When we launched FT Residential, we invited readers to participate in a short survey and share their own expat tales and the lessons they learned. We’ve identified some interesting stories and helpful advice and thought we would share with the group.
Trader Jorge Soltero and his family moved from London to San Juan last summer. They live in Condado, the city’s most fashionable district. A short taxi ride from San Juan’s old town, it offers boutiques, fine-dining restaurants and late-night hotspots.
There are three reasons why my wife, Tori, our two teenage children and I moved to my native San Juan: being closer to family, the lower cost of living, and new business opportunities. After 10 years working as a City trader in London I am now setting up a trading advisory firm.
Most neighbourhoods in San Juan are family friendly, with many parks, playgrounds and plazas. Condado is among those to have direct beach access.
We spend our free time walking around historic old San Juan, paddle surfing and going to outdoor food and music festivals. We like the Fiestas de la Calle San Sebastián — similar in spirit, if not scale, to London’s Notting Hill Carnival.
Public transport is limited so cars are necessary. However, where we live in Condado there is plenty to do within walking distance, such as going for burgers and video games at The Place. Our kids are adjusting to being slightly less independent than they were in London, where they could just hop on the Tube.
Local private schools are very good, with solid records of graduates moving on to university either locally or on the US mainland. They all offer bilingual education and a few are primarily English speaking. Schools generally follow the US curriculum and a few now offer the international baccalaureate, including Baldwin School of Puerto Rico, where our kids go. School fees represent great value compared with London.
What I wish I’d known before moving: Fluency in English for the general population is poorer than I thought it would be.
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Related article: Puerto Rico: An island’s exodus