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Santa Barbara - DH been offered job - what's it like?

(10 Posts)
redflipflops Tue 02-Jun-09 13:13:57

Hi - can anybody offer opinions on life in Santa Barbara? I've never been to California so I know nothing.....

We have 3 DC (5, 3 and newborn) - what are schools like? lifestyle, housing, quality of life etc.. How easy for Brit to settle into life in US?

Am slightly worried I'll feel isolated as will be at home with baby/young children. Not sure I'll be able to work if DH has work permit (not spouse?).

any information appreciated

PlumBumMum Tue 02-Jun-09 13:19:20

Bump for you

But if it helps I've been to California twice and I loved it, Drove through Santa Barbara and one of the greener parts from what I remember

ilovemydogandmrobama Tue 02-Jun-09 13:21:20

Santa Barbara is fab! It's a university town, but small and based around the beach! I don't know about the schools, but the housing is very expensive, so perhaps your DH's company could pay rent until you've decided if you like it or not?

There's a small town feel about it...

Quite envious.

lljkk Tue 02-Jun-09 13:26:56

I'm from that region, I have a relative living there.
It's relatively prosperous, University is a big employer and influence. Might be the most expensive housing in the whole state, though (outside of central SanFran, I assume). My cousin was just looking at buying an extremely trashed 3-bed house for $650,000 (in a decent but nothing special area, and she thought that was a fantastic bargain).
Lifestyle is very very nice imho, but some British people would find it too laid back. Big surfing town, with decent wilderness areas not far away. Much nicer than LA county, not as busy as San Diego. On the coast so not a cultural and physical desert.

My cousin sends her son to a private school, but I think she's very PFB about him, not that the schools are 'bad'. I can't say anything about the schools otherwise, but frequent testing and league tables I think are a general feature of the CA school system nowadays.

redflipflops Tue 02-Jun-09 13:39:09

interesting that housing will be expensive... was hoping we might get big house and garden (compared to our uk house).

not sure what salary yet so have no idea on budget for rental.

if we go we have to make a firm commitment - take kids out of school, rent out uk house etc... this is what makes me nervous as I've never been there!

SuperBunny Mon 08-Jun-09 01:58:28

Come and chat on the Living in the US thread - there are lots of expats there who can answer questions about relocating.

jabberwocky Mon 08-Jun-09 02:07:52

Good wine in Santa Barbara! You need to talk to Califrau.

CarmenSanDiego Mon 08-Jun-09 05:02:42

I moved to Southern California in September and I /love/ it here. Absolutely love it. The food, weather, shops etc. etc.

I must admit I did feel a little isolated moving here but that's a bit self-inflicted and now I'm planning to work harder at finding things to do with my time than just staying at home. There's a lot to do here and a lot of opportunities. Californians are very sociable. I'm not so much wink

I've not been to Santa Barbara but I've been to LA and the whole lifestyle around here is great and so outdoorsy. A car is essential though, I think.

Our kids are in private schooling and it's been a mixed experience. They're switching schools right now because I'm unhappy with the current one. Parents seem to be very involved in schools though and there's a LOT of fundraising in private schools. Mostly FOR the schools themselves. I'm reluctant to join the public system though as my kids are used to a small Montessori school and the public schools seem so big.

LA is really expensive and house prices are exorbitant but rentals aren't so bad. I'm renting a gorgeous house here in a nice part of San Diego for the same price as a reasonable house in the UK but I could never afford to buy it.

The main shocker I've had with the US is you have to fend for yourself a lot and figure things out. Health and safety sometimes seems lacking and if you are ill without insurance or you lose your job, you can be in a mess, especially if you're not a citizen. Employment tends to be 'at will' and the employers hold all the cards - there's not all the tribunal and discriminatory procedures the UK has.

Good luck! This really is a nice place to live! I look at the palm trees and the sea and don't regret being here at all

SueW Mon 08-Jun-09 06:57:05

DH worked for a while in Carpinteria, just about 12-15 miles from Santa Barbara and we stayed in an hotel in SB. I thought it was a gorgeous place - although when DD and I were trying to find the zoo for a day out, I thought it was a bit odd that everyone kept telling us it was out towards Oprah's place!!

redflipflops Tue 09-Jun-09 16:46:30

Thanks for the info. Will have a look at the other living in US thread.

They're going to fly us out for a recce - it's just too hard trying to decide without visiting. Will have to work out living costs and have a look at schools etc...

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