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Where in the world have you moved to AND achieved a better standard of living?

(86 Posts)
suebfg Mon 24-Dec-12 22:17:16

DH and I would love to move abroad for a while, have an adventure and a nicer way of life. Where have you achieved this?

Thanks and Merry Christmas to you all.

FunnysFuckingFreezing Wed 26-Dec-12 15:42:08

we're in Jersey. Much better standard of living than the UK, lower taxes, higher wages. But it is quite difficult to get in and there are restrictions on who can work here and who can buy houses. The weather is usually better although this year has been very wet and windy. France is nice and close for holidays, only 50 mins on the ferry

heather1 Wed 26-Dec-12 16:00:00

We are in Switzerland - DH was offered a job here. Its a mixed bag.
Good quality of living in that: Company pay for DHs travel, trains run on time, beautiful hikes, kids walk to school, in summer we swim in the lake, its close to visit family and friends in the UK, DS play outside likes its the 1970s, Germany is close for cheaper shopping.
But not so good in that: its really expensive to buy food, eat out, the Swiss are not so friendly as a rule, son has been bullied in school, it looks the same superfically but culturally its very different, very sexist and racist. My 5.5 yo is in kindergarten and will not learn to read in German until August 2013.
My experience is that for the person at work they often love it. Its the partner and children who actually live in the country day to day and deal with issues as they come up.
Think about the personalities of your children. 5yo DS has been fine. Loves it and is happy. Has no experience of school in the UK. Senstitive 8yo ds not so happy. 18mths on still misses the UK and his friends. Now being moved to an international school in the hope he will be happier than at Swiss school which can be very tough and hard. (he has been badly bullied). In retrospect we wouldnt of moved here if we had even suspected how he would have reacted to the move and the experiences he would have.
Oh and if anyone says they will be fluent in the language of the country in 6 months that is utter rubbish. It will be at least 1 year and then they will still be in some respects behind their peers (unless they go to a school where the language is English and then they will be in a little expat bubble and will be unable to play with the local neighbourhood children).
My experience anyway. However I do still love it when we have had a great days skiing!!

captainmummy Wed 26-Dec-12 16:41:32

AM very jealous of those in other places - I'd go anywhere i think! I am so up-to-here with England and the 'health and safety', can't do anything, don't do this, brigade. Common sense is out the window.

I went to South Africa a few times lately, and love Cape Town. My dp is South African and would love to go back - the only thing stopping us is the crime, and the poverty. There is a huge divide between poor and not-so-poor, and while we would be not-so-poor, it's really hard to see. And it's expensive too, unbeleivably.

Sorry to hear of the bullying Heather. Sounds awful. My ds is in a bilingual private school, so has been reading and writing since he left UK primary at 5 years. He is learning High German too, not Swiss which is better for the future I think.

jinglebellyalltheway Wed 26-Dec-12 16:56:09


DelGirl Wed 26-Dec-12 17:01:03

Moved to Italy 2 years ago and there are pluses and minuses to Italy and the UK. Overall I prefer Italy for the moment but have a vague plan to move back when dd is 11 for secondary. She is in a great local school at the mo with only 11 children in the class and is completely bi-lingual. However I think I would prefer her to have her secondary education in the UK partly as I am more familiar with it and I think the way the education splits at age 14 is not for us. I do plan to spend more time in Italy in the future and very fortunately have homes in both.

TheUKGrinchImGluhweinkeller Wed 26-Dec-12 18:37:00

We moved from Surrey to Bavaria in Southern Germany in 2007. We had a young toddler when we moved, and have since had 2 more DC.

We have a better standard of living here - but as others have said it depends what you want. For me it was an active advantage that it is normal, natural and easy to be a SAHM here, whereas in Surrey we needed 2 incomes to pay the mortgage. We have a bigger house here for less money, and the children have a thousand times more freedom, as somebody else said it is like going back in time several decades - it is absolutely the norm for children from age 5 or so to play out, walk to school etc. here and by contrast I find children of my acquaintance in the UK a weird combination of precocious yet immature, often unable to sort out there own disputes with peers and lacking self care and independence skills that are normal and natural in comparable children here. My children have (touch wood) not had any negative experiences of school and Kindergarten here - but then the eldest was only 19 months when we moved and the other 2 were born here, so by the time they started Kindergarten and school they were indistinguishable from any other children. My kids are local kids with an English mum, which is different I guess than being "foreign" kids.

There are loads of potential negatives here - I like that kids don't generally leave their mum til they are 3, and then only for morning Kindergarten, and I am happy with half day school - the children start 2 years later here but within a year they are at the same stage as UK peers, so I can't actually see any advantage to full day school from age 4, aside from the childcare element! However if both parents want work before your children are old enough to be left alone sometimes, and don't want to or can't hire a nanny or an au-pair then this would be the opposite of a better standard of living, clearly!

The kids becoming bi-lingual is in itself an absolutely huge positive reason for moving, IMO but requires a long term stay in one country - as others have said, children do not pick up a language from scratch in 6 months - some in fact struggle for years, especially if they are in an English bubble at home and don't play a significant amount with local friends outside of Kindergarten and school. Apparently if you remove children from significant exposure to a language they have acquired before the age of 10 they are also likely to almost totally lose the language.

For us so far the kids have benefited, though who knows if this will remain the case as school can be very unforgiving and inflexible as I understand it... You certainly don't get much in the way of differentiation and it is very one size fits all, until academic selection occurs going into year 5.

I am sometimes happy here and sometimes totally miserable. We live in the country and I sometimes feel very isolated, partly but not entirely because my German is functional but not great - I can chat within my comfort zone but find it hard to build genuine friendships, partly because I often can't just say what I want to off the top of my head but it is also cultural as well as linguistic.

I am a little sceptical about travelling "for an adventure" unless either the kids are very young - under 5 I'd say, or the adventure is short - a maximum of a year as a one off, and the children can understand that. Otherwise I struggle to understand why people think a transient lifestyle with only nuclear family as constants, and the awareness that any friendship or "home" will soon be a thing of the past, is in the best interests of children.

FannyFifer Wed 26-Dec-12 19:23:42

We moved from Republic of Ireland to Scotland was at the height of the "Celtic Tiger" & the cost of living was horrific.
We were paying over 1000 euro to rent a tiny damp 1 bedroom house, couldn't always afford to go to Dr (60 euro) or pick up prescriptions.

Moved to Scotland got on property ladder within 9 months, both got jobs, NHS, thank feck. Schools and higher education are free. Our standard of living, although we earn a lot less is so so much higher. grin

SentimentalKat Wed 26-Dec-12 19:42:06

Define quality of life!
We have moved around quite a bit, and as clichéd as it sounds, home is where the heart is! Which means that for us, at the moment, England offers the best quality of life. Not that everything here is perfect far from it, but it works for us as a family.

The one thing that I have learnt from moving around is that it is very liberating to allow yourself to be different! You absolutely do it have to do what "everybody" does.

SentimentalKat Wed 26-Dec-12 19:42:42

You do not have to do what everybody does....

Salbertina Wed 26-Dec-12 19:47:12

Were likely moving back to Uk to achieve this, mainly for aforementioned reasons plus security and ability to work for me

Salbertina Wed 26-Dec-12 19:53:36

Better standard here- weather, beautiful outdoors, fresh seafood, emerging market happening vibe sometimes umm thats it sad though is overwhelmingly beautiful doesn't pay the bills or keep you safe at night

Better Uk- nhs, free schools, lower cost of living, job market, security, kids can walk around, range and ease of travel, public transport, only need 1 car

nooka Wed 26-Dec-12 20:07:01

We have been incredibly fortunate in our move to Canada, and for us as a family it's been (mostly) great. We live in BC which is undoubtedly beautiful, relaxed and friendly. Our town is a bit rustic and has very little 'culture' but has all the basics required and is incredibly easy to leave - 30 minutes takes us into wonderful empty wilderness. On the downside it takes a long time and is very expensive to get back to the UK (or Europe for that matter).

Because there isn't a huge amount to do that costs (not great restaurants, only one cinema, no concerts etc) we managed to be frugal enough to have dh be a SAHD for four years which he loved and gave the children much of the stability they lost in the move (in my experience moving is very tough on children and not enough considered by many families because there is so much emphasis on how 'great' the experience will be for them). Now he is working again we are going to be quite well off, at least at the same level as before our move.

One thing to bear in mind is that moving can be quite bad for your career. Lots of the best places do not have the best jobs, and UK experience isn't always thought to be as of much value to the local employers. Returning can bring the same issues too. I've probably lost about 5 years of career progression, and I don't think that is particularly unusual.

NanoNinja Wed 26-Dec-12 20:27:09

We're in Switzerland too. In some ways have a much higher standard of living - public services generally work, feel less likely to be a victim of crime, lower tax and higher salaries, lots of outdoor activities. But it is eye wateringly expensive ( particularly rent where we are, eating out, food shopping, clothes ). I can live with all that, but the hard thing for me is being away from family and friends. And not being able to get a good Indian takeaway...

For a great Indian go to Lorrach in Germany, on the border to Ganges restaurant! grin

RichManPoorManBeggarmanThief Thu 27-Dec-12 04:59:19

OP I'd reiterate that you have to decide what better standard of living means to you. For some people, it's largely financial. For others, it's about access to hiking, skiing, beaches etc, even though they might be worse off in terms of cash in their pocket. For others it's about culture/social norms. For others, safety for their children and good schools. Then there are those who value lots of museums/galleries etc. Now, unfortunately, these things tend not to co-exist so you have to decide what's important to you. Without turning this into a thread about a thread, you already said on your Dubai thread that time with immediate family and your son's education are important to you. At the same time, you said you're not a big socialiser, so maybe moving somewhere with a big expat/ English speaking population isn't so critical to you as it might be to someone who's a "company junkie".

You also have to think about what challenges you would class as "adventure" and what would simply be tiresome/ make you want to lose your will to live. Personally, I find learning languages very difficult. I know I would be miserable in a country where I wasn't fluent in the language and was dependent on communicating predominantly in that language so I have limited myself to "expat-lite"- i.e. countries and major economic hubs where there is a significant english speaking population. On the one hand, that's a bit lame of me, but I don't see the point in making myself miserable just to look intrepid. On the other hand, other things that bother some people, like scary driving and inclement weather don't bother me that much.

I quite fancy west coast of the US or Zurich

LarkinSky Thu 27-Dec-12 08:33:52

Switzerland also (French speaking part). Although we don't have it all and miss extended family particularly for our young DC - our nuclear family can feel quite intense without grandparents, aunties and uncles popping by helping with childcare regularly to 'dilute' the pressure of being the only two significant adults in our children's life. Of course family visit frequently (thanks Easyjet) and we've built a good circle of friends here, but that's how I feel essentially.

Otherwise our standard of living and career prospects are fantastic, far higher than would be even in London. We're pretty happy.

LarkinSky Thu 27-Dec-12 08:35:46

Hear hear RichMan, good post.

MrsMushroom Thu 27-Dec-12 10:54:43

HopefulGlum We are a family of 4 normally resident in the UK and we spend about 70 to 80 pounds a week on grocery shopping. here in Oz it's SO expensive e're in shock with it.

One reason we think, is that there's not the economy brand things....we rely on buying certain goods VERY cheaply. So I buy rice, flour, pasta, binbags,noodles etc for pennies in the UK and we can't do that here...the same with cleaning things...they're pence in the UK as long as you get economy stuff.

We never buy economy meat or fruit or veg though and we eat well on that amount of money. We don't really buy much snack food or anything like fizzy drinks.

ssmile Thu 27-Dec-12 13:46:53

Interesting thread. My sister is married to an Ozzie and they moved to QLD 6yrs ago. We nearly followed but did serious pros and cons list of all the things we value. Commute time, job, house, location to coast, outdoor activities, schooling etc. We decided to stay here in Devon as were better off financially, climate &family etc I just couldn't take my kids away from their grandparents. Ironically my sister is now looking to move back to Devon, her husband loves living here in UK. He is from Sydney and until they potentially inherit there is no way they can afford to live in decent house in Sydney plus the cost of living there has rocketed they don't eat meat everyday as its just too expensive on one income. Luckly they kept their house here rented out but also they all have dual nationality so I suspect they be living dual lives for few years.

butterfliesinmytummy Fri 28-Dec-12 08:00:29

Totally agree with richman, it depends what you value.

We used to live in rural Scotland which is absolutely stunning, moved to urban sprawl in Asia and really value the access to a vibrant mixed culture. Equally, life here is massively more expensive but we have a good expat package so we live a more epensive lifestyle thanks to that. Without the expat package, we couldn't afford to live here as we do.

NanoNinja Fri 28-Dec-12 11:31:46

Thanks for takeaway tip, binful. We're in geneva, so a little way away. I am getting good at making my own curries!

Oh boo, well perhaps make a special shopping trip to Germany one weekend!

In some waysi am sooo much healthier due to the expense and scarcity of takeaway meals!?grin

Perhaps the difference for me, is that I don't really have an extended family, so all ds has is us. With no grandparents to factor in it was probably an easier move to make.

FifromN12 Wed 02-Jan-13 09:53:06

Its great to see everyone around the world! Currently in London and moving to Cape Town this year with SA hubby and French/SA little boy

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