Hi all. New to this board.
We are considering moving the family to USVI but I will commute back to the states. On a 31 day month, I would spend 21 days on the mainland and then 10 days with the family. Summer and holidays will be spent most with family in the island we choose as home.
Does anyone else gave experience with a similar arrangement?
We have mapped out a 2 -3 year research process to help facilitate our decision, which includes a few trial living periods. The longest being three months.
Also since I will not be seeking employment, my main criteria is 1) education for my 5 kids,ranging from 8th grade to college age 2) cultural events emphasizing the caribbean, 3) local lifestyle 4) other stuff for kids to do.
Any suggestions on whether to STT,STX,or STJ would be greatly appreciated.
Also, please forgive me if offend any local sensibilities as i am learning.
The good news is University of Virgin Islands is cheap for residents.. The bad news is school for other kids will be expensive. While we may send our son to public school for primary school, it really isn't an option for secondary education. $9-12/yr for 8th-12th grade on STT. I can only speak on STT, but there are ample opportunities to be involved with, as much as you desire, cultural experiences. Stuff for kids to do depends on their interests.
As far as the commuting is concerned that's a personal issue which only you can decide can work or not. I know a handful of people over many years who've done something similar but the opposite way around with one party living here for a year or two on a job while the family stays stateside and both sides traveling as time permits.
As spartygrad mentions, you need to take a very serious look into the schools here and be making a LOT of money to support your children's education here.
What ties do you have here which has brought about this idea? Have you been here for any length of time (vacations really don't count)?
I personally would not do it. Your children would have a huge adjustment at 8th grade to college age. Your wife would be basically dealing with with change all on her own with 5 children. The expense of educating your children if you don't choose public school would be enormous. If you have mapped out a 2 to 3 year research process, why not wait 4 years until the youngest has graduated. Spend summers and vacation times in the VI.
Please let me know if I am wrong but Private school options run in the $12,000 to $20,000 range per annum/per child depending on school and year.
I have visited several times but after visiting for the first time this year, my wife and I started discussing giving our children a different lifestyle.
Oldtart, no time longer than a week but that is the reason we will make several two week visits then a three month stay on whichever island the family decides will be the place we want to live. None of these stays will be in a resort as we will rent houses to get a better feel for living on the island.
Our current life is way hectic.I work a great deal but have some flexibility as to location. The kids are all involved in various activities and don't get home until 7-8pm weeknights and then it is homework and off to bed. I travel and entertain clients occassionally. Fortunately from Friday afternoon to Monday morning it is all family time. We do get away often during that time.
Our life would be rearranged in that I would be 80% focused on work while I am here and then focused 100% on family while I am there. Actually not trading much quantity but hoping for better quality for family (not just time with me but also overall).
This started at my wife's suggestion/request and we started looking at the site and other information sources a few months ago.
If you think we should be looking at a different please let us know. We found your islands to be very beautiful, relaxing and accomodating. Fully realizing it is not a perfect place and it will be different living there versus visiting.
Thanks again for all your advice.
I'm sure many of the private and parochial schools have tuition adjustments for multiple children and or financial aid programs. Maybe that something you can check into.
You'll want to choose someplace to live that's within proximity to the schools and have all kids in same school or your wife will soon tire of commuting back and forth dropping off and picking up kids.
Good luck however you decide.
I can't comment on any personal experience with the public/private schools but there's been several threads here (should be searchable) discussing the whole public/private school thing, some not so long ago, with folks being very passionate about one or the other, including some teachers. So perhaps don't discount the public schools to quickly without all the facts and PMVs unless money is no object. Maybe the public schools would be a good part of your kids informal education. In any case they should be old enough to weigh in on the school decision with the facts straight, assuming they are not mortified with the whole idea.
It would get old REAL quick. Have known a handful that have done this as well as some who come seasonally. They only do it for a year at most and hate it. I guess if it was MIA and you can Spirit airlines for cheap (or you have plenty of money for tickets on a better airline) its doable. I could never do that nor would I ever allow my husband to be away from me for 20 days a month lol.
No kids and don't want them so 0 advice there.
Would HIGHLY suggest STT vs STX. I can't find tickets from STX to MIA for less than $400 from STX. Flew STT to MIA several times for $200 or less. Going to Morocco in May and its literally cheaper by $200 for me to fly from STX to STT then to NY vs STX to NY. Doesn't make any sense at all.
Sidenote I just bought a ticket to STT for $80 lol!
... Actually not trading much quantity but hoping for better quality for family (not just time with me but also overall)..
Sorry, but I think this expectation is bound to be crushed quite fast. As you'll gather from reading this forum, the majority of couples who move here leave when their children reach school age. Keep researching and read between the lines. Living here demands a very big adjustment for even singles and I can only imagine how difficult it would be with 5 children in tow. Good luck, though, with whatever you decide upon!
I started living on STX 18 years ago, commuting to Atlanta via Delta. No wife or kids, so it was much easier. At the time my friends on STX said I had the best of both worlds....but I wanted to be on island full-time. Eventually found a way to make that work.
Based on your requirements, I would suggest STT due to vastly more air travel options.
I think the USVI is a great place to raise children. Get them involved in sports and other activities. It will be an adventure.
Brought our 15 year old son to STX 6 months ago, as soon as he got over the shock that we actually made the move he has adjusted very well. He has made many friends from many cultural backgrounds which I feel is making him a more rounded person. He does go to private school and this very expensive $ 15 K per year, but we feel worth it as it has helped him with his learning. The commuting might be tough, but it does sound like you have put much thought into it, good luck on your plans, we would not want to be anywhere else !
Do you commute now? I ask because as a loooooong distance commuter (2,400 miles one way, multiple times a month) I think that's it's own special set of adjustments for those new to that kind of life. I'm considering either STT or STX because it actually cuts my commute significantly (down to 1500 miles one way). How can I resist the thought of living on the islands and having a home I get to spend more time in?? I peeked at the flights again with American and for my destination (Charlottesville, VA) the flights were within $100 dollars of each other, and STX was a little cheaper than STT on that particular week. (As a side note, the flight are half as much as what my client is paying now - so it would actually save them $$ overall.)
I have gotten asked A LOT lately "you're putting everything in storage and going for the summer??" followed by "what are you going to DO there??". I feel pretty fortunate that my job allows me to live anywhere now I just need to take advantage of that!