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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)


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:

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.

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.

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):
Edging towards NZ or Dubai though...

Place-wise, it would probably be:
Quebec/Ontario border
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.




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 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?

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