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Advice about Moving to Barbados

Advice about Moving to Barbados

Old Jun 2nd 2009, 6:00 pm
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Default Advice about Moving to Barbados

Hi folks,

I have just been offered a job in Barbados, and need to make a decision ASAP. I have lived in Africa and Latin America before, but have never been to the Caribbean. I wanted to see if anyone had advice for me, regarding the following questions:

1) What is it like to live in Bridgetown? Is it easy to make friends that are both Bajan and expats? I am a 29 year old single female, and definitely don't want to just hang out with expats when I get there.
2) What are costs of living like? Will $43,000 US be enough to live comfortably for a year?
3) The job requires 40% travel to other islands. Would that make it difficult to establish a community in Bridgetown, since I will often be travelling, or is the city so small that meeting people will be easy.
4) What have been other single young women's experience working with local organizations. I will be working with all Bajans, and will be the only foreigner?

Any advice would be wonderful! Thanks!
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Old Jun 2nd 2009, 7:09 pm
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Default Re: Advice about Moving to Barbados

Hello and welcome,

Lots of great folks on this forum who will be happy to answer your questions. I'll start with a few points:

Not many people live right in Bridgetown but rather around it. Bridgetown is mostly tourist shopping and corporate offices, not dwellings. So, you'd need to decide which part of the island you'd like to make your home.

If you read through the threads on this forum, you'll find lots of discussion on making local friends vs. expat friends. As a woman, it's harder to make local friends.

Cost of living is high. $43,000USD sounds a little on the low side for living here, esp. as the sole income-earner. If your work is paying for your accommodations then that might be different.

Travelling shouldn't put too big a damper on your life. I travel almost that much and still have good friends here. You just have to put yourself out there and make an effort

The company offering you a job should be putting through the paperwork for your work permit, so keep that in mind as you can't work here without it. Take a look through some of the threads posted by others and you'll learn a lot, also.

Good luck!
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Old Jun 2nd 2009, 7:53 pm
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Default Re: Advice about Moving to Barbados

US$43,000 - well it's all relative isn't it? There are poor Bajans living on BDS$15,000 here and barely scraping by, on the other hand it's very easy to live like a millionaire!

Cost of living is high so I think the best thing is to assess what you like spending money on and what isn't so important - for me, the benefits of living in perpetual sunshine on a (mostly) friendly island far away from the tired and concrete-grey UK make up for more expensive food and utilities.
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Old Jun 2nd 2009, 11:35 pm
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Default Re: Advice about Moving to Barbados

Thanks for the info. I want to clarify, that the $43,000 US a year will be subject to Barbados taxes, which I believe is almost 30% (?!) I will also not receive a housing or car allowance.

Do people think that this will be enough? I definitely don't need to live an extravagant lifestyle, but I also don't want to feel like I am restricted on social activities. How much are transportation costs (taxis, buses etc) if you dont have a car?

Also, what neighborhoods do people recommend to live in? I'd like to stay clear of the overly touristy areas, and am looking for places to go out that attract a more progressive, diverse crowd.

Thanks!
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Old Jun 2nd 2009, 11:38 pm
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Default Re: Advice about Moving to Barbados

It is more than enough...trust me.You just have to be savvy. This advice is coming from me, the crazy girl that went to NYC with $43.00 to my name, it can be done anywhere!

I can point you in the direction of affordable options for food, drinks, etc. It can be done.
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Old Jun 2nd 2009, 11:45 pm
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Default Re: Advice about Moving to Barbados

Totally agree with Zanne - you probably won't be eating in West Coast restaurants EVERY night, but you'll have a great social life and it really is lots more than probably the majority of people on the island live on.

In terms of areas, if you're looking for more of a young, diverse crowd, I'd probably recommend the South coast. Personally, I live on the West coast and I have found that lots of ex-pats up here are older and geared to quite traditional social activities (which sometimes I enjoy) but when I fancy just a good booze-up I head South.
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Old Jun 3rd 2009, 12:05 am
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Default Re: Advice about Moving to Barbados

I've been reading through these posts, and a lot of expats mentioned frustrations at not being able to make Bajan friends. Are there any expats with other experiences? I am a bit concerned that as a young looking white woman (people often think I'm 18), I may get judged or written off my people, even though I will be working with local, community-based organizations. Does anyone have any experience to the contrary? I have generally had great luck making local friends in other countries, but have never been to the Caribbean before.
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Old Jun 3rd 2009, 12:07 am
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Default Re: Advice about Moving to Barbados

johnslice that's me to a tee...don't worry because when you meet the true, old fashioned Bajans they will be very welcoming. Trust me.
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Old Jun 3rd 2009, 10:41 am
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Default Re: Advice about Moving to Barbados

Johnslice, for the first little while that you are here, you'll be treated like a tourist. People will ask you where you're from, how long you'll be here, etc. But after a while, a strange and gradual transformation will occur - and people will just know that you live here. It's many little things combined: slight change in accent, looking like you know where you're going, saying "good afternoon" instead of "hi" and things like that.

I was on cloud nine just last week when, twice in 2 days, people asked me if I was Barbadian. Yahoo! They knew I wasn't a tourist!
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Old Jun 3rd 2009, 12:31 pm
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Default Re: Advice about Moving to Barbados

Ditto on the accent - I had a bajan ask me where I was from originally before moving to Barbados and I was only on holiday there. hehe.

I will be living in a local village in St Peter, and so already have some local female friends there but I know some people struggle.

A lot of ex pats live on the south coast (as do the majority on here I think), but some do live in St James (west coast). I am looking for ex pat friends from my neck of the woods, so if you fancy living in St Peter/St Lucy, feel free as I would love some ex pat 'local' friends!! lol.

I am sure that you will be ok on that wage. My mother in law to be earns less than bds20,000 a year I think ($10,000 usd) and is able to run a small 3 bedroom house. She does live a 'local' life i.e. doesnt eat out at fancy restaurants, but still has a good life.
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Old Jun 3rd 2009, 4:02 pm
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Default Re: Advice about Moving to Barbados

I think US$43,000 is good money in Barbados!! That's $86,000 before tax. After tax - you are looking at around $5k take home a month - NICEEEE place for $2000 - to me, thats good living if you have $3k a month to play with as a single girl.
To me, I would negotiate a trip down here to visit, or do it off your own back. The Caribbean is very different to both Latin America and Africa.
It is easy peasy to make friends - we will welcome you!!
I think its very important to keep an open mind about Bajans - there is good and bad everywhere .....personally, I love them - find them friendly, welcoming, happy people and I can't wait to move there in a couple of months after visiting the island for nearly 10 years as a tourist. I wouldn't want to do that if I didnt totally love the place.
Its what you make it hon.....its a fabulous place and it will be an amazing experience if you come with an open mind and heart!
And those are my thoughts of today
(will be back later, en route to Chicago...)

Last edited by Brunettebunny; Jun 3rd 2009 at 4:10 pm.
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Old Jun 3rd 2009, 6:02 pm
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Default Re: Advice about Moving to Barbados

Originally Posted by Brunettebunny View Post
I think US$43,000 is good money in Barbados!! That's $86,000 before tax. After tax - you are looking at around $5k take home a month - NICEEEE place for $2000 - to me, thats good living if you have $3k a month to play with as a single girl.
Oh! hahahaha omg I'm so bad at math... That makes way more sense when you put it that way. Good job, BB!
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Old Jun 3rd 2009, 6:07 pm
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Default Re: Advice about Moving to Barbados

no, its $43,000 BEFORE taxes. are taxes really 50% then it would end up being $21,500. and the job doesnt cover housing, transportation, or anything like that
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Old Jun 3rd 2009, 6:11 pm
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Default Re: Advice about Moving to Barbados

Yes I know - that was how I did my calculations

US$43,0000 gross is BBD$86,000 gross
Its 30% tax - so my calculations above are right, you will come out with about BBD$5,000 a month net after deductions.
The bus is $1.50, a car will cost you anywhere between US$5-7,000 second hand. Gas is cheap enough.


Originally Posted by johnslice View Post
no, its $43,000 BEFORE taxes. are taxes really 50% then it would end up being $21,500. and the job doesnt cover housing, transportation, or anything like that
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Old Jun 3rd 2009, 6:12 pm
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Default Re: Advice about Moving to Barbados

you may be confused as I am talking Barbados Dollar figures, not US. After rent, you would come out with about $3000 Barbados, OR $1500 US for transport, food, etc etc etc.



Originally Posted by johnslice View Post
no, its $43,000 BEFORE taxes. are taxes really 50% then it would end up being $21,500. and the job doesnt cover housing, transportation, or anything like that
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