Making a move to th...
 

Making a move to the USVI! Objective assessment needed..  

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wanderer
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February 13, 2015 5:48 pm  

Either you misread my user name or decided for some reason that the new name would better suit me.:D

"T" and "F" are close to each other on the keyboard, so I assume soccerrprp just made a typo. Or perhaps it was a Freudian slip.

soccerrprp, are you content with sending your 4 kids to a public school? A private school for 4 kids would make a big dent in your budget. Also, which island in USVI are you considering? That choice would also affect your cost of living.


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wanderer
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February 13, 2015 5:58 pm  

How have other families you've helped deal with health insurance, education, cost of living?

The Central Intelligence Agency of the United States reports that 30% of the people in USVI live below the poverty line. That's about the same rate as in countries like Bangladesh, Burma, Mongolia, and Turkmenistan.


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CruzanIron
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February 13, 2015 6:09 pm  

In 2012, 47.1 percent of children in grades 3 through 8 scored proficient or higher on the territorial assessment learning exam, VITAL-S. For 11th graders, 37.5 percent of students tested scored proficient or higher in reading.

Results also showed that the territory lagged behind in terms of proficiency in math for grade 11, with 49.9 percent scoring proficient or higher and missing the 52 percent target rate.

http://virginislandsdailynews.com/news/adequate-yearly-progress-scores-majority-of-v-i-schools-leaving-children-behind-1.1459933


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OldTart
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February 13, 2015 6:15 pm  

Oh, crap, sorry about that OldTart! 🙂

I will be making a visit prior to making any final decisions. 1-2 weeks. We are looking at St. Croix, but admit our research is early. We won't make the move until August. We will have substantial savings to make the transition if decided.

TBH, would like to hear the more positive, "can do" suggestions. We continue the research, but would like to hear people like you provide experiences, examples, wisdom to help us make our decision.

How have other families you've helped deal with health insurance, education, cost of living?

Any suggestions would be helpful. Thanks.

Out of the hundreds I've helped the majority were singles and child-free couples and only three as I recall were families with children. Out of the families, only one eventually came here and the others opted out once they'd made a PMV, checked out the schools, job prospects, etc. I would estimate that 90% of the total left within average 5 years and many, many families I've known here over the years have left once their young children reached school age (post kindergarten).

It's hard to list "more positive can-do" suggestions as everyone's experience and expectations are different - but once the in initial flush of island living wears of, a reality sets in which sometimes simply doesn't suit. Which is NOT to say that the majority leaves disgruntled or disillusioned (although some certainly do!). They just move on or back to a life which better suits them for one reason or another.

I would concentrate right now on your PMV and you should ideally come without the children and spend time on both STT and STX seeing what opportunities are there for you where work is concerned, where schooling is concerned and where housing is concerned.


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soccerrprp
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February 13, 2015 6:29 pm  

Jeez. How did the USVI become what it is now?

Will continue our research. Will definitely look into other opps elsewhere. Haven't given up yet, but wish I could hear from families with children and their experience.

THanks all.


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ms411
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February 13, 2015 6:37 pm  

Most families with children don't have time to post on internet forums, I don't think. The best way to hear their stories is to be on island and go to a family friendly event.

I'm trying to figure out how a teacher with 4 kids has time to post!


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wanderer
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February 13, 2015 6:41 pm  

Jeez. How did the USVI become what it is now?

That's a long story, and it deserves its own (heated) discussion thread. I encourage you to do your research and to come for a visit.


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speee1dy
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February 13, 2015 6:42 pm  

are you getting discouraged by what is being posted here?


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wanderer
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February 13, 2015 7:35 pm  

Holy crap

You have said that 3 times already. In Virgin Islands, people don't talk that way. Only 2.2% of VI residents are non-religious. In this part of the world, you may encounter jumbies and chupacabras. They mostly prey on goats, but there have been reported attacks on the islanders who took certain liberties with the island morality.


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rnblade
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February 13, 2015 7:49 pm  

soccerrprp come on a PMV and decide for yourself. I nearly cancelled my trip all together after reading these forums. They can be scary. Everyone has rose colored glasses on when thinking of moving to the islands so the forums tend to talk a bit more about the negatives to even the daydream out some and make sure you have real picture that this is just like everywhere else and life happens it's not a permanent vacation. What I think the forums fail to do is say why the people are so passionate about them and why the ones who stay love it so. From what I have heard most people who come don't stay, but that doesn't mean the trip wasn't worth it for the ones who leave. If nothing else you don't have to say "what if" the rest of your life. For me I know I'm still in the honeymoon phase but I can't imagine leaving. I hope that feeling never goes away. The big difference for you is bringing the kids, you always have to think of their best interest first. So come on down and check out everything and if it's the right choice for you come on down.


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East Ender
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February 13, 2015 8:00 pm  

I will be bringing a family of 6. 4 children all under the age of 11. Youngest 4. The 4-yr old has unusual medical condition, but has not been an issue. She is covered by medicare (something else we need to look into). My wife is a physician and will look into practicing while there, but not full time.

I have never heard of children being covered by Medicare. I thought one had to work 40 quarters to be eligible. Is she on hemodialysis? Did you mean Medicaid?

There are many opportunities for physicians. Please don't let a few people on a relocation forum scare you off. We need doctors and teachers. 🙂 Maybe think about coming to St Thomas and getting a job at Montessori or Antilles. We would be happy to have you over here.


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speee1dy
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February 13, 2015 8:00 pm  

rnblade, great reply


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soccerrprp
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February 13, 2015 8:27 pm  

@EastEnder. Sorry, yes, meant medicaid. We're leaning towards St. Croix, but who knows.:-)

@rnblade: Thanks for that. I will be making a trip down long before making the family move.

@wanderer. I'll try to remember to use the less offensive word "yikes!" next time. I understand that most may identify themselves as christians in the VI. I've lived in parts of the US and the world where most people considered themselves religious....it didn't prevent them from acting like other less convicted people. I am not religious, but guarantee that I will extend as much or more respect for you than many or most believers. From your post, if true, I don't know what's worse, criticism of my use of "holy crap" or the crime, poor public schools, so many talk about.

@ms411: Organizing one's day provides some time for research, posting. 🙂 My PMV will only be me. Planning for early summer.

Thanks all. We continue the research.


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Afriend
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February 13, 2015 8:44 pm  

soccerrprp - i one of your earlier post you implied that you were "heavy in debt". I hope your relocation plan provides for paying off that debt before you move down here (i.e perhaps by using the net proceeds from sale of a home or other assets to satisfy any outstanding debts). When you consider that you'll probably be bringing home less income and encountering higher living expenses it can be very difficult to find "extra money" to pay down any debt you may have.

That's not to say it's a bad idea for you and your family to relocate to the Caribbean but rather with a family of 6 you will have to make sizable (downward) adjustments in your standard of living just to get by, let alone pay offend accumulated debt.

For what it is worth, I can tell you that we found it costs about 30% to 35% more for us to maintain the same lifestyle in the Caribbean as it did for us back in Texas. So keep that in mind while you evaluate your future.

Good luck in your research and I hope you can evaluate whether or not a move is feasible for you.


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East Ender
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February 13, 2015 8:47 pm  

Okay, the problem with Medicaid here is that the financial cut-off is very low. If you are both working, I can't imagine she would qualify. You might want to call Human Services and talk with them. I can see how that might be a deal breaker...


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dougtamjj
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February 13, 2015 10:17 pm  

Hi Soccerrprp,

St. Croix needs and would love some good teachers and doctors. Come and visit to see if St. Croix would be a good fit for you.

I moved here almost 9 years ago with a 2 year old. He's 11 now and never wants to live anywhere else.

The top private school on the island runs between 12 and 14K a year I believe but there are other smaller private schools that don't cost as much. Some people who come from the states do put their children in public school. I know one mother that pulled her children out and I know 4 or 5 other families who have no problems with the public school. Most people from the states try to put their elementary school children at Pearl B. Larson. It is on the East end of the island. There are also home schooled children on the island.

St. Croix has a high crime rate but we have not experience much ourselves. We are not out much after dark and live in a pretty safe neighborhood.

I know of 1 single mother that moved to St. Croix from the states with 3 children. She is on this message board. They have been here for quite a while and seem to be doing well. Maybe she will comment. There is another poster that moved here 4 years ago with 3 children on her own until her husband retired and joined her. They love the island. I don't think either family is wealthy but seem to be able to manage.

Food is expensive but if you are able to eat more like the islanders you can keep costs down.

Electricity is crazy expensive and in my opinion one of the biggest drawbacks to island living. Unless you can convert to solar you may find that you have to live without AC.

You need less clothing here so there is some savings on costly winter clothes. There is no sales tax and if you have a cistern then your water is free as long as we get enough rain.

I think the most important thing to keep in mind is that life is very different here. If you are prepared to adapt to the culture you will do fine. Manners and patience are very important. You will get a lot of respect from crucians if your children are well behaved and polite.

Don't worry about saying crap. The poster that commented on it is a visitor who has been here once and now visiting St. John. I don't think anyone else took offense at all.

Everyone who posts here on a regular basis really tries to help and answer questions. Sometimes we are like mother hens trying to protect you from making a mistake by moving here. So many come here and they hate it when reality sets in. We really don't know what your financial situation is or how adaptable you and your family are.

The best advice is to come for the longest visit you can to see how it is here.

St. Croix is one of the most beautiful places I have ever lived. The people I have met here are the kindest, most helpful, sweetest people I have ever met.

I have two things that I hate about the island. Mosquitoes and centipedes.

Tammy


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soccerrprp
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February 14, 2015 2:20 am  

Okay, the problem with Medicaid here is that the financial cut-off is very low. If you are both working, I can't imagine she would qualify. You might want to call Human Services and talk with them. I can see how that might be a deal breaker...

She's on medicaid and will be until the age of 18. This benefit is not dependent upon income, rather health and her status. We are looking into how her benefits would transfer.


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soccerrprp
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February 14, 2015 2:37 am  

Thank you for this!

We do have debt, but very manageable and with our anticipated combined income (my wife is a doctor and I am a teacher), we will do more than manage in that area. We would rather not send our kids to private schools unless we have to. Thank you for that information regarding schools. THIS is the kind of information I (we) need.

Where are the "safer" neighborhoods. What and how do the islanders eat? We are absolutely open to that! Of course! 🙂 We are a diverse family by every definition. Spent years in the Peace Corps, adapting is not a problem.

Thank you, thank you. I am aware of the crime as described and would never put my family in jeopardy. We continue to discuss our financial, social and medical needs as we consider the move. I am grateful for the information that will help me and my family make a decision either way.

Used to mosquitoes and other lively forms of life...:-D

Thank you.

Hi Soccerrprp,

St. Croix needs and would love some good teachers and doctors. Come and visit to see if St. Croix would be a good fit for you.

I moved here almost 9 years ago with a 2 year old. He's 11 now and never wants to live anywhere else.

The top private school on the island runs between 12 and 14K a year I believe but there are other smaller private schools that don't cost as much. Some people who come from the states do put their children in public school. I know one mother that pulled her children out and I know 4 or 5 other families who have no problems with the public school. Most people from the states try to put their elementary school children at Pearl B. Larson. It is on the East end of the island. There are also home schooled children on the island.

St. Croix has a high crime rate but we have not experience much ourselves. We are not out much after dark and live in a pretty safe neighborhood.

I know of 1 single mother that moved to St. Croix from the states with 3 children. She is on this message board. They have been here for quite a while and seem to be doing well. Maybe she will comment. There is another poster that moved here 4 years ago with 3 children on her own until her husband retired and joined her. They love the island. I don't think either family is wealthy but seem to be able to manage.

Food is expensive but if you are able to eat more like the islanders you can keep costs down.

Electricity is crazy expensive and in my opinion one of the biggest drawbacks to island living. Unless you can convert to solar you may find that you have to live without AC.

You need less clothing here so there is some savings on costly winter clothes. There is no sales tax and if you have a cistern then your water is free as long as we get enough rain.

I think the most important thing to keep in mind is that life is very different here. If you are prepared to adapt to the culture you will do fine. Manners and patience are very important. You will get a lot of respect from crucians if your children are well behaved and polite.

Don't worry about saying crap. The poster that commented on it is a visitor who has been here once and now visiting St. John. I don't think anyone else took offense at all.

Everyone who posts here on a regular basis really tries to help and answer questions. Sometimes we are like mother hens trying to protect you from making a mistake by moving here. So many come here and they hate it when reality sets in. We really don't know what your financial situation is or how adaptable you and your family are.

The best advice is to come for the longest visit you can to see how it is here.

St. Croix is one of the most beautiful places I have ever lived. The people I have met here are the kindest, most helpful, sweetest people I have ever met.

I have two things that I hate about the island. Mosquitoes and centipedes.

Tammy


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dougtamjj
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February 14, 2015 2:45 am  

My son was on medicaid as well until the age of three. We adopted him. It took us 3 years until his adoption was final so medicaid covered him until his adoption was final and we could put him on our insurance.We also qualified for WICK without any income requirements. There are many reasons that children are on medicaid and our country is quite good at taking care of of these children medically. Also the poor, homeless and people who cannot afford insurance. Your child's medicaid should and would have transfered just fine before the ACA. Call a few doctors and the hospital to see what the new policies will mean for your child. The ACA really messed up benefits for those that really need it.


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fdr
 fdr
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February 14, 2015 3:49 am  

If it were me, I'd invest some of that savings into spending at least a week on all three islands to see which was the best fit for my family. It sounds like you have never even visited here, and that's a mighty big leap. An extended PMV can ultimately save a lot of money.


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dougtamjj
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February 14, 2015 3:53 am  

You are most welcome. Diversity is the key to living here. I am hoping that people will either private message you or post. There are some wonderful people that can give you advice. Meowruff, Lilly and her husband are teachers and can let you know what you need to do to teach here. There is another wonderful young couple that moved here couple of years ago. Wife is a PA and husband can do just about anything.They are doing great and very involved in the community. I hope that they will give you some advice. I think that it takes a while to get employment and you just have to hang on with some resources to fall back on until someone hires you. I home school my son but that is a bit hard to find other kids for your children to play with. My son is ok with it as his love is being in the Caribbean Sea 24/7.

It is doable but please come visit first and do more research to make sure that the VI is a good fit for your family.

I don't know what neighborhoods are the safest. I live in Cotton Valley which is on the East end but if I had to do it all over again I might have bought a house on the West end which is considered to have the most crime but the most beautiful beaches. There are gated communities but I never considered living in them.

Keep asking all your questions and hopefullly the really wonderful people here will respond. Please understand that what you think are negative responses are just people trying to help.

Tammy


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klpmtm
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February 14, 2015 8:02 am  

Soccerrprp, my family are also in the process of moving there and I am submitting my application packet for a teaching job as well. If you have any questions about the application process I'd be happy to try and answer them for you as I am going through it as I type.

Tammy, I homeschooled my children for years before finally calling it quits at the end of November. When we make the move my girls would love to meet your son. My girls are 10 & 6 (almost 7). Soccer, your child too.

And anyone else with kids mine would love to make some new friends. They are into soccer, running, swimming/playing at the beach, and are excited to learn how to snorkel and see their first sea turtle.


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STXBob
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February 14, 2015 9:53 am  

I don't know what neighborhoods are the safest. I live in Cotton Valley which is on the East end but if I had to do it all over again I might have bought a house on the West end which is considered to have the most crime but the most beautiful beaches. There are gated communities but I never considered living in them.

FYI, she is referring to St. Croix.


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speee1dy
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February 14, 2015 10:13 am  

stbob, those are on stx


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soccerrprp
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February 14, 2015 12:22 pm  

Thank you all again. I will, of course, be making a PMV before deciding to bring my family over.

@dougtamjj: Thank you. We will having substantial savings and at least one of us a FT job before making the jump. I will likely be the one with the FT job even before we get there. My wife, a physician, will likely have to go through a few hoops before obtaining a position, but from all accounts, it will not be difficult for her to find employment. She's Board Certified but the USVI wants her to take a local exam (talk about redundant :-/).

@klpmtm: Why did you all decide to move down? From where? I have already submitted my application/info. Not a bad process, but not as clear in some areas. I was particularly baffled as to why they needed a "hand-written" essay. Ha ha ha....

I have two boys, will be 11 and 10. Two daughters 7 and 4. As per our diversity (which I am extremely proud), they range from dark African to blonde/blue eyes. 🙂 Oldest kids have played soccer, love the outdoors, camping, but really into minecraft. If we make the decision to move down, it would be amazing to have established some community, connections prior to going down. This certainly would make the transition smoother.

I will continue to remain on this forum until our interest in USVI evaporates, but until then, does anyone have any direct suggestions, ideas of single family (3br) rentals? Did anyone transport a vehicle over there? Expensive?

Great info! Thank you all!


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