Angela in Barbados: "It's like the 1980's here, with a much slower pace of life"

  • Angela in Barbados
Published 2 months ago
Angela comes from the UK. Following her stay in Dubai, she moved to Barbados three years ago with her husband who received a job offer there.


Originally from London, I lived in Dubai for 5 years before moving to Barbados. I am a commercial accountant but as a result of becoming a "trailing spouse" have moved to become a small business coach as it's something I can do ...

Where are you from, Angela,and what are you doing nowadays?

I am originally from the UK, but my first expat experience was when we moved to Dubai back in 2007. I am a commercial accountant by trade but now work as a small business coach.

Why did you choose to expatriate to Barbados?

My husband had a job offer here, so I am a "Trailing Spouse".

As an English expat, what where the procedures you had to follow to move there?

As my husband's work took us out there, there was not a lot to do apart from a small medical formality and a police clearance certificate.

How long have you been in the country?

We moved here in 2013.

What has surprised you the most at your arrival?

How expensive food is. Even the local produce in supermarkets is as expensive as the imported goods.

Was it difficult to find accommodation there? What are the types of accommodation which are available there?

There is a variety of accommodation but it came down to location in the end. We started on the west coast, but after a year we moved into the island for a larger place.

What are the local labor market's features? Is it easy for an expat to find a job there?

No, it is very difficult. Unless you have a specific skill that cannot be found locally, you have little chance of working. I am a Fortune 500 experienced accountant and would still never be employed here.

How do you find the local lifestyle?

It's like the 1980's here, with a much slower pace of life.

Have you been able to adapt yourself to the country and to its society?

Only a bit. We are a British mixed race couple, so don't really fit into any local groups. Our friends here are mainly other expats.

What does your every day life look like in Barbados?

It's generally a long 3 hour drive doing the weekly shop. This entails driving from shop to shop around the island in the hope that a shipment has come in with the ingredients you need.

Any particular experience in the country you would like to share with us?

Attending the painting and wine classes called "Paint & Groove" were a turnaround for me when I really started to enjoy the island and awakened the creative side to me.

What is your opinion on the cost of living in Barbados? Is it easy for an expat to live there?

It is very expensive. Although the rental prices are less than what we paid in the UK, the cost of goods is much higher. Salaries are not great either, so it can be hard for an expat to live here. Moreover, salaries are taxable and any tax refund is not paid for about 2 years later. The recent drop in the exchange rates has been a killer too.

How do you spend your leisure time?

Walking the dogs on beach, meeting up with friends or having a beach day.

Your favorite local dishes?

Rum punch. It's simply delicious and lethal.

What do you like the most about the country?

The variety of the coastline. Although the island is small, the coast line varies from north, south, east and west.

What do you miss the most about your home country?

Affordable shopping with a variety.

Would you like to give any advice to soon-to-be expatriates in Barbados?

Ship your furniture over. Furniture here is expensive and not the greatest of quality, along with a limited range.

What has motivated you to write your blog "Another Rum Punch"? How does it help?

I also have a food blog with an international following and noticed that my posts about the island were well received. I decided to expand on this by sharing tales of island living.

What are your plans for the future?

That all depends on my husband's job. He is often offered jobs in other countries, so it's just a decision of where and when.

Expatriate health insurance

Free advice and quotation service to choose your expat health insurance

Save on your moving costs

Get free quotes from international moving companies. Compare prices and services.