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Moving to USA Atlanta - can anyone help?(9 Posts)
My husband is in talks with his company who he is employed with in london about moving to Atlanta and we are going over all the details at the moment - but there are a few sticking points which I wonder if someone might be able to help with sympathetically:
1. I have two dogs which I cannot leave - I have read that they can come with us without quarantine - does anyone have any experience of this and what its like?
2. What is the education system like? We are debating whether to leave our kids here in boarding school (where they are already happy) or move them - any experiences?
3. Money - is the cost of living really as good as it looks?
Sorry for all the questions - but if anyone has any experiences good or bad it would be so helpful - we are being courted so heavily that I don't know whats real and what not at the moment!
Yes your dogs can come over. They need to be up to date with all their shots, especially rabies. There are specialist companies that fly your dogs over and deliver them to you. Most people I know who brought their pets had that included as part of their relocation package.
How old are your children? If they are secondary school age then they will probably find that, within a very good, competitive school district, they are ahead in some classes and behind in others. I only know one expat family who didn't bring their kids over and they were also in boarding school. Bare in mind that if they want to go to British universities, if they come with you, you will be paying overseas fees.
As for the cost of living, houses are cheaper and bigger. Grocery shopping I find more expensive. Eating out is cheaper. Gas is much cheaper. Property taxes are horrendous!
OP, I am American. I grew up in Georgia and now live in Florida, but I have spent a good bit of time over the years visiting friends and family in Atlanta. I went to university in the UK and have traveled in the UK in the years since so I have some idea of comparisons, but it is limited.
I think Atlanta would be a great place to live, and everyone I know who lives there loves it.
I don't know anything about the state schools there; my closest friend who lives there sent her children to private school.
As for money, there are many areas of Atlanta where you can get a lot of house for much less than you would pay for a comparable house in the UK. I am sure that other people will come on to tell you that you need to make sure that you have a very good benefits package that has excellent health insurance coverage.
Here is some information on bringing pets in. It should not be a problem.
Wow! I didn't realise you didn't need a rabies injection if your dog was coming from the UK. Which is funny as the first thing you'd have to do is get them vaccinated here, as they do need their rabies certificate in order to register them.
I forgot to mention health insurance! Presumably you'll get good cover from DHs employer. That doesn't mean you don't pay anything though. DS had stitches and we got billed $500. If you get properly sick, those kind of bills will keep on coming!
I would not delay the rabies shot. Georgia has a relatively high incidence of rabies, mainly from wild animals like racoons.
I can only comment on the cost of living. We were in Washington DC for five years. I found it all a bit swings and roundabouts. Some things were cheaper, but others more expensive. Food was definitely the same as, or more expensive than here, to get the same quality. At first it almost seemed cheaper to eat out, but it's healthier to cook at home. We are used to good bargains here in the supermarkets. Also, our phone /broadband/ cable package is a lot cheaper in the UK.
A word of warning re houses. We bought, but when it came to selling, prices had dropped so we made a slight loss. Also, US realtors charge, typically, 6% of the sale price to sell your house. 3% goes to your agent and 3% to your buyers agent. (It's about 1-2%'in the UK) That's a big wedge off your return,and house prices are fairly stable at the moment, so you can end up out of pocket. My advice is rent unless you see yourselves being there really long term.
Petrol was cheaper, but when we returned we found the cars to be a whole lot more fuel efficient!
Education can be very, very good.
Depending on your children's ages, you may like to get them into an International Baccalaureate programme, though the normal American high school curriculum is a very good preparation for university if your DCs take honours and AP courses. If you won't be there forever and will be returning to the UK before they finish secondary then the IB might be the better option.
If they won't be becoming US citizens, then going to university in the UK might be cheaper and therefore boarding school may be a good idea. If they come to the US and if you will be making more than $150K p.a. then they wouldn't qualify for federal financial aid for university, though they may qualify for institutional-university aid/scholarships.
If you decide to send them to a US school, be sure to find a home in the right school district. For private schools this doesn't matter, but there are usually many really excellent public schools in or around every city and in the burbs (do your homework and find out the top public high schools in the Atlanta area) and to go to one of these you need to establish residence in the school district. The district will ask for several pieces of paperwork as proof of residence when you are registering your children. So you would need to find a public school first and a home in-district once the school is decided upon.
I have found that in general you get mire value for your money in the US compared to the UK. Not only taxes are lower also prices tend to be lower as well.