc at 13 should be able to make local friends, even before they progress in Swedish. Of the two languages, Swedish is less removed from English, so Swedish will be easier to learn, also much easier to pronounce than Polish since there are not too many new sounds to acquire. University education in Sweden is probably good and if it is free that is a bonus. I should think a qualification from a Swedish university will be recognised everywhere should your dc end up studying there. It would also be possible to complete a first degree in Sweden and go on to do a masters in an English speaking country without any difficulty.

DevaDiva Thu 01-Nov-12 08:41:10

Wow this is an amazing opportunity. I'd go for NYC, Vancouver or almost anywhere in France.

Most importantly does your company have any vacancies in their marketing department? grin

Lifeonthecanal Thu 01-Nov-12 10:16:16

Goodness, what a choice!

I can only speak for a few. Romania I would avoid. Especially if you have children. Very little to do in Bucharest and even less so in Cluj. Difficult place to live (we found), frustrating, not always safe and quite depressing.

Dubai is good for most of the year and if your children like sports, there is lots on offer. Easy to meet people as nearly everyone here is an expat. Mixed opinions on schools, but plenty to choose from. Great place for exploring the region. Not too far from the UK (if that matters to you), can quite easily got for a week and not worry too much about cost and jet lag. When we were in Central America we always felt we had to go to Europe for at least 2 weeks to make it worthwhile.

Brazil is a looong way and you would need to get pretty good at Portuguese to really settle.

I think I would be tempted with a US offer though, if the package was right and all things were covered.

Good luck with your choice!

mummytime Thu 01-Nov-12 17:18:45

To whoever's friend got home status after being away 8 years, I would be surprised as having read some of the case law on this, it is quite hard to prove, and that would have been quite a land mark ruling. It has been shown being at boarding school here isn't enough, nor are holidays but very extended holidays back in the old home town might be.
Certainly just returning for one trip a year doesn't seem to be, from my reading. Sorry of course staying in the EU is different. There was a previous thread on this issue recently.
However University in some other countries can be very good and affordable, and in some countries and on some expat contracts University fee help is normal.

natation Thu 01-Nov-12 17:47:38

Sweden is particularly appealing, due to bilingual English / Swedish schools at cheap prices, the fact that you keep EU student status for UK universities, the health care system, the fact that if your children take up Swedish nationality, even if you move away from Sweden, you can return to university there which is currently free - have a friend whose children may indeed do this as they have dual Belgian/Swedish nationality and speak Swedish.

madwomanintheattic Thu 01-Nov-12 18:22:02

Lol Edgar, BC is more English than an English thing - am completely baffled why she has to phone home to understand the weather... confused

Weather is often a valid consideration for us Brits, though. If, for example you really really don't like snow, then I'd take Calgary and Edmonton out of the equation. grin if you're skiers, come on in. grin

EdgarAllansPo Thu 01-Nov-12 19:12:33

Lol, MadWoman, who knows, maybe they just run out of things to talk about!

sliceofcakenowplease Fri 02-Nov-12 08:43:24

Thanks everyone. So EU is a good idea? I was thinking that about the university, although I think we can afford to pay it at the moment for a lot of countries, it would be better if we didn't have to worry and save the money for their future or use it for holidays or anything like that.

When I vsited my brother in Sweden (only once), I managed to speak some mangled Swedish, but I found it was a lot easier to talk in English as a lot of people understand me, so it means, although learning the language, it might be easier to settle in. Do they teach English in the schools there? Or have English secondaries (or do they have a middle school system- I needto do some research!) which are English.

sliceofcakenowplease Fri 02-Nov-12 09:10:55

Sorry, I'm trying to catch up and read every post which I missed.

Sweden sounds lovely, and thanks for the information galwaygirl. It's great knowing that they can be supported in their home language. I like the sound of 'fantastic summers'. You wrote that a lot of people have holiday cottages. Does that mean that land is quite cheap/building works are cheap, or is it just that they are better off? How realistic is it that we could afford it? Thanks smile

Also thanks HerRoyalNotness. The spiders (or by 'arachnids'- scorpions?) shouldn't bother me too much, I love spiders, I used to have tarantulas as a pet, one was quite venomous, the other one was a very gentle little pet though, and I had an Emperor Scorpion (again, not deadly at all, but ouch the claws could hurt!). Not sure if DH could stand it though...

So you really can have a properly outdoor lifestyle in Canada? I'm guessing it's the same in Sweden? We'd just take over our tent (folded up, it's quite small), and then probably save long and hard for a canoe and some lifejackets/buoyancy aids. Sounds a bit expensive, but then if, as a lot of people have said, Canada's cheap, it might be worth it! I know my DCs (and DH, and me) would like a bit of outdoors, compared to our life in London, so being able to be active and outdoors would be a big factor.

Good idea laptopwieldingharpy. Hopefully they might be a bit saner than DH and I about moving! Also, they might feel a bit better about moving if they're involved in the decision about it.

Vancouver also sounds good Snorbs. Though we'd like snow, we don't want to live in a city where it grinds to a halt like here! Canada as a whole sounds like a great place to live, although I heard that Vancouver can be expensive, with London-like prices? If so, although we could afford it, it might not be what we'll go for because hopefully by moving to a cheaper country, we can spend on better holidays/better lifestlye/bigger house etc;

Err, okay ripishere. I'll take that advice about Brazil onboard. hmm

Thanks RTChoke. Oregon sounds lovely.

natation Fri 02-Nov-12 09:20:32

There are English/Swedish schools, free and fee paying I believe.
http://engelska.se/
http://yourlivingcity.com/education/stockholm-international-schools-age-5/

sliceofcakenowplease Fri 02-Nov-12 09:24:50

Thanks for the information about Dubai Lifeonthecanal.

Our shortlist (country- not place though, and in no order):
Sweden
Canada
France
Portugal
Edging towards NZ or Dubai though...

Place-wise, it would probably be:
Stockholm
Montreal
Toronto
Quebec/Ontario border
Calgary
Strasbourg
Montpellier
Lisbon
Not sure where in NZ,again, possibly Dubai. It's not exactly a shortlist is it?

sliceofcakenowplease Fri 02-Nov-12 09:26:06

Thanks natations. Links don't work though! I'll just put them in the URL thingy (is that the right word? I'm meant to be working with computers for God's sake!)

Hi, if you are still thinking of NZ, don't. (I see NZ there but not Oz). It's a very depressed place with very few job opportunities for young people. DH and I came from there. Most young people move to australia when they finish university. Unless your children will be the type that goes for 'local jobs'. Google on NZ brain drain problem. I think at last count there are 1 million kiwis overseas, and we have a population of about 4 million. When people ask me in the UK, I always say it's like Ireland to Britain (Australia being Britain in the relationship). If you are keen on down under, really consider Australia. I don't want you to go there blindly without understanding NZ's economic problems.

natation Fri 02-Nov-12 10:42:48

If you read up on the Swedish system, there are schools which go 7-16 (grades 1 to 9) or just 10-16 (grades 4-9), compulsory education called GRUNDSKOLA, then there are schools which go 16-19 called GYMNASISKOLA. I'm not sure how common it would be to find both schools as an all age schools 7-19 years, other than in the private international system - there is the lycee francais, the German school and and the International School of Stockholm.

So if you were to go for a Swedish / English school in the Stockholm area, you'll need to look at the location of the grundskola and gymnasiskola too, for the latter, I'd look for ones that do the IB diploma.

Grundskola
www.vittra.se/Default.aspx?alias=www.vittra.se/english
www.rodabergsskolan.stockholm.se/indexEn.htm
www.olympen.se/english.aspx
www.futuraskolan.se/stockholm-international/

Gymnasiskola
www.ibschoolsouth.se/
www.engelskagymnasiet.se/contact/
www.kungsholmensgymnasium.stockholm.se/meny/international_section/the_school/prospectus/en_prospectus.html
www.rudbeck.se/utbildningar/international-baccalaureate/

Both
www.vrg.se/templates/pages/SectionStartPage____54.aspx
engelska.se/en/who-we-are

Mayisout Fri 02-Nov-12 13:38:49

I hope you visit the places before deciding, Dubai and Sweden would be like chalk and cheese I think.The Middle East has a huge underclass of asian workers who do all the grafting, which gives a nice lifestyle for the middle class, and Sweden is v socialist I think. Weather opposites too. And I heard that schools in Dubai were over crowded and it's hard to get a place (though that might have changed with the recession).

Have lived overseas and DCs in a large expat community can become a bit over-priveleged, with private school, too much money and live in a sort of bubble which is not the real world. But, of course, that can depend alot on the attitude of the DCs and their parents.

Mayisout Fri 02-Nov-12 14:57:08

Another minor thing - if you live in a small expat community there is little chance for DCs to involve in team sports as there won't be a junior league with other schools for them to compete in - though that might have it's good points, no ferrying to practises or standing on the side lines.

sliceofcakenowplease Fri 02-Nov-12 15:22:11

Yes we will visit (company won't pay for us too though). I don't like the idea of Dubai as such, but Lifeonthecanal made it sound interesting, so it's a possibility, although I'll research more.

Following on from that, I've done some more research on all the places. The Ontario/Quebec border looks okay, especially near the hills, and we've been looking at an area which has a number of homes bordering a lake, which is a few miles from a campsite. It's got good roads, due to being near a campsite, and is quite close to some local shops and a kayak/canoe/etc; hire, due to the campsite, but hopefully isn't too loud due to being a mile and a half away. I'd quite like that sort of life, near a beachy lake area, in a forest, but with good roads leading up, an okay walk to the nearest shops etc; and near civilisation and the jobs, but not too busy. It costs £250,000. Which seems good, and if it was near where we are currently, I'd be thinking something was wrong, but I'm pretty keen on it. I'm rushing ahead already!

Thanks for the links natation! DH and I will definitely be looking at them. I have a small understanding of Canadian schools too- a junior/primary, then middle school, then secondary but I'm doing research on the canadian education website. French education, I think I understand- two schools(enseignement primaire and enseignement secondaire) and possibly higher education (enseignement supérieur, where you can get a Licence and Licence Professionnelle, a Master and a Doctorat).

I think they generally start at 6? Which is the same for Sweden (6 1/2 and 7 maybe)? I think the first three years (so when 10-11) is in collège (secondary school?) and the last three in a lycée (similar to a sixth form, but longer? Not sure). Is that it? So my DCs, if they start next year, would join the school in the last year of collège?

I've also been looking at Portugese education. I think you have three different groups (cycles?).You start from age 6, and for the first 4yrs (so until 9?) you are in the 1º Ciclo. Then, from the 5th-6th years (so when you are 10-11, you are in the 2º Ciclo. Then from 12-14 you are in the 3rd one, for the 7-9th year. Then you have secondary education from age 15-17? Apparently that isn't compulsory, so it's a bit like our sixth-form? And then higher education.

They all sound okay, but I'm a bit hesistant about Portugese schooling, although it would mean that, unlike in the French system, they'd join at the start of a cycle (ciclo?) rather than at the end. The Swedish system sounds the best, and apparently has very good results.

Mayisout. My personal attitude is that when I move, I don't particularly want to live in a large ex-pat community, because I want to have a great experience, and I want my DCs to live in another culture, not just the UK but in another country. However, I also want to be able to let my DCs concentrate on school and making new friends and settling in without their being too much of a language barrier.

So I'm kind of half and half actually- I want to be living in a proper France/Portugal/other country but I want to minimise the struggle with fitting in, which is why Sweden is definitely a top contender, what with many people knowing a small bit of English, and as English is taught in schools there, which is useful because when words are being taught in English, my DCs can learn the opposite way around- someone teaching the word 'blue' in English for Swedes will mean they can learn what 'blue' is in Swedish. I think that's the case for France too, not sure about Portugal?

Canada isn't a problem language wise as they speak English and French. As my DCs have been learning French pretty well (like I said, they go to an International school, with a few French friends, and it specialises in languages, so if they stayed on, most pupils would do their French GCSEs early, though I don't think they're especially in a rush) so they can hopefully adapt.

PoppyAmex Fri 02-Nov-12 15:23:35

OP if you're still considering Lisbon, I would say its advantages would primarily be:

- Location: very cheap, short, frequent flights to London
- Weather: pretty much sunny for 9/10 months of the year and dry heat. I lived in Sydney for 7 years and hated the constant humidity and overcast weather.
- Beach life: you're just 30 minutes away from a decent beach no matter where you decide to live
- Language: pretty much everyone in Lisbon speaks English
- Education: excellent education both at high school level (although longer hours for children and much more emphasis on holistic performance; they get evaluated every trimester on their homework, class participation and have two exams per discipline every 3 months) You also have British and American schools.
- Food: brilliant quality, fresh and wonderful restaurants everywhere
- Really cheap holidays both in Portugal and ex-colonies like Brasil, Africa and Asia
- Culture: really vibrant cultural scene
- Very, very, very family orientated
- Relatively safe place

Potential downside:
- Completely different work ethics (people tend to have a "civil-service" mentality, there's a lot of public holidays and if it falls on a Tuesday or Thursday the whole country takes Monday and Friday off too shock )
- A somewhat conservative outlook and old-fashion values
- People tend to be very good drivers but are fast, furious and intolerant (statistically the only place more dangerous than Lisbon is Saudi Arabia, I think)

Hope this helps!

sliceofcakenowplease Fri 02-Nov-12 15:24:39

Thanks Mayisout smile! I like the idea of not ferrying them around... Sadly, that means that DD would try to murder me if we moved to a large expat community, because she lives for her football (three times a week for practice! And a game each week too!) as well as her streetdancing (although, not a team sport) and her hockey (twice a week, a game 1-2 times a week). DS wouldn't mind though!

PoppyAmex Fri 02-Nov-12 15:27:08

OP - cross posts.

"I've also been looking at Portugese education. I think you have three different groups (cycles?).You start from age 6, and for the first 4yrs (so until 9?) you are in the 1º Ciclo. Then, from the 5th-6th years (so when you are 10-11, you are in the 2º Ciclo. Then from 12-14 you are in the 3rd one, for the 7-9th year. Then you have secondary education from age 15-17? Apparently that isn't compulsory, so it's a bit like our sixth-form? And then higher education."

Essentially you have 4 years of primary school
Then 2 years of prep school (to prep you for high school)
Then 3 years of high school which is compulsory until you're 16
Then 3 further years of high school when you can finally choose the areas of study to focus in
Finally University, which is 100% free

Bue Fri 02-Nov-12 15:27:39

slice, it doesn't sound like you're considering it at the moment but if you are leaning towards Canada I would urge you to consider Ottawa. Lovely city of just under a million. It does have harsh, cold winters but the flip side is glorious summers and a wonderful autumn as well. And it is a VERY outdoorsy place - you've got downhill skiing, hiking and serious mountain biking 20 minutes from the city centre, and lots and lots of green space in the city itself as well as the canal right downtown for ice skating in the winter. It's an educated, affluent city but you can have a very nice lifestyle / house there for much less than say, Toronto, Boston or especially Vancouver. And there's a daily direct flight to London.

I may be biased - I live in England but Ottawa is my hometown. It's certainly not London, but truly, it's a great city for families.

(Am now trying to imagine what kind of major international company has an office in Manotick of all places...)

sliceofcakenowplease Fri 02-Nov-12 15:33:12

Thanks PoppyAmex.
There definitely seems to be more positives with Lisbon (I love the sound of that work ethic, not sure my employers will though...).

Flights will be good for many reasons- homesickness, taking smaller things over cheaply (like photos, DVDs, general things, which it would be a waste to pay actual removal for)! And just general visits. I like the sound of beach life, DH loves surfing, although my DCs hate it (possibly because he decided to teach them how to surf in Wales...in winter...in the rain).

It's good about the English, because, as one of my above posts said, I'd like my DCs to settle in without having large barriers because of language- obviously they'd have to learn Portugese, we'd buy language CDs/DVDs and if they have family language lessons or maybe tutoring, we could use that- although maybe just immersing yourself in the language is the best way to learn?

Education also sounds good, and the food is a deciding factor definitely plus! It also sounds good that they have cheaper holidays in ex-colonies, because though moving is a great experience, I'd like to be able to go on really great holidays, which isn't possible at the moment. Being safe is very important, as I came from a place which had a lot of muggings, burglaries, armed robbery etc; and there were a lot of gangs and murders- my neighbour was murdered when I was 5yrs old, and being in a downrght dangerous place really affected me.

The driving thing is a worry obviously, although DH would fit right in! It definitely helps Poppy.

sliceofcakenowplease Fri 02-Nov-12 15:36:54

I have been considering Ottawa- although not too seriously to be fair Bue. It does sound great from what you've described, and looking it up, there's a fair few museums (War Museum? Art Gallery thing? Science one? Natural History? Might be more) and the canal sounds like a lovely place.

No, they don't have it actually IN Manotick (after looking it up, I agree- quite odd), but studying the details they gave us, they said the nearest place to it is Manotick- so maybe an office block which is a few miles from Manotick due to space/costs? I don't know, I'm guessing Canada has many customers/employees, so they might send people from Ottawa (although it's not that close) and neighbouring areas there to cover the excess needs?

natation Fri 02-Nov-12 15:37:56

Education levels differ in Canada, depending on the province.
In Québec - the only province I have knowledge of.
pre-primaire 4-5
primaire 6-11 6 years
secondaire 12-16 years 5 years
collegiale 17-18/19 years 2/3 years (called CEGEP)
univerisitaire 3 years baccalauréat

Sweden already explained, 7-15 is 9 years is grundskola
16-18 is 3 years gymnasiskola
I'm guessing Sweden is year of birth, so grade 1 is children on 1st September who are all 7 in that year, grade 2 is children who are 8 in that year and so on. If your children are 13 in 2013, they would start in September (might even be August) 2013 in grade grade 7, the 3rd last year of grundskola.

sliceofcakenowplease Fri 02-Nov-12 15:38:19

I didn't realise so much work was involved in moving! Before, we moved to a set area, so we only had to find the house, not worry about the education system/flights home/language/dangerous drivers!

Bue Fri 02-Nov-12 15:41:30

Also just curious where you're looking on the "Ontario/Quebec border". If you mean Gatineau (in the hills) north of Ottawa, then yes good, if you mean east towards Montreal then no! It's important to realise how your life will be impacted differently by living on each side of the border - Quebec does have more social services but you pay more in tax. Also I think your children would be allowed to attend school in English in Quebec because you would be on a work permit, but if that's important to you then you would need to check first. There are very strict rules on who is allowed to attend English schools.

sliceofcakenowplease Fri 02-Nov-12 15:58:59

Yes, Gatineau!

Aside from that, some words I've learnt in each language (I've been looking at some expat forums in all the countries I'm considering to see what people thought when they moved)-

Hej= hello/goodbye. Said 'hey'
Hejsan= hi?
Tack= thanks OR please. Apparently, not often used in Sweden.
Ja= yes. Said 'yaaaaah'
Nej= no. Said 'ney' (hey- that's quite easy to remember! I'm starting to like Swedish!)
Varsagod= you're welcome.

God dag= good day (so as hello/goodbye)
God morgon= good morning
God middag= good afternoon
God kvall= good evening! (the 'God' bit's very easy to rmember, it's just th second word...)
Hejda- goodbe. Hej hej is like saying bye, though hej is fine too.

Valkommen= welcome. I think till is to, so valkommen till is welcome to? I'll look it up.
God natt is goodnight, vi ses means 'see you!'.
Vi ses snart means see you soon, vi ses senare means see you later, and ha en bra (!) dag means 'have a good day'. Phew, I'm getting tired!

Forlat (it's got some accents on) means sorry, and I think inga problem means no problem (at least 'problem' meaning problem is easy to remember).

Jag pratar inte svenska means I don't speak Swedish. Jag prata valdigt lite svenska- I only speak very little English. Jag forstar means I understand but jag forstar inte means I'd don't understand- jag vet means I know jag vet inte means I don't know. The (arguably most useful one) is var ar toaletten? Which means (obviously) where is the toliet?

So:
God middag! Tack till! Forlat, jag prata valdigt lite svenska. Var ar toaletten? Hejda! Ha en bra! (try and decipher THAT!)

natation Fri 02-Nov-12 17:47:42

In Québec they say "bonjour" to say goodbye!

When I lived in Quebec, my friend's husband came to the point where the family had to choose long term residence at the end of work permit or leave the country, they choose to stay. At the time, they had 6 year olds who had done a year in an English elementary, a 12 year old who had just finished English elementary and a 17 year old who'd finished English secondary and about to start CEGEP. The 6 and 12 year olds had to go in to French schools, as they no longer qualified for English schooling (work permit yes, long term residence no). The 17 year old was post compulsory education age and so he was able to continue in an English CEGEP.

If I were moving to Quebec province, I'd either find a French secondaire which has a high number of anglophones and international children in it or if you qualify, an English secondary - if possible one which does French immersion, if it exists at secondary level. I'd imagine your children would be in 3rd year of secondary??? French fluency is a huge advantage in the rest of Canada, it would be a pity to move to Quebec and put your children in an English school if it doesn't have a huge emphasis on fluency in French too.

Local schools are run by school boards, rather than by municipality. You can google "commission scolaire gatineau" and you can see the various schools and school boards - looks like one commission scolaire in the west and another in the east for French. For English schools, there appears just the Western Quebec school board.

The advantage of Sweden is the state system of schools with English and Swedish in the classroom.

MrsCantSayAnything Fri 02-Nov-12 17:52:03

If you like culture and life...don't choose Adelaide.

I would choose the USA or Helsinki.

Caerlaverock Fri 02-Nov-12 17:56:02

I LOVE Toulouse go and live there

Cahoots Fri 02-Nov-12 21:07:24

I got quite fed up with the education in Quebec. You should research it carefully if you are going to consider it. We loved living in Montreal but it is best to live there as an expat and with an expats outlook otherwise the politics and French language laws are a bit irritating. to say nothing of the Quebec drivers
English private schools are not cheap and your DC would not be eligible to attend any that recieve any government funding. (which is nealy all of them). Kuper Academy is totally private so you would be able to send your DC there.
Quebec is fantastic for skiing, the hills are small but they are very accessible and you can ski cheaply. Cross country skiing is also fantastic.
Rural Quebec is very, very quiet. confused. Gatineau is a lovely area in general. (great skiing) and it would be great to be so close to Ottawa.The Metropolitan area of Hull/Gatineau is right across the river from Ottawa in Quebec and has a very different feel to it. I found it a bit run down and soulless. It doesn't have the style of Montreal or Quebec city. It does have some good restaurants.
I love Vancouver although it's an extra 5 hours in the plane from the UK.

Bue Fri 02-Nov-12 21:23:51

I agree with Cahoots. I love Quebec, Montreal is a wonderful city and both my parents grew up there, but I would never live in Quebec now because of the politics. And although rural Gatineau is beautiful (Chelsea and Wakefield are lovely little towns), the city proper is not. If you did end up in that area, it might be preferable to live on the Ottawa side of the border.

This is such an exciting decision you have ahead of you!

saffronwblue Fri 02-Nov-12 23:15:52

What an amazing list! I would be drawn towards Oregon or France. If you like live somewehere small, unpolluted and pretty with great outdoor activities and inexpensive housing, have another look at Hobart.

sliceofcakenowplease Sat 03-Nov-12 14:16:38

I think we've finalised the list-

-Stockholm
- Gatineau
-Manotick (still not sure why they have an office there though)
-Alaska

And, the surprise one... Reyjavik. Why? Yesterday three friends came over, one of them bringing their family, who we'd lost touch with but I last saw twelve years ago. Two years later, they'd moved aboad. Where? Reyjavik. They were on holiday back here. They said it was a friendly place, quite a few people knew English and the schools (children, now adults, moved at the same age as my DCs are) were very supportive. Talked a bit about moving, education, costs etc; And seemed very good.

Alaska is on there from a mention ages back. Again, not sure about it, we'll be doing research. We decided that although the beaches of Portugal sound good, it's not the lifestlye for us, and we're looking for something which places like Sweden, Canada and the USA can offer for us- as well as Iceland. We'll be discussing with our kids and doing more research, checking house prices etc; and then deciding finally.

sliceofcakenowplease Sat 03-Nov-12 14:17:44

By the way, thanks EVERYONE for helping. Apart from Reyjavik really, most of our decisions were because of you!

CanIHaveAPetGiraffePlease Sat 03-Nov-12 14:32:11

How exciting!

Mayisout Sat 03-Nov-12 14:57:42

Great choices except Alaska unless you admire Sara Palin

sliceofcakenowplease Sat 03-Nov-12 15:02:34

grin Mayisout

mummytime Sat 03-Nov-12 15:12:23

Reykjavik is a very small town (as is most of Iceland), just to warn you.

sliceofcakenowplease Sat 03-Nov-12 15:23:03

Thanks Mummytime. From London, it will definitely seem tiny, and though I would like a big city kind of thing, I think I would also love a small town/villagey thing, and I think DH hates large cities, in fact I think he hates London and large cities, but puts up with it for me, which is why such a small place would suit him- and benefit the DCs.

Cahoots Sat 03-Nov-12 16:03:32

Time for a stroll on google street view....

We liked Ashbury College in Ottawa, so a possible school if you lived in either Gateneau or Manotick. It's about $20k a year, not cheap but good and they offer the IB which may be a good option for your Dc's as its an international qualification.
You could commute to either Gateneau of Manotick from Ottawa (you would be travelling out the city so the traffic may be OK). Ottawa is a city but with a laid back feel. It's nothing like London but at least you have some city amenities. I bet Manotick would be very very quiet....

natation Sat 03-Nov-12 16:42:38

I have several Canadian friends, brought up in Quebec and BC, none of whom ever attended private schools. Remember it matters how YOUR children do in school, not what the overall school system produces. Maybe I'm just too stingy, I'd never consider spending £25,000 per year on private schooling, but our net income is about that too so that's another reason why I'd not pay that much.

There are IB schools in Sweden which are free.

I'd do the Maths before moving anywhere.

jkklpu Sat 03-Nov-12 16:50:07

Don't rule out Lisbon, if you're on an expat deal including school fees. Great lifestyle if you live a bit West along the coast nearish to British/international school where they do IB and get lots of Russell Group entrants. It's an international place, great outdoor life and lots of flights to UK/elsewhere (it's an Easyjet hub, for example).

PM me if you want to know more.

jkklpu Sat 03-Nov-12 16:54:01

PS poppyamex - what on earth makes you say the Portuguese are good drivers???

Cahoots Sat 03-Nov-12 16:55:41

There are public schools in Ottawa offering the IB. Check here

I don't think there are any in Quebec that offer the middle years program and the Diploma IN ENGLISH. (but I haven't checked confused )

natation Sat 03-Nov-12 16:59:19

Take a look on the IB website. There are 3 schools in Ottawa listed as doing IB diploma, one is a state school.
www.ibo.org/school/search/

galwaygirl Sat 03-Nov-12 17:19:36

Hi again
You mention your DD loves football - Sweden has specialist sport high schools from 16 where they do extra sport training and the basic subjects needed for Uni entry. My SIL went to a basketball one and on to uni after and DH's niece looks likely to go to a football one as she is playin for her county. Women's football is much bigger there I think.
On the school thing, I would send them to Swedish school as they will get huge support for language and ultimately if they go to Uni there the course they want to do might be in Swedish. Also, you need to have a certain level of Swedish to enter Uni and I've heard some of the English schools in Stockholm have had problems with this.
You should check out www.mumsinsweden.com as you will get loads of advice there.
For an idea of properties check out www.hemnet.se - houses are villas and summer houses are fritidshus
It's definitely affordable for a lot of people to have them.

You seem to have totally ruled out Uppsala? It has a great university an with that comes a lot of international staff meaning its a diverse enough place. You'd get more for your money house wise but are close enough to Stockholm for days out shopping and closer to the north for skiing if you're into that as well as the countryside.
I think you mentioned camping further up? Sweden has a law where you are allowed pitch a tent anywhere for one night even private land. You are also free to pick mushrooms and berries etc in the forest.

That's all I had to add for now! X

galwaygirl Sat 03-Nov-12 17:21:55

Forgot to add that children in Sweden learn English from 7 and they get all the US tv series and don't dub them so your DCs classmates even in a Swedish school should have good English - and the tv thing is great when you're a bit homesick yourself!
The main issue people have with settling in Sweden is finding jobs without the language - you wouldn't have this worry &#128515;

galwaygirl Sat 03-Nov-12 17:35:27

Just going back to the learning English in school thing - I think they'd be learning words like blue when they're 7 - can try and find out what level stuff they're doing at 12/13 as DH's niece is 14.

Arlanda airport is handy for both Uppsala and Stockholm and Norwegian and SAS fly to the UK at reasonable prices.

sliceofcakenowplease Sat 03-Nov-12 18:42:55

I agree natation, I wouldn't consider spending the money. If the education there's terrible, we won't be moving there. However, if we do move, then the support they give would be the equivalent to say £4,000, and in local schools that's 1/3rd of the costs, not including scholarships/bursaries, and even then, we aren't spending that. Like I said, it's an option if we find an amazing, amazing place but the schools are honestly terrible, and we know that it's the only place which would suit us (unlikely- we've found too many places to suit us!), then it's a possibility.

Thanks for all the information galwaygirl. I know they don't learn words like 'blue' but they probably will learn phrases etc; which can be more useful. Also, I know that the French children at our local school, when learning French, would go out of that lesson to do advanced French etc; and I know that in most okay schools, a child who comes over from another country with limited standards of English will get taken out of lessons to be helped. I'm guessing both/equivalent of both options might be available, or at least another form of support in or out of school?

So a Swedish school is a good idea then galwaygirl? I want them to be able to have a wide range of universities to choose from- as in, if they want to, they can stay in the country they would have been in for the last six/seven years or whatever, and I also want my DCs to learn the language, and a Swedish school seems the right way. Thanks. Also thanks for the info about the specialist sport highs, it's definitely a consideration, as she's very serious about it and is in the girls' football team for our area, so I think it's worth it. The school she's at currently believe so at least, and have approached us about scouting etc;

I haven't, as such, ruled out Uppsala- it's just I don't know much about it as such, even with some research, but I'll do some more. It certainly sounds ideal.

sliceofcakenowplease Sat 03-Nov-12 18:45:12

I've looked up Arlanda from Stansted and I think Ryanair does it too, and Easyjet (cheap and uncomfortable cheerful for me!) as well as SAS. All of them seem quite reasonable, so it's definitely easier!

Thanks again (or should I say tack?)

Bue Sat 03-Nov-12 19:05:29

I love Reykjavik (sp?)! The dark, dark winters would make it a no-go for me but if you're not prone to SAD then it has a lot going for it I'm sure.

Manotick is actually part of Ottawa. It used to be a separate village but now it's a villagey outer suburb of the city. It's adorable, certainly quiet but only a 25 min drive downtown. (Public transportation from out there is absolutely terrible though - you'd have to drive everywhere.)

sliceofcakenowplease Sat 03-Nov-12 20:02:48

Oooh! More than a 100 posts!

It's part of Ottawa? They just stated 'Manotick' and when I looked it up, it didn't mention it, although being so close, it makes sense! I like the sound of villagey outer suburb!

PoppyAmex Sat 03-Nov-12 20:09:49

"poppyamex - what on earth makes you say the Portuguese are good drivers?"

They (we) are technically very good drivers albeit, like I pointed out, incredibly agressive and intolerant.

natation Sat 03-Nov-12 20:32:58

Ryanair fly from Stansted to Skavska airport, 100km from Stockholm, I think the flight price would have to be pretty cheap to justify the expense of getting there compared to Arlanda.

sliceofcakenowplease Sat 03-Nov-12 21:44:03

Really? Oh. I swear it was to Arlanda. <rechecking, and rechecking again> Oh, now I know. Yes, in theory. Might not mean Arlanda. Ah! Vasteras, using a coach to get to the station! Totalled it up to be roughly £30 cheaper (although longer)!

natation Sat 03-Nov-12 22:04:00

yeh I bet Vasteras is 100km away too!
We flew Ryanair once to Barcelona only because it was the main airport with the trian link into the city, quite a rarity for them to use the major airport of a city.

sliceofcakenowplease Sun 04-Nov-12 09:21:01

Oh well. Skavska it is! Probably the first time the DCs haven't been on Ryanair. Thanks for the information natation smile

natation Sun 04-Nov-12 09:31:21

I love this website for looking for flights. You can look at a whole month at a time, it offers you cheaper alternatives from/to nearby airports, you can search to/from "everywhere", you can search from/to countries. It brings up Ryanair, Expedia doesn't include Ryanair for example!

www.skyscanner.net/

ninedragons Sun 04-Nov-12 10:11:33

I would move to Wollongong in a shot if my industry would support it.

It's a brilliant place, about 30% cheaper than Sydney but within easy distance (2 hour drive along a magnificent ocean road), brilliantly clean and uncrowded surf beaches, a large and respected university and all the stuff that feeds off a university town (tech start-ups, more immigrants and a less parochial attitude than prevails in many rural parts of Australia, cafes/bars/restaurants). Great bushwalking and outdoors activities.

Brisbane is a dump. It's utterly without charm or culture. Tower blocks with a muddy river snaking through, and politics straight from the 1950s.

Shame they haven't offered you Canberra. We were there recently and I thought if you didn't have family ties to any other city in Australia, it would be a superb place to raise kids. The schools are outstanding, there are two or three universities there, the jobs are well paid but housing is cheap (by Australian standards, anyway). It's not big, but it is clean and pleasant. Long way from the coast, though, if that is your thing.

NotQuintAtAllOhNo Sun 04-Nov-12 10:17:34

I would chose Stockholm.

Fantastic for exploring Scandinavia and Europe. Fantastic for the kids to pick up skiing.

Near the UK for visits home. The language is not that difficult to learn, and most Swedes speak good English anyway.

Education is supposed to be good, and as far as I know, no extortionate tuition fees at uni.....

sliceofcakenowplease Sun 04-Nov-12 16:18:02

Thanks for the website. Very useful!

Thanks for the Australian information ninedragons. We're pretty much decided on it being Iceland/Sweden/Canada, however, it's early days for moving, so we're taking as much information on board as possible.

Thanks NotQuint. I'd love the DCs to learn skiing and winter sports, as it's too expensive here. Apparently schools have ice skating lessons? Or something like that? Whether it is or isn't, it would be great fo them to have that oppurtunity. Not for me though- I'd probably end up looking like an idiot as usual.

madwomanintheattic Sun 04-Nov-12 18:14:30

Heh heh. Dd1 had Nordic skiing lessons at school for pe last year (Canada) and dd2 had downhill skiing for pe. grin I signed up for a series of beginner nordic lessons and lasted one. My ego couldn't take any more. They put me in a skate class instead of classic, and in the first lesson they were all off uphill. I spent most of it falling over in every single way possible. It was awful. We do have the Olympic centre here though, so I guess their idea of a 'beginner' is very different to mine!! Ds played (ice) hockey for two years, having been unable to skate at all when we arrived. He's a proper whizz on skates these days, despite being nicknamed 'zamboni' for the entirety of his first season wink...

sliceofcakenowplease Tue 06-Nov-12 17:40:07

That makes me want to move to Canada madwomanintheattic. Although I think I'd stick to watching. I once went to hospital due to a game of tiddlywinks. Yes, tiddlywinks. I flicked a counter and it hit my ear, breaking the fourth smallest bone in the body with it blush Dread to think what'd happen if I tried skiing!

Needabitofsunshine Mon 12-Nov-12 21:34:36

I haven´t read all replies...

You´ve got such an overwhelming amount of choice!

You have to look at your lifestyle, hobbies, dealbreakers in life - then work these into your possible locations. Your new home should enhance your life, rather than limit it, especially if you´re in it for the long haul and not just a jaunt for a few years. What does your family like to do at the weekend - want skiing on your doorstep, love the sun? Narrow it down by things like that. Too much choice can be utterly paralyzing!

Tbh any of the countries you´ve mentioned would be fine education-wise, especially if you have the option to have subsidised international schooling.

Don´t forget finances too - ideally you´d surely want a better standard of living and the ability to save? Professionally, it needs to be the right move too...

Good luck!

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