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Everything Else => Travel => Topic started by: Sam on October 29, 2018, 05:10:00 PM

Title: Favorite destinations for living abroad for several years with family?
Post by: Sam on October 29, 2018, 05:10:00 PM
Hi Folks,

I'm thinking of the following places to live abroad once my son turns 3:

* Amsterdam
* Taipei
* Beijing
* Barcelona

Ideally, I'd like him to learn Mandarin and/or Spanish in addition to English.

Any ideas for a family friend city that would be good for family? I also wonder what we will do for our visa situation. Hmmm.

Related: https://www.financialsamurai.com/ideas-providing-stimulating-childhood/

Sam
Title: Re: Favorite destinations for living abroad for several years with family?
Post by: Rdizzle on October 29, 2018, 05:42:30 PM
Panama would be my choice in a similar situation.
Title: Re: Favorite destinations for living abroad for several years with family?
Post by: Sam on October 30, 2018, 09:06:58 PM
Can you elaborate on why Panama? How is the education system there? Thx
Title: Re: Favorite destinations for living abroad for several years with family?
Post by: Toula on October 31, 2018, 10:51:52 AM
I think this question could be better answered with more information provided. For example, what do you hope to do with your time? How important is weather? What size of a community would you want to be part of? Do you want to be in a place where you can cope on public transport with no need of a car?

I know personally I could not tolerate a Beijing winter as I found it too grey there. I think Amsterdam is a nice city but I would not like to live there. However I would live in other cities in Netherlands like Utrecht.  Also if considering Spain, I would probably consider southern Spain like Granada over Barcelona. There seems to be such a backlash against foreigners in Barcelona, and with their constant issue of Catalonia as a separate state I'm not sure it's something I would want to be part of.
Title: Re: Favorite destinations for living abroad for several years with family?
Post by: genelee9 on November 01, 2018, 08:17:46 AM
Ditto to a lot of @Toula's questions and assessments. My wife and I have been pondering over the same topic about living abroad, but to us issues like healthcare, foreigner treatment, taxes, and ease of living are very important to us. Ultimately, Club Med countries (Spain, Italy, Portugal, Greece, and the like) were stricken from our list due to "unsavory" stories heard from peers who lived in those areas around access to healthcare and general treatment from locals. If I were younger and my time-frame of living there was 1-3 years, I'd welcome the change. But we're near middle-aged and are set on a long term second home.

Amsterdam is a good option as its probably one of the most liberal cities in Europe and home to many expats from all over. Granted, you'll probably fare better in the Netherlands learning Dutch, and you'll have to contend with the fluctuating Euro vs the lower-valued Dollar. In my industry, I'd probably be okay regarding jobs, but I don't know that for certain. What does not appeal to me is the flat topography in the Netherlands and ongoing threat of flooding (which the Dutch are dealing with tremendously), but the country is not really known for its natural or architectural splendor versus elsewhere in Europe. And Amsterdam, to me, is kind of the New Orleans of Europe. It seems like an Ibiza party town w/o the beaches.

I don't know what your situation is regarding China as an option, but I'm assuming it's similar to mine. I am Korean-American and have tons of family still in South Korea. I would love to spend some time there, but South Korea does not check off a lot of criteria for me such as: historically aesthetic (in SK's defense, this is mostly due to its history of foreign invasion), overall appreciation for natural surroundings, non-humid climate. Also, even though I have a lot of family there and the number of expats living there is getting larger, I would still be treated as a "gyopo" (outsider), which is a vast topic of contention in SK. I don't have kids, but I definitely understand wanting your child to learn his background while at an impressionable age. To me, that trumps all.

My idyllic abroad situation would probably be the English/Scottish countryside, but the sterling is not in a reasonable place for me to consider that a reality versus my USD-padded portfolio. (Although, we're closer to currency parity than we have been in a while.) Plus, the areas that I would want to live are generally very "homegrown", so I'm not sure if the locals would roll out the welcome mat.

With all that said, we are narrowing our list down and have prioritized the following criteria: cost of living/ease of settling (banking, governmental processing, taxes), healthcare (same, if not better than the U.S.), climate, societal progressiveness, acceptance of foreigners. The issues around acceptance will be everywhere, but I find that the larger and more diverse/cosmopolitan the city - the more accepting. The smaller and/or more homogenized (Asia, Germany/Eastern Europe, Club Med) -- well you can probably figure out what to expect..
Title: Re: Favorite destinations for living abroad for several years with family?
Post by: Nicolas on November 05, 2018, 05:52:04 AM
Chile
Title: Re: Favorite destinations for living abroad for several years with family?
Post by: Orphan on November 09, 2018, 06:22:13 PM
Why Chile?

What are the positive aspects...
Title: Re: Favorite destinations for living abroad for several years with family?
Post by: Sam on November 09, 2018, 06:44:50 PM
Weather, diversity, tolerance, food, culture, Mandarin and overall easy-going lifestyle are the most important things for me.

Maybe at the end of the day, San Francisco and Los Angeles I really the best places to be. I love New York City, but man it is like a pressure cooker and the weather for six months isn’t very good.

I agree about the weather and atmosphere in Beijing. It’s terrible. Maybe Taipei will be OK, but it’s not a really pretty city.
Title: Re: Favorite destinations for living abroad for several years with family?
Post by: bob on November 13, 2018, 12:36:47 AM
Mandarin speaking - Singapore/ Taiwan/ PRC/ HKG.  Singapore & HKG don't use Mandarin so much for day to day life, but there will be mandarin medium schools

Singapore is diverse/ tolerant and decent food.  Weather - well, as long as you don't mind no variety.  They also have an education visa that means that the guardian(s) of a kid in private school in Singapore can also live there.   No chance of getting your kid into a government school though - so your kid will be mixing with rich expat brats (from China if Mandarin medium school) mostly.

There is a decent startup/ fintech scene.

For China/ Taiwan/ HKG your best bet for a visa is education for yourselves too - sign up to a recognised course for a couple of years and get student visas.  Don't know about China/ Taiwan, but HK immigration does check attendance

Title: Re: Favorite destinations for living abroad for several years with family?
Post by: Nicolas on November 13, 2018, 06:14:00 AM
Why Chile?

What are the positive aspects...

Its kinda like the US but in South America. I´ve been living here in Chile for almost 18 years ( was born in the US and moved when i was 5) and love it. People are super fiendly and the education system is good comparing to our neighbors. The economy is one of the strongest in South America with lots of opportunities and the culture is super western so its easy to adapt and life is super relaxing because cities are not that big. The food is awesome down here with lots of seafood,meat, veggies, fruts, etc (fruits and veggies are much cheaper than the US). It is expensive comparing to most South American countries but for people coming from the US it wont be that bad. Also by being one of the largest countries in the world you have different types of climates and landscapes along the country so depending of what you like you have it pretty much.For example a long Pacific coast just like California, to the east the Cordilera de los Andes and south Patagonia with the Antartida.
Title: Re: Favorite destinations for living abroad for several years with family?
Post by: Orphan on November 13, 2018, 01:51:41 PM
Nicolas,
Thanks. Sounds like a great place minus the political nonsense going on here in the states. Might have to go check it out..

Curious? Is the political situation stable?
Title: Re: Favorite destinations for living abroad for several years with family?
Post by: Nicolas on November 13, 2018, 03:38:31 PM
Nicolas,
Thanks. Sounds like a great place minus the political nonsense going on here in the states. Might have to go check it out..

Curious? Is the political situation stable?
super stable
Title: Re: Favorite destinations for living abroad for several years with family?
Post by: Sam on November 13, 2018, 07:00:21 PM
Mandarin speaking - Singapore/ Taiwan/ PRC/ HKG.  Singapore & HKG don't use Mandarin so much for day to day life, but there will be mandarin medium schools

Singapore is diverse/ tolerant and decent food.  Weather - well, as long as you don't mind no variety.  They also have an education visa that means that the guardian(s) of a kid in private school in Singapore can also live there.   No chance of getting your kid into a government school though - so your kid will be mixing with rich expat brats (from China if Mandarin medium school) mostly.

There is a decent startup/ fintech scene.

For China/ Taiwan/ HKG your best bet for a visa is education for yourselves too - sign up to a recognised course for a couple of years and get student visas.  Don't know about China/ Taiwan, but HK immigration does check attendance

Good to know Bob. Thanks. How do you know all this? Did you live in one of these countries with family? If so, how was your experience?
Title: Re: Favorite destinations for living abroad for several years with family?
Post by: bob on November 13, 2018, 11:39:57 PM
Lived in both HK and SIN with my partner, no kids unfortunately.  Currently in Singapore

My definition of middle aged is when you prefer Singapore to HK...  it is cleaner, greener, more child friendly, "Asia 101", "Asia lite" but doesn't have the buzz of HK.

Title: Re: Favorite destinations for living abroad for several years with family?
Post by: greenfrog2020 on November 18, 2018, 01:15:33 AM
We are thinking San Sebastian.  Great family culture.  Beautiful beaches.  Close to other areas to explore like France/Portugal/Madrid/Barcelona.  Outstanding culinary scene. Great shopping.  I believe the Visa process is easier in Spain but need to do more research.  Plenty of English spoken but an opportunity to learn Askara (basque language though very tough) and Spanish.

We are taking a family trip to New Zealand also this Spring - but emigrating there I understand is pretty tough.  Looks beautiful though and we really want to get away from the gun culture here - we think its crazy.

Cheers!
Title: Re: Favorite destinations for living abroad for several years with family?
Post by: Sam on November 18, 2018, 05:38:48 AM
Lived in both HK and SIN with my partner, no kids unfortunately.  Currently in Singapore

My definition of middle aged is when you prefer Singapore to HK...  it is cleaner, greener, more child friendly, "Asia 101", "Asia lite" but doesn't have the buzz of HK.

I hear yah. But are you able to adjust to the humidity of Singapore? Damn, so hot and sticky lah!

What do you do in Singapore?
Title: Re: Favorite destinations for living abroad for several years with family?
Post by: bob on November 19, 2018, 04:16:24 AM
Heh - I actually like the weather.  My wife struggles as she is from a cool part of Indonesia/ Canada. 

I work for an IT provider
Title: Re: Favorite destinations for living abroad for several years with family?
Post by: navnamakka on January 06, 2019, 06:54:51 PM
What about India? Places like Bangalore, etc?
Title: Re: Favorite destinations for living abroad for several years with family?
Post by: chitown-2020 on January 08, 2019, 04:25:58 PM
Nicolas,
Thanks. Sounds like a great place minus the political nonsense going on here in the states. Might have to go check it out..

Curious? Is the political situation stable?
super stable

I have to offer a third opinion on Chile.   It's on my short-list for sure.   After visiting a few times, its a beautiful country, a pretty well-planned economic system, including public healthcare, western style life, lots of recent development and friendly / family / friends oriented culture.   I say two thumbs up to Chile.

Title: Re: Favorite destinations for living abroad for several years with family?
Post by: Sam on January 09, 2019, 08:09:06 AM
What about India? Places like Bangalore, etc?

I've been to Mumbai, Bangalore, Hyderabad, and New Delhi.

Mumbai is OK... especially near Colaba. But I donno... it feels like chaos in India and foreigners stick out and constantly get taken advantage of (taxies for example). It is also very polluted.

Fun fact. I was in the Oberoi hotel 10 days before the terrorist siege in Mumbai.
Title: Re: Favorite destinations for living abroad for several years with family?
Post by: DigitalNomad on January 09, 2019, 06:52:07 PM
I've lived in Vietnam for 3 years. It's great for a single guy with an online biz, but not so sure when you have a family.
Can answer questions about living here if ppl are interested.
Title: Re: Favorite destinations for living abroad for several years with family?
Post by: david123 on January 11, 2019, 10:28:22 AM
Never have lived abroad, but have traveled extensively.

Asia (China, India) - very different culturally from the US.  Lots of poverty, pollution, corruption - if you are not used to that culture it will definitely be a shocker.  Very reasonable cost of living - not very friendly towards outsiders (China is more friendly than India).

Europe (Amsterdam, Germany, England, Finland, Switzerland - my brother lived here for 4 years) - More US-like culture.  Open to outsider, lots of people from other countries, very high cost of living.

Caribbean/Mexico - Some similar culture to the US due to tourism, also it's own unique culture.  Open to outsiders, lots of poverty/crime (in pockets), cost of living varies depending on your life style - expensive to live like a tourist, cheap to live like a native.

Title: Re: Favorite destinations for living abroad for several years with family?
Post by: Fat Tony on January 16, 2019, 11:46:28 PM
Pretty interesting question, Sam. If you want the full experience for your kids and are fluent in Mandarin I would say Taipei and Shanghai are your best bets.

However, if you end up hanging out a lot in the expat crowd or in the international school crowd (there are two well known schools in those cities) - I feel like those students are quite Westernized. I know people from those schools who came to the US at age 18+ and many are quite culturally American (no detectable accent, not white-washed, but often less in touch with the culture they grew up in compared to say kids who immigrated at ages 5-14 with less opulent backgrounds). I know you actually grew up in a lot of these international schools so you have a sense of how it goes

Maybe if you have family somewhere in a Mandarin-speaking place, you will get the full "local" experience. It's just very hard to get kids to learn a language and be fluent if they aren't actually required to use it. If their parents speak to them in English and the music they listen to and TV they watch and their friends (most important) all speak English, it's tough.

Shanghai - business is booming better than in Taiwan which is suffering a bit from the current economy and tensions, very cosmopolitan.

Honestly, for weather, you aren't going to get a Mediterranean climate anywhere else. San Francisco and LA probably actually have the highest % of Mandarin speakers in any Mediterranean climate with high diversity. Singapore is substantially more diverse than Taipei/Shanghai.

Taipei - depending on your actual background or passport status, you may not want to be in China, so great option. Also, the island is supremely beautiful and you have so many options just an hour or two away. You might need a full year to fully appreciate everything here. Life seems a little more chill than in Shanghai but you can still get the creature comforts you need.
Title: Re: Favorite destinations for living abroad for several years with family?
Post by: ForgingFinance on March 09, 2019, 02:12:45 PM
I can say from experience that the easiest place I've lived abroad is Australia. Melbourne in particular. It's typically ranked on the "most livable cities lists".  It's not as exotic as Asia, but it has a lot to offer. It's safe, has good schools, easy to get around, and more outdoor stuff that you'll every have time for.
Title: Re: Favorite destinations for living abroad for several years with family?
Post by: Sam on March 09, 2019, 08:15:41 PM
I can say from experience that the easiest place I've lived abroad is Australia. Melbourne in particular. It's typically ranked on the "most livable cities lists".  It's not as exotic as Asia, but it has a lot to offer. It's safe, has good schools, easy to get around, and more outdoor stuff that you'll every have time for.

And, it is the host of the Australian Open! I've never been, and want to go.
Title: Re: Favorite destinations for living abroad for several years with family?
Post by: TravelGirl on March 27, 2019, 06:49:01 AM
We're looking at the Canary Islands as an option.  We would have to learn Spanish beyond our basic knowledge.  There are some areas that have better weather than others, but your weather is a preference.  Transportation between islands and between the islands and Spain is cheap and easy for natives.  We're headed there next spring to check out one area.