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Relocating for 2 Year Assignment

Relocating for 2 Year Assignment

Old Aug 16th 2023, 12:46 am
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Default Relocating for 2 Year Assignment

Hi all, I am looking for some advice regarding schools and the UK/US education systems. I have searched the forum but I cannot find anyone with a similar situation so hopefully someone can help.

My employer has offered me a 2 year assignment in the US, Chicago or Dallas would be preferred locations but there is some flexibility to move elsewhere. This could be extended to 4 years or maybe even become a permanent move.

I have two daughters currently aged 10 and 13. The move is proposed to happen in January 24 so my youngest will be in Year 6 and eldest in Year 9. Both girls are outgoing and performing well academically so I don't want either of them to be compromised by this move.

Fortunately my employer recognises the critical stage of my eldest daughters education so they will pay for private school for her to complete GCSE's (or other internationally recognised qualification) and offer some flexibility to extend my assignment to allow her to complete the school year in the US but my youngest would currently be expected to attend a public school as the stage of her education is not viewed as being so critical.

This forms the basis of my first question, does anyone have experience of a child moving between the UK/US systems between Year 6 and Year 9? I am concerned that changing between the education systems within a couple of years will mean these two years of education are 'lost' due to the differences in the school systems.

My second question is related to my eldest daughter, there are very limited options to study GCSE's or IGCSE's in the US so the International Baccalaureate Middle Years Program (IB MYP) seems to be a suitable alternative and much more widely available. However, the MYP is only an internationally recognised qualification if the student completes an external assessment (eAssessment) and based on the IB website, out of 747 schools offering the IB MYP only one school offers the eAssessment! Does anyone have any experience in completing the MYP with eAssessment in the US?
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Old Aug 16th 2023, 1:05 am
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Default Re: Relocating for 2 Year Assignment

You should take a look at the British International Schools in the US as one of those may be a solution to your concerns.
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Old Aug 16th 2023, 1:23 am
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Default Re: Relocating for 2 Year Assignment

Thanks Pulaski. I have looked into the British School in Chicago but as this is right in the city to make the commute workable we would realistically need to live in the city. We currently live in a rural village and have a dog so city centre/apartment living isn't really what we are looking for. Houston might be an option as the school is in the suburbs but then I would not be near an office so makes the value of the move questionable.
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Old Aug 16th 2023, 2:28 am
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Default Re: Relocating for 2 Year Assignment

Originally Posted by ChappersUK
Thanks Pulaski. I have looked into the British School in Chicago but as this is right in the city to make the commute workable we would realistically need to live in the city. We currently live in a rural village and have a dog so city centre/apartment living isn't really what we are looking for. Houston might be an option as the school is in the suburbs but then I would not be near an office so makes the value of the move questionable.
Is Charlotte, NC an option for you? While traffic on the south side (where the school is located) isn't the best, it's not bad compared to larger cities, and isn't far from the commuter train line into the city center ("up town" in Charlotte-speak), and there are outer suburbs and rural areas within a short drive of the school.

I think you will find the summer weather in the Charlotte area more agreeable than anywhere in Texas, though it's still hot and sticky, and I am certain you will find the winter weather in Charlotte more agreeable than in Chicago!

Full disclosure: I live in NC, and used to commute into Charlotte, though mostly WFH these days. My wife and I actually visited the British International School in Charlotte (a decade ago) when considering a school for our daughter, though, despite being very impressed with the school, we decided it wasn't the best option for her, primarily because at that time it only offered education to age 16.

Last edited by Pulaski; Aug 16th 2023 at 2:55 am.
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Old Aug 16th 2023, 2:41 am
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Default Re: Relocating for 2 Year Assignment

I hadn't considered Charlotte but it sounds like its worth investigating further. I have been told there is flexibility on location so I'll test that statement and see what the feedback is! As you live in the area how is the airport for direct connections to major US cities?
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Old Aug 16th 2023, 2:51 am
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Default Re: Relocating for 2 Year Assignment

Originally Posted by ChappersUK
I hadn't considered Charlotte but it sounds like its worth investigating further. I have been told there is flexibility on location so I'll test that statement and see what the feedback is! As you live in the area how is the airport for direct connections to major US cities?
CLT is an American Airlines hub, so there are direct flights to almost all major cities, and many lesser ones east of the Mississippi. Other airlines also serve CLT because it is also an international gateway with some flights to Europe, and also to the Caribbean and Central America. The only downside is the ticket prices from CLT are higher than many other airports.
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Old Aug 16th 2023, 6:26 am
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Default Re: Relocating for 2 Year Assignment

Sounds like you're in a very similar position to us - also a 2 year expat assignment with a choice of locations (with potential to stay if we want, we have green cards). We also lived in a rural location in the UK and have dogs, so didn't want a city centre which discounted NYC for us (the British school is in Manhattan), and we wanted to be on the east coast for shorter flight times to/from the UK. We decided on Boston for various reasons and moved here recently, and our son starts at the British school in a couple of weeks. They do GCSE's there, I'd imagine most other British schools offer either the IB or GCSE's as options too? If you think there is a good chance you will return to the UK at the end of 2/2.5 years then locations with a British school are worth shortlisting so your daughter can do GCSE's and then return for A Levels.

What age does your employer offer private schooling for? My husband's company offers it for any child in secondary school, not sure if yours is the same but could be worth negotiating so they can both go to a British school in case you do return?

Best of luck to you.

Last edited by christmasoompa; Aug 16th 2023 at 6:40 am.
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Old Aug 18th 2023, 1:21 pm
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Default Re: Relocating for 2 Year Assignment

Originally Posted by ChappersUK
My employer has offered me a 2 year assignment in the US
From the wording I presume you are excited by this opportunity?
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Old Aug 19th 2023, 6:49 pm
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Default Re: Relocating for 2 Year Assignment

Originally Posted by christmasoompa
Sounds like you're in a very similar position to us - also a 2 year expat assignment with a choice of locations (with potential to stay if we want, we have green cards). We also lived in a rural location in the UK and have dogs, so didn't want a city centre which discounted NYC for us (the British school is in Manhattan), and we wanted to be on the east coast for shorter flight times to/from the UK. We decided on Boston for various reasons and moved here recently, and our son starts at the British school in a couple of weeks. They do GCSE's there, I'd imagine most other British schools offer either the IB or GCSE's as options too? If you think there is a good chance you will return to the UK at the end of 2/2.5 years then locations with a British school are worth shortlisting so your daughter can do GCSE's and then return for A Levels.

What age does your employer offer private schooling for? My husband's company offers it for any child in secondary school, not sure if yours is the same but could be worth negotiating so they can both go to a British school in case you do return?

Best of luck to you.
Unfortunately my employer is only offering to pay for my eldest due to her needing to complete her GCSE’s. I guess they will do the same for my youngest if the assignment is extended.

I think we are settled on going to a British School so just need to decide which city.
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Old Aug 19th 2023, 7:05 pm
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Default Re: Relocating for 2 Year Assignment

Originally Posted by destone
From the wording I presume you are excited by this opportunity?
This is a good question! It is a great opportunity for me career wise but I am also quite apprehensive about the impact such a move might have on my family.

Our life in the UK is pretty good, the kids are settled and doing well at school, my wife has a good job, we have friends and family close by plus we have recently bought and refurbished a beautiful house.

I have always needed a bit of a shove to make any major life changes (changing jobs, moving house etc) so maybe I need to take this offer as the latest ‘shove’ and just go for it!
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Old Aug 20th 2023, 1:16 am
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Default Re: Relocating for 2 Year Assignment

Originally Posted by ChappersUK
This is a good question! It is a great opportunity for me career wise but I am also quite apprehensive about the impact such a move might have on my family.

Our life in the UK is pretty good, the kids are settled and doing well at school, my wife has a good job, we have friends and family close by plus we have recently bought and refurbished a beautiful house.

I have always needed a bit of a shove to make any major life changes (changing jobs, moving house etc) so maybe I need to take this offer as the latest ‘shove’ and just go for it!
Thanks for sharing! Have you spent much time in the US? All that glitters is not gold has been my experience.
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Old Aug 20th 2023, 3:30 am
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Default Re: Relocating for 2 Year Assignment

Originally Posted by ChappersUK
This is a good question! It is a great opportunity for me career wise but I am also quite apprehensive about the impact such a move might have on my family.

Our life in the UK is pretty good, the kids are settled and doing well at school, my wife has a good job, we have friends and family close by plus we have recently bought and refurbished a beautiful house.

I have always needed a bit of a shove to make any major life changes (changing jobs, moving house etc) so maybe I need to take this offer as the latest ‘shove’ and just go for it!

Don't sell your lovely house then.... just taking a 2 year stint in the US might be just that..... so you'll want to return to it.
Presume your wife will have the necessary visa to get a job.... although for just 2 years she'll probably not bother.
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Old Aug 20th 2023, 4:39 am
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Default Re: Relocating for 2 Year Assignment

Originally Posted by destone
.... Have you spent much time in the US? All that glitters is not gold has been my experience.
Others experience differs.

ChappersUK Don't let others rain on your parade even before you arrive. I think, generally, America turns out to be what you expect it to be. If you're not "all in" on the idea, as is sometimes the case with trailing spouses, then you don't enjoy the experience, but if you have your own dreams (whatever they are) of experiencing life in the US then that experience can be fantastic.

In my case, on the day I arrived here to live, I had visited the US IIRC seven times, totalling less than three months. Of that time, one week was the week before I got married, and another was spent interviewing for jobs in New York. My only experience of working in the US was a 2 week assignment to Chicago.

Last edited by Pulaski; Aug 20th 2023 at 5:38 am.
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Old Aug 20th 2023, 5:10 am
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Default Re: Relocating for 2 Year Assignment

Originally Posted by ChappersUK
This is a good question! It is a great opportunity for me career wise but I am also quite apprehensive about the impact such a move might have on my family.

Our life in the UK is pretty good, the kids are settled and doing well at school, my wife has a good job, we have friends and family close by plus we have recently bought and refurbished a beautiful house.

I have always needed a bit of a shove to make any major life changes (changing jobs, moving house etc) so maybe I need to take this offer as the latest ‘shove’ and just go for it!
Again, we were in a very similar situation. We loved our life in the UK, had an amazing house there that we'd renovated ourselves over a decade, and our kids were in great schools. But we've come for the adventure, a new life experience, and the impact it will have on our finances and my husband's career. Frankly it was just too good an opportunity to turn down. We're just going to take it as it comes, make sure we make the most of it whilst we're here, and then we'll see what we think in a year or 18 months. But we are in the fortunate position of being here for our son's last 2 years of school, so if we go back to the UK in 2025 he won't have to adjust to going back to school there, obviously that's different for you.

I wish you the best of luck in deciding.

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Old Aug 23rd 2023, 9:19 pm
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Default Re: Relocating for 2 Year Assignment

Thanks for all your comments.

I have been travelling to the US regularly for the last couple of years with trips often extending over a weekend so I have had time to do ‘normal’ activities (going to mall, walks in local area, colleagues house for BBQ) and not just going between the airport, hotel and office. We have also been on holiday a few times so we have a bit of an idea of what to expect.

Fortunately my company are covering house rental costs so we are not under pressure to sell our home but we may rent it out. Aside from the additional income renting would provide I feel that not having the convenience of an empty house to return to might help us focus on settling in the US.

My wife will have a working visa (we would be on H-1B) as part of the move so once the kids are settled she will probably look for some part time work,

We have decided that the best option for my eldest will be a British school so she can complete her GCSE’s and hopefully slot straight back into A Levels if we return to the UK. I am still in discussion with my company regarding private school for my youngest but if that doesn’t work out hopefully a top rated junior high school will provide a good enough standard of education that she is not too out of sync with the schools in the UK.

I’ve been given freedom to base myself wherever works best for the schools and our lifestyle so I have been looking at Charlotte and Houston as options. I think I am leaning towards Houston as despite the summer heat I like the idea of year round sun plus the schools look good if my youngest ends up at a public school.

The more I look into it all I feel it is a great opportunity to be able to experience life in another country for a couple of years without the commitment of a permanent move.
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