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Moving abroad...but where?

(14 Posts)
doingbetter Wed 12-Apr-17 15:12:45

Currently not going anywhere, but would love to! grin

I have been looking at a few possibilities. My issue is I would like more detailed information than what I'm getting from the usual expat websites (so many to go through!) I thought I would try my luck here. We have 1yr old dd, and if all went to plan we would probably try for a second whilst abroad, so any info on prenatal care (public and private) and nursery would be especially helpful.

Does anyone have any advice/experience to give on starting a new young family life in the following : San Francisco, Sydney, Singapore, Madrid, Zurich and Hong Kong?


LIZS Wed 12-Apr-17 15:25:57

Switzerland isn't within EU but is still part of the single market , and was recently voting as to whether to reintroduce limitations on the number of expats. They used to have a residency permit system which meant you had to be employed in a job a local could not do, the stay time limited, and often had no recourse to state funds. Without a permit it was impossible to rent anywhere to live, have a phone, bank account etc. Do your sums as it is very expensive in all aspects of life, taxation rules vary by canton so many live outside ZH and commute, health care and insurance are obligatory, day to day local rules can be limiting and are stringently applied (and breaches fined). Swiss people are naturally reticent and integrating can be an issue. The nature of expat community means that friends constantly come and go. The lifestyle can be great but you need £££ to make the most of it.

LIZS Wed 12-Apr-17 15:42:17

Oh and don't forget the language issue, Swiss German is spoken but teaching is in High German.

Many insurance policies require a qualifying period before they cover conditions like pg. Antenatal care ime was great but you really don't want to have to pay for it or the delivery yourself ( it is still normal to spend up to a week in hospital) . DC born in CH do not automatically get any rights to citizenship or residency.

JennyTaylior Wed 12-Apr-17 15:48:41

Many expat friends find Switzerland hard to assimilate into.
Singapore is really hot and humid, but safe and clean. Huge expat population.
Hong Kind is vibrant, also hot and humid. Huge expat population. I personally find the air unhealthy and get quite ill when there.
San Fran & Sydney - easier due to language.
Madrid - have heard it's hard for non-Spanish speaking kids to be accepted in schools.

Massive sweeping generalisations there! Everyone is different and what suits one family won't suit another. I assume you would easily find jobs in these places?

RedSandYellowSand Wed 12-Apr-17 15:51:40

Hong Kong is eye wateringly expensive.

doingbetter Wed 12-Apr-17 16:07:48

Thanks LIZS, sounds daunting but from what I have already read isn't surprising. I am used to playing by the rules of other countries through traveling though i must say some of the local ones I read about threw me! I have Switzerland on my list as it would be somewhere we would be able to live and work (same goes for all places), but it does have the draw backs of being very expensive and would effect a lot of other plans. We have friends planning on moving to Zurich at the end of this year for work and study so will be able to find out first hand through them what to expect.

Any decision won't be made lightly or any time soon, i just wanted to have a clear view before we think about uprooting ourselves even if it would only be for a few years.

doingbetter Wed 12-Apr-17 16:24:53

DP speaks three languages and I speak two. We are however all for learning more if needed and our dd is currently being brought up bilingual with the idea we may introduce a third language when she is older depending on where we are.
Should maybe say we are not really looking to go anywhere for longer than 4/5 years as we have a rough idea of where we may like to settle down the line. That is if life doesn't throw any major curve balls…
Sorry, trying not to be vague but also not out myself on mums net… not that I have anything to hide wink

doingbetter Wed 12-Apr-17 16:26:29

We wouldn't go anywhere without having work in place

helterskelter99 Wed 12-Apr-17 16:27:54

Australia's cost of living is high

doingbetter Wed 12-Apr-17 16:44:00

Yes sadly all the places I have chosen are very expensive, but they would all still be doable for us. I originally would have had dubai on the list but have been a couple of times and not sure we would be comfortable enough there. I love Sydney and believe DP would love it. He has some family there too which is a draw but would be very far from other family members. The same is true of San Francisco. Hong Kong would probably be my last choice, but I didn't want to rule it out completely.

doingbetter Wed 12-Apr-17 16:58:22

just read that back and feel like I come across snobby! Just mean it would be doable if the reasons were right, we would definitely be stretching ourselves, I just think for a few years it might be worth it to experience a different country..

caffelatte100 Wed 12-Apr-17 22:49:38

I think you need to look at the kinds of careers you'd be doing and what these pay, it's a bit unhelpful to say x and y are so expensive as it's all in relation to what you can earn, the tax and outgoings.
You've picked some great places in my opinion!
Maybe look at what your priorities are and use these to help decide?

and you don't sound snobby btw!

Laptopwieldingharpy Thu 13-Apr-17 04:22:19

Hong Kong is a fantastic place to live. Singapore also but feels a bit like the Truman show when the novelty wears off.
Hong Kong is a stunning natural site and vibrant city all in one. Housing extremely expensive and there is a cut throats competition for good school places.
Great tax incentive in both and very good hospitals public and private.

Sydney and San Francisco are amazing if you can secure work and visas.

Madrid is great but very bourgeois provincial mentality. Barcelona more of an open city. Both have good bilingual sometimes trilingual schools ( English Spanish french,)

Zurich never in a million years if you are looking for a lifestyle change.

Blondie1984 Thu 13-Apr-17 04:31:18

Sister lives in Singapore - it's very clean and safe but she says it sometimes feels clinical
It's not a cheap place to live but they travel to some amazing places at the weekends - like Bali, Hong Kong etc

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