Moving to the rock
My fiancé and I will be moving to St. Thomas early October. (right after we get married) She is a Speech Pathologist and I have a degree in adventure activities. I’ve spent a lot of time chilaxin on the island…..but don’t know much about the work situation there. Ideally my wife will find work in her field….I am willing and ready to do anything that brings home the green… I am planning a trip down early in September to secure an apartment and hopefully a vehicle. If anyone has any advice or suggestions they would be greatly appreciated….mostly in regards to housing or the work situation….thanks
The work situation is getting grimmer & grimmer. Sorry to be the bearer of bad news. Your fiance might find employment but the economy is rapidly becoming worse here so this fall might be awful. Check the classified board on this site (click on forum list up top) for rentals and when you get on-island pick up the Island Trader but don't rent sight unseen. Good luck & best wishes on your upcoming marriage.
Come with a lot of extra money to hold you over until you can secure employment. As for the time to secure employment could be a very long time.
Oh man, the economy is bad all over it seems. Another reason why we both would love to step away from main stream (so to speak) and into a slower more satisfying style of life….on the island…I spent over a month down there, made some friends, enjoyed the people…island life suits me well….I think it will suit us both well..
Im trying to make connections with realtors on island…and we are both saving money for the move. Thanks for the advice on not renting until I see a place...and the best wishes…
As for brining enough money to hold us over….if you were to guess…what would that amount be?
No one can tell you how much YOU need other than to say figure out what YOU need to support YOUR lifestyle for a fixed period of time (say a month) then muplitply that by the numberr of months you think it will take you to find a job (how long that woill be is anyone's guess) add some extra for contingencies. Whatever YOUR monthly number is add extra for contingencies and put enough aside so you'll have enough left for a ticket back home if things don't work out..
Personally, I'd have at least 6 to 12 months in my nest egg. YOU may need more or less!!!
I think most of us that have lived here for a while can guesstimate what you'll need depending on the island and what type of place you want to live in. STT is more expensive then Stx, I would set aside atleast $1500 a month for rent for a one bedroom (you should be able to find something cheaper but then again you might not). To move into a apartment here you will need first, last and deposit. So save that plus atleast 3 months rent to give you time to find a job. Cheap island car is about 2 to 5k. Double whatever you're spending on groceries right now. Don't plan on going out much, if you do hit happy hours or the beach it's free. Good chance you will want to double your current electric bill. You will need deposits to get your electric turned on and so on.
The rule of thumb is usually at least 10k and honestly you can go through that so quickly here it will make your head spin.
Thanks again to every one….We were both hoping to find something for $1000 or less that included utilities…not really that picky on where we live….hopefully this is a reasonable guesstimation for rent….perhaps not. As the time grows closer it will be easer to tell if we can do this…but right now…its all systems go….both of us saving every penny we can. What I am mostly concerned about is the job situation…which seems rather grim from what I have read here…..is it really so hard to find work? Even if you are willing to do almost any kind of work? We just need enough to pay the bills….both of us live very humbly…so if we can find work….island life should be good….
As for groceries, I remember being surprised at the price….because it is just like where I am now….Canada….EXPENSIVE….so at least the food cost wont be a shock for me…
Keep the advice coming…and thanks again every one who finds time to respond…
If you are not American citizens, you said you live in Canada, it may be an issue finding a job here - we are a US territory and generally go by Federal Law.
"We were both hoping to find something for $1000 or less that included utilities."
You might find a studio or very small 1 bedroom for $1k but it will not include utilities. Stt is a tougher market. I would pay more and be in a safer area, especially until you get the lay of the land. Also furnished places cost more.
Jobs are hard to find. Sometimes you get lucky and find one your first week. But usually it either involves good networking (who you know) or waiting 2 or 3 months. People are losing their jobs here and they don't have the option of driving to another city or county to get work so all the jobs are sought after. More business are shutting down then opening. Get your health card as soon as you get there so you'll be eligible for waiter/kitchen jobs.
So sad….seems very discouraging….at least I am a U.S. citizen. I have just been living in Canada for a few years. Wow…3 months to find work….
Ill work on the networking….I have a few friends down there who might be able to help me out…thanks for the advice on a finding a good neighborhood….what areas would you try to avoid entirely?
So, to find a job that is like a career job sounds like it's a little difficult. Would you say it is difficult to find a job as a cook/server/bar tending if you have a lot of experience as well??
"….what areas would you try to avoid entirely?"
You'll be able to tell when you get here. Living by the dump in Bovoni wouldn't be my idea of paradise. The area around Lionel Roberts stadium is another. You'll find humble homes near mansions here so it's not so cut & dried what's good & what's not.
KevoCleary, it's hard to say since what little high season we had is over now so this summer is an unknown other than it won't be a good one. Depends probably on how many of the seasonal workers go back & how many bars/restaurants make it.
caribbean.craigslist.com I have seen numerous studios and one bedroom apartments in that price range including utilities.
You can find anything cheap but would you want to live in it?
Thats why we say always see it in person. Cheap quite often means bad apt or bad neighborhood here. To get the cheap apt you need to live here awhile and get to know people. If a landlord knows you personnally and knows you'll take care of the place well he might give you a discount. Right now the rental market is not doing great so you may be able to find a deal when you get here or by then it might be doing well again. Hard to say.
2fer: There are SLP jobs with the Department of Education. I'll bet just about anything there are SLP jobs in America also, probably paying twice as much. So, is it that you want to live here, or is it that you want to make money?
You can look at www.career.vi, another job resource.
East finder......seems a strage question....If we wanted to make money we would move to california....both looking forward like onthe island....just need money to pay bills...and enjoy the sand and sun........
2fer: I didn't mean for it to sound strange. Often young married folk are looking to make money, save for a house, etc. As an SLP with the Dept of Ed here, she would probably make less than $30,000. Now, she is very much needed, but there is something very strange about the government 's salary negotiations. I would recommend that you both come see the lay of the land before committing to moving here. I am having trouble finding the Education web site to link for you. It is something like teachislandsvi, but Google is not cooperating.
Starting salary is $31,920 for a bachelor's degree and $34, something with a masters. It is the almost the same salary scale as ours here in FL. You can see all the jobs at the teachusvi web site.
Good luck! I taught Spanish in STX in 1982 and could not speak a word of it!
they gave me a rolling cart with a tape recorder, books for the kids and a tape. I would come into the classroom, pass out the books to the kids and press PLAY. The kids just followed along in the book to learn Spanish......pretty cool huh?
P.S make sure you take the PRAXIS before applying for a job in the USVI.
A Spanish teacher who doesn't speak a word of Spanish isn't "cool" -- VI students deserve better.
Hey, thanks for all the info...the saving for a house will come...but not yet. My wife has her masters.....hopefuly finding a job wont be an issue for her. I am a bit concerned for myself though, my degree is in adventure programing...I dont expect to find work related to my field and will prob just look for any job I can get. Ill be on island in September....to look for work and housing....wish me luck...and thanks again for all the adivce and help...
Thank you, dnt! I was using teach islands, so that was the problem. http://www.teachusvi.net/
currant: Speech-Language Pathologists have a minimum of a Master's and start at much higher than $34,000 in the states.
2fer: If your wife is serious, she should get moving on talking to them now for next fall. You didn't say if she is a U.S. citizen or Canadian, but I know Education has been helping teachers from other countries get green cards. Does she have her Cs? Good luck!