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Help us decided, and also how did people react to you when you moved?

(29 Posts)
tigertigertigga Sun 13-Jan-13 18:29:26

I just need a bit of information about settling in and how other people originally saw you when you first moved.

DH and I are currently planning to move, after his workplace shut down (we're in Glasgow, but previously moved from County Kerry in Ireland) but with openings for the same job in other countries, and he's talked with the company and he can transfer. Discussing with my work (aeronautical design, I'm an aeronautical engineer) transfers are available (thankfully we both work in international companies, so transfers are possibilities), and realistically, although I earn the higher wage, we need his wage too.

So we're moving. Currently, we live with DS (17, but going to a university- in England btw- next year), DD2 (11, but 12 soon) and DD3 (8, but 9 in a week). DD1 is currently at university in the Netherlands (she plans to live there).

Due to the different jobs, there's only about fifteen countries which we can feasibly move to, and within them, only a few places, however that's still a large choice. Most of them are English speaking, but some aren't, and some of them are in Europe.

Out of the fifteen, we've chosen eight which we think we can move to. The other seven are- China (Beijing, Shanghai), Egypt (Cairo only), Brazil (Rio only, although I could also go to the capital, DH can't with his work), Dubai, France (Paris, although DH could go to Lille or Toulouse as well, Paris is the only one we could both transfer to), Finland (Helsinki, although I could also transfer to Rovaniemi, Dh can't) and Spain (Madrid, Barcelona- only places we could both transfer to).

The countries we are considering-
Australia (Perth, Sydney, Brisbane, Melbourne, although DH could transfer to Adelaide, I can't)

NZ (Auckland, Christchurch, only ones)

Canada (Vancouver,
Although DH can go to Calgary, we were thinking about areas around it, anything up to an hour and a half drive even from them, so doing some googling, Manotick, I think Surrey for Vancouver, but heard it can be really bad in rush hour, or did my research go wrong?)

California (Burbank, Ontario, LA, only palces we can both transfer to),
Alaska (I specialise in temperate flights, so a lot of transferable places will be either very warm or cold, or have odd weather, in Alaska there's Fairbanks, Anchorage and Juneau I think),
New York (NYC, Rochester),
Hawaii (Honolulu, Lanai, Kahului),
Nebraska (Omaha),
Ohio (Cleveland),
Wisconsin (Milwaukee),
Maine (Portland),
Colorado (Denver),
Florida (Jacksonville, Miami, Tampa, Fort Myers). A lot of options!

Sweden (Gothenburg, Stockholm, Malmo)

Germany (Frankfurt, Munich, Hamburg, Mainz)


Denmark (Copenhagen only)

We had the alternative of moving to London (I was born in London, I love it a lot, but we think that moving abroad might give us better options etc;) Bristol or Cardiff, in England, and Belfast in Northern Ireland (Glasgow is the only Scottish division where we can both work, although in eighteen months there will be the option of Edinburgh, and in twenty six months, apparently there will be Aberdeen- we don't know why they're closing down the Glasgow section). Ideally we could wait, but we need both wages to support us really.

If we move, it will be in roughly seven to eight months.Help! Currently, we're thinking about

Australia (Perth, Brisbane)
New Zealand (not sure about cities)
Canada (Ottawa, Toronto, Vancouver?)
USA (NYC, Alaska, Seattle, Wisconsin, Hawaii! Although Hawaii and Alaska are probably fantasies....)
Sweden (Stockholm)
Germany (Munich)
Denmark (Copenhagen)

So not Singapore (although welcome to be convinced!) and cutting down on places.

We also want to know how you settled down and how your neighbours reacted to you. When we moved from Ireland to Glasgow, it was easy settling down, I mean, same language, in an area where a good few people will have moved.

But what about other areas, especially non-English speaking countries?

Are people welcoming, stand offish, used to foreigners in a multicultural area, not multicultural, good with foreigners, helpful, and are language barriers a real problem? I know these are big generalisations, but I'm sure there must be some differences between countries. Is moving to Australia, Canada, NZ and the USA a big culture shock, as much as the others will be?

I know some German (adopted by German born parents, but it didn't rub off so much that I'm fluent), and DD1 has been helping with Dutch things. DH is Norwegian/Irish, is Norwegian slightly close to Swedish or Danish? I honestly have no idea.

Thanks if you managed to read all of this! smile

ELR Sun 13-Jan-13 18:42:47

Sorry don't have any answers for you but I grew up in South Africa and it definitely helps to shape you as a person. I would move abroad fora few years if the opportunity came along as would love the kids to experience living abroad.
Out of your list I would say Canada and Australia would be good choices, do t think I would bother with Europe but don't know why!

FifromN12 Sun 13-Jan-13 21:15:22

ELR where in SA did you grow up (sorry to be crashing!)

FifromN12 Sun 13-Jan-13 21:22:43

Tigert: my cousin moved to Florida (Tampa) and my friend Fort Meyes and they both real lily like it. They both find the people nice and helpful. My friend went around meeting her neighbours and they appreciated it.

I grew up in Paris and lived in differen countries. We are now in London looking at relocating to Cape Town.

tigertigertigga Mon 14-Jan-13 17:39:39

Oh, great, thanks for sharing your friends' experience of Tampa and Fort Myers! We really want to go to a friendly area, obviously a generalisation but I'm sure there must be differences between areas towards foreigners, so it's reassuring to know about how, from some experiences, people will react. When we moved to Glasgow we knocked on the doors around us to say hello, because that happened when people moved in where we used to live, and I'm pretty sure we got to know them and settle down better because we introduced ourselves as they seemed to appreciate it?

DoodlesNoodles Mon 14-Jan-13 18:07:07

It is good to go somewhere where there are other expats or where your DC's would go to an international school. It makes socialising really easy. This is especially useful in on-English speaking countries.

Before I moved abroad we thought we would want to avoid the expat scene but it worked well for our family. I always made friends with 'local's too.

You have listed too many countries to comment on. blush but personally I wouldn't want to be too far away from the UK if you have a DC in Uni here.

Also, don't forget that if you want to send the other DCs to Uni (eventually) in the UK you should look into what constitutes a home fee payer and an overseas fee payer. (it adds up to a lot of money)

kodokan Mon 14-Jan-13 21:59:21

We're in Phoenix (DH is in aerospace too, move here!). We've been here nearly 18 months, and everyone's been lovely to us - they seem to adore English people, and I get collected as a 'novelty friend'. Even our neighbours are nice and have invited us over, despite us only renting temporarily here.

The work-life balance in the South West is much better than I think it is elsewhere. DH works across two time zones, but is just as likely to take the afternoon off as he is to be stuck at work until 8pm; as long as the work gets done, no-one seems to mind too much the hours he keeps. He says the car park at his work is largely empty by 5pm, and totally deserted on a Friday afternoon past about 3pm!

My kids were 7 and 11 when we moved, and have settled beautifully into the local schools. The other kids have been nothing but friendly, and they've had scores of invites to parties, sleepovers, etc.

We moved here from Switzerland; I loved it there - the trains! the fresh bread! the cobbled streets, and lakes, and mountains, and snow, and... and...and. Gorgeous, gorgeous place, with friendly but more formal people. Again, the kids had great experiences in the local French-speaking school as regards friendships and good teachers, but I'm happier with the US education system as a preparation for life. The Swiss system where we lived was very 1950s, largely consisting of rote learning, grammar, drills and no freeform writing/ problem solving/ lateral thinking/ IT/ independent though whatsoever.

chloeb2002 Tue 15-Jan-13 08:38:32

We are in Brisbane, certainly no issues here settling in. i think it takes a bit of effort and maybe an interest or children to assist with the transition! even Dh who finds it very hard to meet new people has now got a circle of friends..
weather here is hot and humid.. no getting around that! The worst of it is 12 weeks in the summer and the coldest snap is 12 weeks in winter.. the others are just lovely!

shelscrape Tue 15-Jan-13 10:26:57

We are in NZ, have been here 2 years now. It is a small country, the biggest city is Auckland which has a population of justy over 1 million, which is about a quarter of the population of the entire country. We live in Northland, not too far from Whangarei which is classed as a city, but would just about pass as a large town in the UK.

People are friendly and are genuinely interested in you as a person. Hardly anyone gives a stuff about what car you have or your house, it is less class orientated than the UK. that said, although there are a lot if similarities with the the UK, there are lot of differences too, but I think there will be an element of cultural differencewherever you go.

Life is a lot laid back and in the summer a plenty of the time is spent at the beach or fishing. Loads of stuff for kids to do. Infact, if children don't do sport outside school they are seen as a beiong a bit weird. DS is 8 and has become much more confident since we moved here, and kids get a lot more freedom than in england.

Public transport is pretty rubbish and to get any where it is either a long drive or a plane ride. i have to admit that I order some clothes from UK web sites, but that is more out of habit than anything else.

We love it here, about to submit our permanent residency applications smile

Duchesse6 Sat 19-Jan-13 06:51:36

Hello Everyone.
I would love and be grateful to receive advice or hear comments from families living in Cape Town. What we're interested in hearing about the safety issue. That's the only concern we have. ALL OTHER ASPECTS of living in CT sound appealing to us.

Living in Paris at the moment. Came back to Europe May last after 3 years in Dubai. Thought we would settle here but we realize it's been somehow a mistake. Life's more than complicated here and we can't wait to move on.
DH (French) is self employed and we would be moving with 4xDC (8, 9, 10 & 16)
THANKS smile

Salbertina Sat 19-Jan-13 08:56:13

Duchess, have been threads about this plus other expat forums, worth a look to canvass range of views.
Simple answer? Depends how you want to live, risks you will take and yr tolerance for living w guards/dogs.fence etc in return fir lifestyle. huge inequality in CT area which feeds the crime . Some live in area problem-free and some get hit. Everyone knows someone who has suffered armed robbery.
Money also an issue-sch/medical/dental fees x 4??? am not in CT but SA generally got v v expensive place to live, plus v difficult employment wise re work permits. Jo'burg has many more opports but still v hard for foreigners ! I know you only wanted to hear about security but. I wish someone had warned me quite how expensive this country was. It has cost us £10,000s and i do regret this

Salbertina Sat 19-Jan-13 09:18:39

Oh and in response to OP, can't answer re yr exact places but have found people much the same everywhere to some extent.

Differences are
- on the one hand, you'll likely be welcomed as flavour of the month at first, people wanting to be hospitable to foreigner etc. which is very nice but taken on English terms, you can tend to think you're making good friends w someone (due to regular invites to someones home, for example) when actually they're not so bothered and were just being friendly.

-on the other hand, people can be somewhat suspicious of the foreign and you may be held somewhat at arms' length as they don't always think your friendship is "worth the investment" if you're not a permanent fixture.
Such minor-seeming differences are more of a surprise in other Anglo cultures somehow as its easy to think "they're just the same as the UK" but exist they do!

Duchesse6 Sat 19-Jan-13 18:38:17

Thank you Salbertina.
Any information is useful - I really appreciate your comments.
I know people who have lived in CT as well and luckily none of them has been robbed.

I actually thought that the cost of living was less expensive than Europe but maybe that's changed.
Are you moving away from SA and back to Europe?

FifromN12 Sat 19-Jan-13 20:59:05

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

PureQuintessence Sat 19-Jan-13 21:03:06

I would chose Sweden.

Swedish is closer to Norwegian than Danish.

However, spoken Swedish is closer to Norwegian than spoken Danish, and written Danish easier to understand that spoken Danish, if you speak Norwegian.

DoodlesNoodles Sat 19-Jan-13 21:22:51

We lived in SA for four years as ex-pats and we loved it. We loved the people and we loved the beauty of the country. It was like being on holiday for me and the DCs Had a fab time too. DH also loved it when he wasn't at at work grin . As ex-pats we were shielded from lot of the costs as the company paid for housing, schools, cars, health care etc. I know that cars are very very very expensive and decent houses can cost a lot.
There are ok state schools but it depends where you are. Private schools are a bargain compared to the UK and often have fantastic facilities although the teaching can be patchy.
We lived in a huge gated community with it own pools, parks, club houses etc etc and felt perfectly safe at home. However, when we were out and about we were always careful and aware. The violence is extreme and nasty mostly due to drugs. It is also very random. For example I knew a couple of people hijacked in the day in busy shopping areas.
To some extents I was more worried about drink driving ( and general dangerous driving). The road deaths statistics are shocking. All my lovely seemingly responsible South African friends would drink drive (even Doctors sad ). They not that keen on seatbelts either.
These concerns didn't lessen our enjoyment and love of SA but it was always in our minds.
I am glad we came back to the UK. I like the fact my DC's can go out and about without any worries.
....and don't get me started on the corruption, the red tape, etc, etc.

I am feeling nostalgic thinking about it though .......

Salbertina Sun 20-Jan-13 05:55:25

Just to concur with doodles...
I think if you're on expat package, it wd be like being on hol. For us money worries after first few honeymoon months put paid to that ,(pardon the pun). Feel like we haven't been able always to make most of it and when we have its been courtesy of credit card!
A) everything except eating out/wine/petrol is MUCH more expensive
B) there are additional -considerable- costs for a family. Even state schools cost several thousand pounds per dc per year. And after nhs (bless its cotton socks!) dental/medical fees also seem a lot

TheUKGrinchImGluhweinkeller Sun 20-Jan-13 06:54:07

We live near Munich, there are 2 big internationals schools, I have heard the most about the Bavarian International School which follows a British curriculum and seems to be well liked, but my kids are in local schools (totally different situation to yours, kids born here/ eldest moved here at 19 months old, husband German).

Munich is lovely, if you are on an expat package that pays well and for the schools you can live in the city centre where there is a big expat community you can connect with if you wish to (and you'll meet lots of English speakers through work too) and you can get by easily with limited German in the city. I guess your kids would be fine at International school. My personal opinion is that 12 and 9 is a bit old to uproot, and it won't be smooth sailing no matter where you move to, but if you have to for financial reasons then you have to... The kids are too old to be expected to "just pick up" the language, so I'd definitely go for International School in their cases, even though I never get why people with much younger children do that, they will have German lessons daily at International school but won't become native speaker fluent.

There's a lot to be said for Bavaria as a place to bring up children - as well as being a pleasant historic city it is very safe compared to the UK and some of the other places you have mentioned, lots to do, skiing close by in winter and lakes in summer, good links to the UK and only 1 hr 20 min flight, teenagers are not viewed with the suspicion and fear they seem to be in the UK! But moving overseas esp. factoring in a language difference is never easy, and you need to expect admin and bureaucratic hassles and emotional turmoil and homesickness both for the kids and yourself at some points.

Good luck!

Duchesse6 Mon 21-Jan-13 11:04:03

Hello Doodlenoodles and Salbertina

Thank you both for useful feed-back.

I guess the best way to decide is always to visit before moving anyway and get in touch with a relocation agent and ask the relevant questions or raise any concerns you might have. Talk to people on the spot and interview schools.

Many threads on Mumsnet and other expat sites are "old" - like from 2002-08 so many things could have changed in regards to crime.

One thing is for sure that Paris has become very very unsafe. My son (16) has been rubbed 3 times on the metro going home from school. New Years Eve somebody tried to enter our house.....There's shooting outside our windows ! AND we live in what used to be a wonderful area - I'm quite shocked to be honest.

FifromN12 Mon 21-Jan-13 16:04:00

Duchesse 6- I'm French (Parisian) living in London and moving to CT at the end of the year. Happy to talk on PM if you want.
I'm shocked but not surprised... I'm sorry to hear what you have gone through.

Duchesse6 Mon 21-Jan-13 20:00:55

FifromN12 - Thank you smile Yes, I would love to talk smile

galwaygirl Sun 27-Jan-13 13:22:12


I think Sweden or Denmark could be good options for you, keeping you close to both DC at uni and family in Ireland. My husband is Swedish and we are moving there in March. Positives about Sweden include:
- distance from family
- language, Swedes learn English from age 7/8 I think and most have a great level of it. No need for private schools for your DC necessarily as they would be given lots of support in learning Swedish. There are also English speaking or bilingual schools in Sweden that are not fee paying
- free university education for your younger DC if you stay in Sweden. Support towards living costs while at Uni and student loans at the base rate
- free after school care for your DC if you need it
- taxes in Sweden seem high but they cover so much. I'm also Irish and worked out I'd pay similar tax in Ireland and Sweden but you cannot even begin to compare in terms of what you get for your money!
- sports/activities year round irrespective of the weather

Lots of other things that aren't springing to kind right now but check out if you are interested in looking into Sweden more.

I actually think the south of Sweden is beautiful and it's great for water sports. It's easier to get to Ireland from Copenhagen airport that Arlanda these days and that's just a short hop across the Oresund bridge if you were based around Malmo.
It's also perfectly possible for one or both of you to work in Copenhagen while living in Skane.

Hope that is helpful

SelfconfessedSpoonyFucker Sun 27-Jan-13 18:04:35

For the U.S. ones I personally would pick Seattle or Denver, perhaps L.A. if I could afford to live somewhere like Pasadena but otherwise no.

California (Burbank, Ontario, LA, only palces we can both transfer to),

Ontario is hot and smoggy. Some areas around Burbank can be quit nice I guess.


I hear some people absolutely adore Alaska. I don't do well with reduced light levels though


<3 Seattle and the environs. Not so much the weather, but if I were coming from the UK it wouldn't phase me at all.

New York (NYC, Rochester),

Too mental. some love it. Accent drives me crazy.

Hawaii (Honolulu, Lanai, Kahului),

I have friends who have been posted in Hawaii and have lived a lot of places and it is their favourite. I would worry about feeling island bound though. I hear it is extortionately expensive.

Nebraska (Omaha),

god no. They are called flyover states for a reason. (Apologies to people who live there and love it).

Ohio (Cleveland),

Nope. No way.

Wisconsin (Milwaukee),

Bitter cold in winter, mosquitos like crazy in summer.

Maine (Portland),

Middle of nowhere, not my thing.

Colorado (Denver),

Yes it gets cold but there is so much going on there and the state is soo beautiful!

Florida (Jacksonville, Miami, Tampa, Fort Myers). A lot of options!

Hell no. Flying cockroaches. Bible belt. OAPs galore who can't drive. Humidity like nothing else.

SelfconfessedSpoonyFucker Sun 27-Jan-13 18:08:16

Do you like cities more or rural areas? What do you like to do in your spare time?

fussychica Tue 29-Jan-13 13:33:48

Moved to Spain (back now) 10 years ago when DS was 10. All my colleagues thought what I was doing was tantamount to child abuse taking DS out of a good UK school. However, it worked for us -DS now fluent in Spanish and at Uni in UK despite attending a basic Spanish state school (we could never have afforded international, even if there had been one in our area).

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