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Relocating this summer  

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Brams3
(@Brams3)
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April 6, 2017 11:40 pm  

I am relocating to St. John this summer (probably end of July/early August). I already have plans to visit July 9-12 to find employment and housing. I am worried about the lack of housing options available (I have been keeping an eye on Craigslist for months). I know that Connections usually has some information in their offices. I also attempted to join the "St. John Accommodations" group on FB (my request has been pending for a month or two). I have been to the island before and am well researched. But, being a planner, I would love any suggestions or helpful hints on how to find decent housing. It would be much appreciated. Thanks!


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stjohnjulie
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April 7, 2017 6:41 am  

Finding housing while not on island will be tough. I definitely do NOT recommend renting sight unseen. When you get here, go to Connections in Cruz Bay and check out the board. You will find housing, jobs, things for sale, and notices. This will be your best bet probably. Word of mouth is the next best way. It's hard to find anything right now since we are still pretty busy here. Things will start open up a bit after Carnival (July 4) and you will have more options as we head into September. You can also try Scenic Properties. 340-693-7777. They are one of the only places that does long term rental management. Again, I wouldn't rent sight unseen, I'd wait until you get here before you get serious about renting a place. What is your budget? I can keep an eye out and let you know if I hear of anything that meets your needs.


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fdr
 fdr
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April 7, 2017 2:13 pm  

Congrats on the big move, Brams3. A four-day visit is ambitious for lining up both a job and a place to live. Do you know some people on island already?

stjohnjulie is spot-on; Craigslist has very few real listings for St John rentals, and any sight-unseen rental is a pretty big gamble. I find that online listings are often overpriced also, because reasonably priced apartments in decent shape usually rent quickly by word of mouth alone.

In case you don't find a place when you visit, I would recommend saving extra $ for a short-term place to stay when you actually move here, then check the Connections board and spend time networking and visiting every available place that's near your budget. There are other St John Facebook groups (not just the housing one) that you can join and post your housing needs. In summertime, landlords are sometimes more flexible on rent prices, and you may find a temporary off-season arrangement for a few months while you look something longer term.

Usually October is the busy time for hiring in the tourism and restaurant businesses - August and September can be really slow. Villa maintenance is super busy in late summer and early fall, though, so if you can fix things, there's plenty of work. What kind of job are you looking for?


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Brams3
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April 8, 2017 9:58 pm  

Thanks so much for responding so quickly! I do know a couple people on island, but I don't want to put them out by asking for all kinds of help. Fdr, I am a teacher but also have experience working on boats and in retail. I am a quick learner and would be willing to take whatever job I could get until more options open up in October.

Thanks stohnjulie for the recommendation about Scenic properties. I didn't know about them yet. I know my short trip in July is ambitious but I was hoping that at least showing my face will let renters and employers know I'm serious about the move. I have been stalking every Facebook group with St. John in the title, if you have any specific ones that you find are more helpful than others, I'd love any suggestions.

I am trying to keep a reasonable budget as far as renting goes, but I have saved up enough to get me through a few months in case I can't get what I want right away. I would like to stay around $1000 or less, and am willing to live with a roommate or two. I am trying to be flexible because I know beggars can't be choosers.

Thanks again for your help! I hope my ambition for finding something in three days works out, but if not, I will take your advice and look for something short term.


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fdr
 fdr
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April 8, 2017 10:13 pm  

I'd focus on either the job search or the apartment search during your PMV, probably the apartment search. Things move slowly here, and someone who is obviously in a rush may discover after the fact that hurrying has worked against achieving the goal.

We always need teachers. Boats and retail are unlikely to do much hiring til just before season begins, October-November.

Good luck to you!


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Dannyvw
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April 9, 2017 5:44 am  

I am trying to keep a reasonable budget as far as renting goes, but I have saved up enough to get me through a few months in case I can't get what I want right away. I would like to stay around $1000 or less, and am willing to live with a roommate or two.

I'm heading down (tentatively) in june for PMV...I'll keep my eye out as I need to be budget minded and am considering roommate(s). Networking on this site might help mutual causes.

Danny


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Brams3
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April 9, 2017 12:33 pm  

That's great! Thank you for responding. Let me know if you find anything decent!


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Brams3
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April 9, 2017 12:41 pm  

I'd focus on either the job search or the apartment search during your PMV, probably the apartment search. Things move slowly here, and someone who is obviously in a rush may discover after the fact that hurrying has worked against achieving the goal.

We always need teachers. Boats and retail are unlikely to do much hiring til just before season begins, October-November.

Good luck to you!

Thanks for the advice. I agree, I don't want to look too much like a pasty, rushed New Englander and put people off. I am determined to slow down, that's one of the reasons for my move. That and to use exposure therapy to get over my fear of bugs.

I will focus my trip on finding a place to live and getting re-acclimated and re-familiarize myself with the island. I really appreciate your taking the time to help me out.


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Alana33
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April 9, 2017 4:41 pm  

There's a big difference between living on STJ and living on STT.
Workwise, it's best to live on the island you work on.
Commuting gets tedious and expensive when you have to pay for ferries, safari taxis every day and spend the time waiting for them, getting back and forth and walking to your destination as the safaris drop off on main roads. It'll get old fast and eat up time that can be spent doing more enjoyable things.
Good luck.


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Brams3
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April 9, 2017 8:31 pm  

There's a big difference between living on STJ and living on STT.
Workwise, it's best to live on the island you work on.

Thanks for the advice. Yes, I'm definitely planning on living on STJ. I don't want to deal with the ferry every day. I already commute almost 2 hours a day up here in Massachusetts. I don't want to worry about that down on the island.


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stjohnjulie
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May 5, 2017 2:14 pm  

Not sure if you are part of this FB page... "St. John, USVI Stuff for Sale". A roommate situation just popped up on there for $700/mo + utilities. Doesn't fit your timeline... but it might be worth keeping an eye out for that one. I actually lived in that place for about 6 years and really liked it. It's close to town and Dolphin Market, so a not having a car isn't a big problem. When I lived there, I never drove to work (Wharfside Village).


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Brams3
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May 6, 2017 11:48 am  

Thank you! I will definitely join that group. My move is slowly creeping closer and I've been waiting to contact people about housing until it's reasonable timeline-wise.

On another note, I applied for a position at the private school. Any helpful suggestions on how I can make sure they know I'm serious about moving and not just another person playing around with the idea that is going to flake out at the last minute?


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Alana33
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May 6, 2017 12:42 pm  

Call them.


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stjohnjulie
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May 7, 2017 9:06 am  

As with any potential job, repeated contact. Do you have an interview set as of yet? If you are speaking about Gifft Hill School, when my son attended there pre K - 4th, they had no issues hiring people who weren't on island. The turn over rate was terrible. My son had teachers quit early-mid year in 1st -4th. Well, in 1st, that teacher was fired for assaulting my son when she cracked under pressure. They didn't have a hiring policy back then. I helped them put one together (they needed it for reaccreditation) but I have no idea if they follow it. One of the things I really pushed for is for the school to set new to island teachers with an on island mentor to help them adjust to island life. Not sure if they do that or not. My son hasn't gone to that school since 2010.

Have you looked into the public schools as well? They always seem to have spots they cannot fill. My younger son attends the public school and I know that the beginning of the school year they had three classes without permanent teachers, and no school nurse either.


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Brams3
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May 7, 2017 8:50 pm  

Wow, I'm so sorry that happened to your son. That must have been a very difficult situation to deal with. I hope he's had better luck with teachers since then.

I currently teach in a high performing public school and I love my job. I just need more sunlight 😉 I don't have an interview set up yet, I did get a response from the Administrative Assistant that said she was forwarding my info to the head of school. I figure that was a good thing, at least they didn't delete my email and application right away!

I haven't looked into the public schools yet. I know you have to jump through a bunch of hoops to get hired there. I am certified for MA but I think I'd have to take another set of (expensive) tests in order to get public school certified for the VI.

Thanks for the advice though! I will look into it and see if there are any public school openings too!


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SP1206
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May 8, 2017 10:18 am  

As far as public schools go. Do you have a teaching certificate? Have you taken and passed the Praxis 1 and 2 tests? If so, you should be fine to teach public school.


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Brams3
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May 9, 2017 8:29 pm  

I have certification for Massachusetts, but we have a different set of tests (the MTEL which is similar to the Praxis tests) to get certified. I'm not sure if there's reciprocity for VI. I don't want to have to pay a couple hundred dollars for another set of tests for certification.


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Alana33
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May 9, 2017 10:42 pm  

You'll need to be licensed and certified here.
Best contact school and find out what's required.


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SP1206
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May 10, 2017 8:07 am  

We have several Philippino teachers here that have several years to obtain their Praxis certification. So you could spread that cost out. Plus, you will have medical coverage. Just thoughts. The paper work is a lot but isn't that much.

Good luck.


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Brams3
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May 10, 2017 11:28 pm  

Thanks, I am concerned about health insurance. Any suggestions on insurance that is reasonable? I can't keep my Massachusetts insurance, it's ridiculously expensive.


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Brams3
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June 18, 2017 12:45 pm  

Good news! I have been offered a teaching job on island! That is a huge weight that has been lifted and I am so excited!

Due to the location of my employment I need to bring a car down. I have a couple of options and I would love for some opinions on the pros and cons of each:

*I can buy a car down there but I'm concerned about the "red tape" I might encounter in trying to get everything ironed out. I'm also concerned about how expensive cars are on island as well as I don't know what kind of condition the car is in.

*I can purchase a car where I'm living now and ship it there. I'm concerned again about the "red tape" and hoops I have to jump through to get it down there.

Also, I'm wondering about insurance. Are there insurance companies down there through which I could insure my car? Or should I keep my current stateside insurance?

Thanks everyone for all the help. I apologize if this is a redundant post and you have to repeat yourself to answer me. I'm so appreciative of any advice you can give.


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Scubadoo
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June 18, 2017 1:29 pm  

Well for starters you will have to get insurance on island. Insurance doesn't go state to state let alone to a territory. There are many discussions on the forum on shipping cars in. You can work with shipping companies and others to take care of all the red tape to get the car on island, registered, inspected, insured. It's generally recommended to ship one in vs. buying one local. If the car is actually made in the USA as indicated by the VIN you will not have to pay duty on it. Be aware that you will need clear title and typically stateside lenders will not allow the car to be shipped out of the states with a loan on it.


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stxsailor
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June 19, 2017 1:07 pm  

If you have military family member, USAA will insure vehicles down here.


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Brams3
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June 21, 2017 12:49 pm  

Thanks! I am looking into insurance companies on island and I've contacted a bunch of transport companies. Does anyone have experience with either Top of the Line Transport or International Logistics Solutions? Thanks again for all your advice and help!


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stjohnjulie
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June 22, 2017 6:57 am  

I have used ILS twice for shipping a car and having them take care of the registration. All said and done, both times, it was close to $2500 for each. I would probably use them again if I ever bought a car stateside in the future even though I actually do a ton of logistics for work just so I don't have to burn a day or two on STT getting it done. You will need to get insurance in the islands (if you can't get what stxsailor mentioned) and that can't be done without the Bill of Lading, which you can't get until the ship sails. St. John Insurance is where most people on St. John insure their cars. PGU is another. That is who I use, but their office hours are limited so they are not as convenient for a lot of people.

If the car you are shipping is 'new' enough (I think with Crowley/ILS it can't be more than 6 years old) get the shipping insurance. And take lots of pictures before you release the car to the shipper. I had a car shipped down the end of January and it ended up being bumped because the boat was full and had to sit in their lot for an extra week where it picked up a LOT of dings. Nothing huge, and stuff that was going to happen eventually being here anyhow, but I am still not too happy about it. The car was too old to be eligible for shippers insurance so I am just SOL.


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