Raising Expat Children in Port Vila

Hi everyone,
We are a family of 4 that are considering moving to Port Vila next year. All is up in the air at this point in time, but I am researching as much as I can.
We have 2 daughters aged 10 and 13 and I am most concerned about their experiences.
If anyone would be happy to share their thoughts of raising children in Vanuatu I would greatly appreciate it.
A big concern is the non-available senior schooling (Grade 11 and 12) and how others have overcome this. I am assuming boarding school comes into play?
Any thoughts or stories???
Thank you, Susan

Hello susan.w and welcome to Expay blog :)

I hope that you'll receive some prompt feedbacks.

In the meantime, you may browse the other discussions of the  Schools & studies in Vanuatu Forum for better insights.


Karen :)

Hi Susan, unfortunately I don't think you will get much from this site lots of people look but don't answer maybe I could be wrong on this subject. I can't help you with anything on schooling but I can say there are quite a few expat children here that go to the international school, its a different lifestyle here that's for sure, you do sort of live in a bird cage if that makes sense, most expats have guard dogs so there houses don't get robbed, we live in malapoa area and have two dogs but they do get teased by some of the locals. I don't want to scare you but I would seriously come here quite a few times for a month or so each time to experience the real vanautu, yes some of the locals are lovely smiley people but you do get some bad ones, we thought it would be an awesome experience to live here and get to know expats but for some reason they like keeping to themselves sad really, we are actually leaving after 8 months of living here, we are heading back to Nz and may head to Fiji where its cheaper, Vanuatu is expensive. Any other questions I would be more than happy to give you honest answers just pm me.

Wow thank you Danya for your reply and time. Safety is a huge concern of mine, as I would never forgive myself if something happened to any one of us. As my husband would need to be back in Aust/NZ regularly too it is not a good thing for me and my daughters to be at home alone I don't think :(
Maybe we need to make it instead of once a year coming back we come back to stay twice a year ;)
Thanks for your time, I very much appreciate it!

Hi Susan, We found it lovely living there, safe, friendly and the scenery was fantastic. The schooling is an issue when the children get older, home schooling or boarding is the only option. We are now back in the Cook Islands. now that is a different kettle of fish. Safe, very friendly and the schooling is ok, with just a touch up from parents from time to time. 4 hours from NZ with great weather, It is cheaper to live here than Vanuatu, but that really depends on the lifestyle you want to live.

Hi Susan,
Have been living here nearly 12months and have found everyday very interesting. It is Definately different to holidaying here. I have really enjoyed my time here we have 5 children who 4 attend Port Vila Central School, (this school goes to yr 13i) which they are loving the experience, PVIS is also a good school for expat children but with the expense we decided on Port Vila Central and also for our children to experience the real island life, they go to school in thongs over here and it's nothing for them to come one bare foot, they are really enjoying it. As for crime etc. we are very careful, we make sure everything is locked up safely and like anywhere you just have to be aware of things.  I have found it hard meeting friends but have slowly just started to meet a couple of lovely ladies whom I feel like I have known for a lifetime. We were married over here 12 yrs ago so Vanuatu holds a special place in out heart. If your needing to know anything else feel free to ask :) ..... It is truly a very amazing experience!

I read your post and I wanted to ask you about Port Vila Central School, if that's OK. Could you please tell me what curriculum they follow, especially for the last two years and whether this gives them a university entrance for Australia or New Zealand?

I would appreciate any other information that you have, as we are considering a move in Jan but have a 16yo and 14 yo.

susan.w :

Safety is a huge concern of mine, as I would never forgive myself if something happened to any one of us. As my husband would need to be back in Aust/NZ regularly too it is not a good thing for me and my daughters to be at home alone I don't think

There is also the danger of illnesses and the health care available. It's many, many years since we lived in Vila (as it was called then), when I was laid up with malaria and hepatitis. Just last week I blogged on my website about our experiences then. (If you click on my name you will come to the site; the title is "Phoning Princess Margaret") I sincerely hope things have changed a lot for the better since that time, but I imagine malaria will still be endemic - with its varieties Dengue, Blackwater Fever, etc.

By the way, we loved our three years there, despite the sicknesses!

Hi Terese,
Port Vila Central is a wonderful school I will have to find out more about the curriculum for the higher grades as mine are in year 5,3 and 2, actually my children have just been selected for leaders of the school next year. The school work that comes home is the exactly the same as what the children had in Australia, it's very similar. There is an Australian principal which is leaving at the end of the year but has done a wonderful job. If interested I can find out more for you if you like. As for my children they are really thriving over here, they now get up to do public speaking, in Australia they would never do this!! They have really matured a lot over here. The Ni-van people take education very seriously especially when they have to pay for it.I have also seen in the local newspaper that you can also do the HSC  over here to the Australian Curriculum but I can also get more info regarding this if you like.There is also a International School which also is wonderful and im sure they follow the Austrailan curriculum. As for illness we haven't had anything bad happen, there is a health centre we go to and is an Australian doctor and also has an emergency 24hr service with visiting specialist as well. There are also the Pro Medical Ambulance as well who also are very good. I have taken out insurance for medivac incase its ever needed and was a lot cheaper than most insurance companies, its also peace of mind. Malaria is a concern I havent heard of many cases here and the local dr told me its mainly the north island you have to be careful of or if you travel to the outer islands, but we still try to prevent it as much as we can like using sprays and cover up being out at night etc. just need to be cautious like everything. Hope I've helped a bit :)

Thanks for your detailed reply. I would love to know where they can do the NSW HSC please if you are able to find out. I would really appreciate it. Do the schools (apart from PVIS, which I have now seen) have websites?
We have lived in the tropics and some very remote places, so not really put off by most things. I think it sounds like a wonderful place all things considered.:)

Hi Terese

Could you  please tell me which company you used to buy your insurance from as we are still looking around. We are looking at coming over in July /August 2014 with our two girls age 11and 15. We will look at houses and schools as well my husband and myself came over a few years ago and loved it. We are from South Africa but now live in England. Could you tell me what the internet is like as my husband uses it for work.

my email is  juannettepettitt[at]

Juannette :)

Hello, I am interested to know the cost for elementary school. Also, can I bring my household goods ( books, papers, photos) to vanuatu or does the weather take a toll?. Thank you in advance for your reply.

Hi Terese,
My husband is from Africa . We currently live in the USA but are looking to re-locate to port villa. We have a 9 year old daughter.  I would like to exchange information. We are arriving in port vila on 2/15/14. Really looking forward to hands on research.

Hi Terese, just wondering if you made the move to Port Vila. If so how is it going and what did you decide upon for education? Thanks, Susan

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