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Possible relocation to US

Possible relocation to US

Old Oct 1st 2012, 5:24 pm
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Default Possible relocation to US

Hi,
My company's site in the UK is closing. There is a chance of relocation to either St Louis, Missouri or Framingham, Massachusetts.
I know almost nothing about either of these apart from what I have googled,etc in the last hour or so.
So I have joined the forum to see what people here have to say about them.

If I did move, it would be with my wife, who is originally from East Africa and my two young (under 6) daughters.

The main questions I have so far are:
What are the schools like - would we have to pay for them, how good are they, etc?
Should I worry about racism in these places? I am white btw.

what are peoples general impressions of these areas? If anyone has moved from the UK, are you happy you did, etc?

thanks
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Old Oct 1st 2012, 7:38 pm
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Default Re: Possible relocation to US

Originally Posted by WickyWickyWa View Post
My company's site in the UK is closing. There is a chance of relocation to either St Louis, Missouri or Framingham, Massachusetts.
If the UK site is closing, what visa will you be on that affords you the opportunity to relocate?


I know almost nothing about either of these apart from what I have googled,etc in the last hour or so.
Try www.city-data.com.


If I did move, it would be with my wife, who is originally from East Africa and my two young (under 6) daughters.
Would your wife want to work? The type of visa you get will determine whether or not she's able to.


What are the schools like - would we have to pay for them, how good are they, etc?
All public schools in the US are free to attend - they're paid for through taxes. Private schools and faith-based schools, however, can cost a small fortune.


Should I worry about racism in these places? I am white btw.
I'm guessing the children are bi-racial. I can't see that you'd have a problem in either St. Louis or Framingham; both are culturally diverse.

Ian
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Old Oct 1st 2012, 7:49 pm
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Default Re: Possible relocation to US

Hi,

I just moved to Boston, about 5 weeks ago. In a very similar situation to you, company was closing the UK site and I was re-located to our office in Framingham. We don't have children so I can't speak for schools, but there are a number of nice places to live around Boston and many of my colleagues who have young kids have been able to settle very nicely in to the area.

As for racism, I've not been aware of any .

Framingham is about 20 miles from downtown Boston, which can put you about 30 minutes out or nearly 2 hours if the traffic is bad. In terms of a brit coming into the area, it's a culture shock, but I suspect less than other areas of the US. The landscape is reasonably similar to back home and the city itself is much more European like in nature compared to somewhere like NYC or Houston*.

Like I say, we've been here for 5 weeks so still settling, but so far so good.

Dexter.

* I pick these 2 cities because I have spent some time in them, not for any other reason.
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Old Oct 1st 2012, 8:45 pm
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Default Re: Possible relocation to US

Originally Posted by WickyWickyWa View Post
Hi,
My company's site in the UK is closing. There is a chance of relocation to either St Louis, Missouri or Framingham, Massachusetts.
Framingham will be a lot less of a culture shock than St.Louis. The schools in Framingham are good.....and MA has the best school system of any US state if you go by test scores.
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Old Oct 1st 2012, 9:08 pm
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Default Re: Possible relocation to US

If your current place closes, you won't get a company transfer, so it'll be a H1, next year and the spouse won't work.

Framingham is a shit hole really, if we're being honest, but north Framingham is nice...and there are loads of okay to nice towns around, Sudbury, Ashland, Natick, Holliston etc, etc.

Rt9/20 are utter shards to commute in on though.

Framingham is also little Brazil, which isn't a bad thing. Loads of curry places around too. The schools are a bit meh, but won't be a issue if you live in a nearby towns, which do have great schools.

Plenty of high tech places are based here, Bose, TJM, loads of science and research places.

There's a good MetroWest Brit group on Facebook, do monthly meets ups, mostly in Natick and Framingham, last few meets have either been the BBC pub or Bollywood Grill for a curry and then there's the much more active Boston Brits group.
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Old Oct 1st 2012, 9:18 pm
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Default Re: Possible relocation to US

Originally Posted by Bob View Post
If your current place closes, you won't get a company transfer, so it'll be a H1, next year and the spouse won't work.
I wouldn't discard an L-1, which would give your wife an L-2 and right to work. This would be dependent on your company having an office in a further country outside the US which they can show will not be closed. And meeting the other visa requirements which are either in a management position or having specialist skills, and in either case having a years continuous service in the past 3 years.

I agree with everything else Bob says thought and in particular the commute, I hear from many people this can bit if you're not careful.

Last edited by DexterBerkeley; Oct 1st 2012 at 9:19 pm. Reason: Corrected an inaccuracy
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Old Oct 1st 2012, 9:36 pm
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Default Re: Possible relocation to US

Originally Posted by DexterBerkeley View Post
I agree with everything else Bob says thought and in particular the commute, I hear from many people this can bit if you're not careful.
Rt9 is a cock, there's no way to describe how shit it is during the morning and evening. 15 mile run into Framingham after 7:15am can take an hour....likewise heading into Boston can be 1-1.5hrs...you leave before 7:15 and it's 20-25 min drive. It's made so much worse in winter, where the roads are pretty poor in Framingham.

Rt20 is just a carpark and don't even think about getting anywhere, it's all single lane too, which makes it worse. Though you can bounce off and run down Rt 27 towards Wayland, head down a side street in Cochituate and that puts you in the business parks area of Framingham, where BJ's, Ben and Jerry's is. No GPS will tell you about it and it's horridly bad in winter especially when it snows, but if you don't mind breaking a ball on a pot hole, it's quick....plus if you then go past the business park, you can swing in next door to BJ's/Stop and Shop and go to the J&M Diner for breakfast/lunch. Best diner in the metrowest, fact.

Oh anyway, Rt30 is marginally better, but not really, unless you're out bound, but like above, you can find some horrid back streets to avoid the mess, especially if you've got to get to the Wholefoods end of town.

The mall isn't entirely shit either, but don't even think about going in the month of December, unless you suck up for valet parking as you can easily spend 2 hours trying to find a spot to park the car in one of the lots there.

Edit: I should add, there's a commuter rail...but if you're in bound it's only a bit poo, if you're out bound, it's really poo...also shit all parking, if you were thinking of using that to head into Boston, also uncovered and it's a mare in winter. There's very little public transport to get you around town, there is a little bus that'll get to down town from the rail stop, but it's like hourly in the morning, really a bit poo and you wouldn't want to rely on it in the winter. You definitely don't want to be cycling in Framingham and walking just won't work.

Last edited by Bob; Oct 1st 2012 at 9:43 pm. Reason: commuter rail info.
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Old Oct 1st 2012, 11:42 pm
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Default Re: Possible relocation to US

Originally Posted by Bob View Post
Rt9 is a cock, there's no way to describe how shit it is during the morning and evening. 15 mile run into Framingham after 7:15am can take an hour....likewise heading into Boston can be 1-1.5hrs...you leave before 7:15 and it's 20-25 min drive. It's made so much worse in winter, where the roads are pretty poor in Framingham.

Rt20 is just a carpark and don't even think about getting anywhere, it's all single lane too, which makes it worse. Though you can bounce off and run down Rt 27 towards Wayland, head down a side street in Cochituate and that puts you in the business parks area of Framingham, where BJ's, Ben and Jerry's is. No GPS will tell you about it and it's horridly bad in winter especially when it snows, but if you don't mind breaking a ball on a pot hole, it's quick....plus if you then go past the business park, you can swing in next door to BJ's/Stop and Shop and go to the J&M Diner for breakfast/lunch. Best diner in the metrowest, fact.

Oh anyway, Rt30 is marginally better, but not really, unless you're out bound, but like above, you can find some horrid back streets to avoid the mess, especially if you've got to get to the Wholefoods end of town.

The mall isn't entirely shit either, but don't even think about going in the month of December, unless you suck up for valet parking as you can easily spend 2 hours trying to find a spot to park the car in one of the lots there.

Edit: I should add, there's a commuter rail...but if you're in bound it's only a bit poo, if you're out bound, it's really poo...also shit all parking, if you were thinking of using that to head into Boston, also uncovered and it's a mare in winter. There's very little public transport to get you around town, there is a little bus that'll get to down town from the rail stop, but it's like hourly in the morning, really a bit poo and you wouldn't want to rely on it in the winter. You definitely don't want to be cycling in Framingham and walking just won't work.
I can see you enjoy your commute. I commute on the Mass Pike every morning....but as I am going from Boston to Worcester I very seldom hit traffic.

To the OP, don't be unduly put off by the commuting horrors of Metro West Boston. Framingham is an ok place with good schools and there are lots of fantastic places to live around it with amazing school systems. Boston is a great place to live.

PS avoid expat Brit groups. After going to a couple many years ago, I now understand the Australian opinion of the British a lot better.
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Old Oct 2nd 2012, 12:16 am
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Default Re: Possible relocation to US

Originally Posted by nun View Post
I can see you enjoy your commute. I commute on the Mass Pike every morning....but as I am going from Boston to Worcester I very seldom hit traffic.

To the OP, don't be unduly put off by the commuting horrors of Metro West Boston. Framingham is an ok place with good schools and there are lots of fantastic places to live around it with amazing school systems. Boston is a great place to live.

PS avoid expat Brit groups. After going to a couple many years ago, I now understand the Australian opinion of the British a lot better.
Exit 13 on the Pike to get to Framingham...that punts you on Rt 30...it's a couple miles from exit to where Rt 30 hits Speen St. That takes 20 mins in the morning, worse in winter.

One year when it snowed, it took me 6 hours to do 4.5 miles. That was a delight

Anyway....Framingham as a town to live in, it is shit. As a place to go and work, it's pretty good, there's a lot of decent pubs and shops to hang out in. The neighbouring towns are nice and there are ways to get around the commuting horror once you figure out the back roads.

Loads of good stuff for families to do things for cheap/free too, so it's not all bad.

As for the ex-pat groups, the Metrowest one is a lot better than the Boston one, IMO, not so much for size, but just the crowd. Saying that, in the last year, the Boston group has sprung a lot of off shoots, there's a North and South Shore as well as a Quincy group, so different crowd of people. Good places to figure out where to watch sporting events if you're into that and if into footie/rugby/netball/cricket, plenty of teams play. Not to keen on the monthly Thursday piss up in Boston though, something a little Brits in Spain to it, but it's a good place to meet folks and the holiday themed stuff like Halloween and Christmas are pretty good.
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Old Oct 2nd 2012, 4:35 am
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Default Re: Possible relocation to US

St Louis is a fine big city. good and bad.
it's no culture shock as opposed to anywhere else in the USA.

I'd rather live here than the east coast any day.

enjoy the rat race out east B.
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Old Oct 2nd 2012, 9:48 am
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Default Re: Possible relocation to US

Originally Posted by Bob View Post
plus if you then go past the business park, you can swing in next door to BJ's/Stop and Shop and go to the J&M Diner for breakfast/lunch. Best diner in the metrowest, fact.
if you get nothing else from all of Bob's wise words, remember the above. The best diner in the whole area. Go early, go hungry!
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Old Oct 2nd 2012, 1:25 pm
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Default Re: Possible relocation to US

Originally Posted by Manc View Post
St Louis is a fine big city. good and bad.
it's no culture shock as opposed to anywhere else in the USA.

I'd rather live here than the east coast any day.

enjoy the rat race out east B.

My preference for Boston is based on visits I've made to St Louis and friends opinions who have spent time at both Washington University and Harvard.
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Old Oct 2nd 2012, 1:30 pm
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Default Re: Possible relocation to US

Hi - thanks for all the responses. More than I expected. I'll try to respond to the points:
Visas: Haven't got that far yet. My wife does work here (at the current site) too, so she could possibly transfer too. If we could do without her working I would prefer that, but that would depend on the money side of things.

The site is actually in Framingham so I guess we would live somewhere around there so would not have to commute into Boston itself everyday. Hopefully that would alleviate some of the traffic issues (sounds like we might have to get a 4x4 though lol).

Our kids are mixed race, yes.
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Old Oct 2nd 2012, 9:22 pm
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Default Re: Possible relocation to US

Originally Posted by WickyWickyWa View Post

The site is actually in Framingham so I guess we would live somewhere around there so would not have to commute into Boston itself everyday. Hopefully that would alleviate some of the traffic issues (sounds like we might have to get a 4x4 though lol).
Traffic is hell in Framingham in the morning, pretty much everywhere along the commuter rail into Boston. It's alleviated if you're heading on the pike out bound, but then you get stuck with all the people trying to get into town.

You don't really need a 4x4....though if you're on the motor way daily, it'll be nice.

It's a pretty multicultural area, lot of ex-pats work in the area, French, German and Brits. But it really is little Brazil down town.

There's definitely worse places to go and work. Plus Chicken Bones, one of the best wing restaurants around is also in the town.

Need to go visit either cities though but read the small print about winter issues in Framingham when looking for rentals, no idea about St Louis, but stuff like snow removal, town rubbish collections, off street parking ability etc, all changes depending on which town you live in and some things can be great or you can live with, others can just be a ball ache, such as having to use a town dump, something like $400 for a annual dump sticker in Southborough next door, but $3 a town bag where you can fill as much as you can in Natick and everything in between. Oh and kids that use the school bus in Natick, it's around $400 a year extra, but most other towns don't charge extra, it all comes from property taxes.
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Old Oct 29th 2012, 2:39 pm
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Default Re: Possible relocation to US

Just want to say, in St Louis this morning we're not boarding up our windows or sandbagging the basement walls.......
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