Should I relocate?
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I have never been to the USVI, but LOVE the Caribbean. I am looking for a teaching position in the USVI, but am apprehensive about moving to an Island I have NEVER seen. If given the opportunity, would you move to the VI? I love beaches and nice weather so that is kind of the draw. Any advice you can offer would be extremely helpful.
If I could make a living in the USVI you bet I would move there in a heart beat. But I highly doubt it will ever happen for me. So I just vacation there. Make sure you visit many times first, ask questions, read all the relocation forums and check into short term rentals unless you have the money to buy a house when you get there. Good Luck
Well you found my drawback. I am looking to start in the 09-10 School year, which mean I would have little-to-no time to visit. That is why I am seeking people who have been there a few times' opinions. Theoretically it sounds fantastic, but I am leery of going someplace I have never been to and living there. I have researched this sight pretty extensively as it has the most candid information I can find. Still living there, my-oh-my those beaches...the sun...good lord how could it be a bad idea? Hmmm...wonder if their paychecks are federally taxed...
I would NOT move to a place I'd never visited.
You should check the Relocation Message Board (above to the right) as this board is for vacationers.
I've been asking my boss to relocate at least once a week since august when I went to STT. I would still visit the island even if it's for a long weekend (early friday -> sunday) I'm not sure where you'd be flying from but it's not all that cheap from NY.
I was just concerned about the cleanliness and safety of the islands. Wanted visitors opinions to see if they liked it enough to move there.
Depends on what you can afford and where you will be working. Some of the private schools offers COLA for some of its employees. It all depends on what you are able to work out in your contract. Others will pay for your residence.
Most don't realize how expensive the Virgin Islands is until they actually come down. I've never seen gas bellow $2 all my life. Regular unleaded was about $2....when gas use to be about 86c in Georgia post 9/11 before oil prices began to steadily rise. Housing is also VERY expensive. Most locals inhereted land and property from their parents/grandparents, etc. as with my family. We had land in several locations but it wasn't until 4 years ago that my dad finally took out a loan to build a new house.
I have noticed that the housing is disgustingly expensive. I just want a small 1br/1ba fully furnished, pet friendly place for myself and possibly my significant other. Any ideas of good places to live? Not live? Things to be wary of?
You seriously should reconsider moving here "cold." It's just not a good idea all around! Of course many visitors would like to live here but even most of them know that visiting as a tourist and living are two completely different things. Cheers!
I moved here "cold" almost ten years ago. I might be able to answer a few questions for you. Send me a private message if you want to pick my brain a little. I will say that I have ZERO responsibilities when I came here, and I've yet to meet anyone one STJ who took as big a risk as I did when I moved here in 1999. I don't regret it though!
You will get more pertinent information on living here by polling residents. Vacationing is a different activity, which is why there are two different boards.
Sorry to those of you that are annoyed by my post. I just wanted the input of vacationers too. Figured all input would be helpful.
DON'T, DON'T, DON'T move with outr comming down and finding the following:
1. lLne up a job and get a contract.
2. Line up a place to stay
3. Buy a car or look around to see what you can get.
4. The calculate the average costs to live. Remember that gas is 2.50, electric is four times the main land rate, food is about twice the main land cost, and water is about 4- 6c a gallon. Unless you are rich and none of this is important.
5. Don't bring a pet. This will limit were you can stay and will cost you more in security.
THEN make up our mind. Spend some money and do a PMV (Pre Move Visit). About 100/night for lodging plus food. A car would be about 300. And your ticket. AND DON'T GO TO THE VACATION PLACES. Try to live like you were here full time.
Trust me, I see it all the time. People come down, love the weather, the water and the life without doing there homework and then need to go back.
So spend a few $, and come down. and see. It is a great place, but it is not for everyone.
wegek: what in any of the responses would indicate that anyone is "annoyed" by your post? Looks to me as though you're being given very good advice.
Do read all that's available on the relocation site - a couple of things you've said rather indicate that you haven't thoroughly read all the information there and there's tons to absorb.
billD is right. The attrition rate of newbies is HUGE and island living is not for everyone. Cheers!
I would guess using my son and his friends experience that young males last about a year (or less)
And young ladies last 18 months to two years.
Then there is about 10% who really understand that they are there to work and it is there home. It is not a summer beach job. Those are those who make it. Some of them are the ones that help us out on this board as our on island experts.
You are awesome. Sounds like sound advice. I did not realize that electric was SOOOO much more, gas I anticipated, ($2.50 still isn't bad considering it was almost $4 four months ago. I also appreciate the info on groceries. Could you offer suggestions on bringing my car from the states? Bad idea? Also, I would NOT move there without a job, I am not that crazy! (*smile*)
I have been trying to read as much as I can. This site is the MOST helpful site I have found on the web so far, and you guys (all of you that have commented to me) have been awesome. I am really learning a lot and taking it all in.
Could someone offer feedback as to how much is deducted per pay for taxes there? If I move there, I take a pretty big pay cut, but then again, I lose about 1/4 in taxes too.
The same deductions and same forms used as on the mainland. This info is given on the relocation site, and there is also a lot of information and discussion there about whether or not to ship a car along with COL indices, comparisons, accommodations, etc.
Payroll tax deductions are comparable to the mainland...I wouldn't recommend shipping a vehicle, as there are plenty to buy here and you wouldn't have the large expense of shipping + road tax...I moved here over 11 years ago, never having been here before, but my circumstances were a bit different from most, so I had to make a go of it...but after living here for a few months, I knew that the fit was right. It's been my experience with people moving here that about 95% of those that didn't do a PMV are back in the States within 6 months...those that DO make a PMV (or 2...or 3), only about 25% of those end up moving back within a year...that shows a BIG benefit to the PMV, IMHO...to sum up, about 80% of people that move here are gone within six months, just because it's NOT the United States, we have a different culture here, we do things differently, one needs to adapt to the island and it's customs and mores, instead of trying to change the island...acceptance for what the islands are is imperative. If you are the type of person that is always in a rush, then island life is NOT for you...a lot of time is spent waiting here...waiting in lines at the bank, grocery store, post office, sitting in traffic...nothing happens fast here....no one moves fast..."soon come" is a term that many newbies hear an awful lot of for their first few months. Most places won't consider you for employment until you are on island...most landlords won't consider you as a tenant until you are on island...these are because an awful lot of people SAY they are moving here...and never do....also, if you just got here, many are hesitant to hire or house you, as you have no history to prove that you will stay for long (although landlords make up for that with the first, last and security). People that have been here over a year will usually be preferred by employers and landlords. I'm not saying you won't find a place or a job, just that it's more difficult for a newbie than a resident. Many people that move here, then move back, have done so for various reasons, but, I believe, the majority do so because they had this grand idea of 'paradise' in their heads before they got here, then they found out that you still have to go to work, you still have to pay bills, you still need to maintain your car, you still need to go grocery shopping, you still need to go to the post office (remember, we all have P.O. Boxes here, so you have to go there to get your mail out of your box....and anything that doesn't fit in the box will require you to stand in line to get it), you still need to be a responsible person, ya know? Many people think that it will be like their vacation if they lived here...which it will NOT be...but, they still go to all the touristy places and act like a vacationer by going out partying all the time...and it catches up to many people. As a white person, I have felt the effect of subtle racism that many that move here don't seem to be able to adjust to...remember, about 80% of our population is local, so you WILL be a minority (the other 20% is made up of people like me that have moved from the States, and people from other islands, and people that are only here for the season, and retirees...the West Indians and the Frenchies (which make up the largest portion of that 80%) have seen many people come and many people go, so they don't put too much stock in treating you as an equal until you have been here a while...many newbies hear a lot of people sucking their teeth at them (which is like saying "f*ck you" ), due to the newbies not being adjusted (for example: starting conversations with "Hello" or "Hi, how ya doin'?", instead of the proper "Good morning/afternoon/evening"/night" ) and making many fau pax's....feel free to PM me if you have any direct questions...and post on the Relocation Board, as no vacationer knows what it is like to live here, so they really can't offer you any advice other than "I'd LOVE to move there!"...which is just a pipe dream, and you will be back on the mainland within 3 months....JMO, mind you.
I too, moved here "cold" 26 years ago. Outside of the beauty, I hated it! Huge culture shock for sure! I went to the states to visit family and was contemplating moving back home permanently, but the weather got dreary and dismal up there, so I came back! I needed to change MY way of thinking.... Patience is the biggest thing I learned here!