Newbie Londoner relocating to Belize '18

Hi All

I'm a new member to Expat.com and I have to say... in the few days I have been reading blogs, posts, forums on this site I have learnt so much already about Belize... so thank you Expat.com. I'm from London England, I'm married with 2 boys, and incidentally I had never really heard about Belize before I met my husband, it has always been his dream to move to Belize, and having spent nearly a month there in January of this year, its also my dream too. So, that really brings me to why I'm on this site, yep we've decided 2018 is going to be the year we finally pack our bags, say goodbye to the shores of England and hello to the Caribbean sea. What's attracted us to Belize apart from the amazing weather, lifestyle and beautiful surroundings is though Belize is so far from the UK it use to be a British Colony, English is their first language and their education system still follows the British education system in part also we  met so many lovely people in Belize earlier this year so we have gained a good insight into what life potentially could be for us and we're very excited. We are under no illusions that we will experience no challenges but that really isn't an issue for us. If anyone could help us with information about schools, we have a son who will be doing his GCSEs in summer '18 so, with the research I've already done pertaining to schools in Belize he will be entering Junior College, we also have a toddler who will be staring reception in '18. We would also like any information or knowledge shared from anyone who has started a new life in Belize with a young family. We would love any information regarding accommodation as we are thinking of renting for the first 6 months and then getting something more permanent. Most of our time spent in Belize was in San Pedro and though we loved it, both my husband and myself found it a little too touristy we have been thinking of maybe spending time Placencia, Punta Gorda.

Welcome!

We are here with our 15, 5, and 3 yos. Been here 2.5 years now. Our 19 yo is in the states. We live just south of Placencia in monkey River. We unschool, so I can't say a whole lot about the schools, but I know there's a decent school in Placencia called Placencia International Academy. I've heard it's Montessori-ish, particularly for littles. There's a junior college across the lagoon in Independence. I can't speak to the quality there. I'm just not sure.
We definitely love the south, though, and Belize is an awesome place to raise kids.

Hi I have a good friend who hails from UK married a Belizean 40+ years ago and has raised 7 great kids. Your oldest could in fact take 'externa'l exams in  the Belize Secondary system including UK  A levels, or the european Bacalauriate (spelling?) exam. My friends children all got into good universities  in Uk and some in other countries and all 7 have good positions in Belize. ( one is a Belize diplomat and 3 are teachers or  school principals, and the others in agriculture, tourism)
Depending on where you are to settle there should be access to good High schools/colleges in all districts. Most complaints about the education system are due to difficulty changing from the very different  north american system and/or returning into that system. My personal knowledge is limited as  I don't have kids in school. There are  2 very good colleges in the Cayo district, that  I do know  of, but if you are wanting coastal location Cayo is as far inland as it gets, but a lovely area.

Thanks Monkey Town Brew

I appreciate the information provided, and I will definitely research a bit more about the schools. We are actually thinking of sending our youngest to a Montessori nursery whilst in London  as learning through play is a great way to learn, so, if we could continue that form of learning in Belize that would be great. My children loved Belize when we visited it was such a shame to bring them back to the UK (not that we don't like the UK, but we feel living in a big city is not the best place to raise a family) but they too are excited about moving to Belize. Have you been living in Belize long? sorry if I missed that in your post but I have my toddler climbing all over me at the moment :) so its possible I have missed something.

Thanks Terrific

Its great to know my son could potentially still do his A Levels in Belize, as that's the route he would have taken if we were to remain in the UK.
I'll definitely do dome more research into the education system, whilst I was in Belize I spoke to parents sending their children to the local primary school and most of what they had to say was all good. Just seeing how well behaved the children were and how smart they looked in their uniforms in part convinced me and my husband that moving to Belize would definitely be a positive thing for the children.

We've been here 2.5 years. And I totally get the toddler crawling all over you! Someone is hanging from my body in one form or another most of the day.

Awwww that's great, as a family we are so looking forward to moving to Belize, just waiting for my son to finish his GCSE and we will then make the big leap, we are all so excited.  Its nice to see other families that have moved from around the world starting a new life in Belize and really making a go of it, it really is an inspiration :)

Definitely get in touch when you get down here!

Oh will do...  :)

My advice: check out the health care situation in Belize. There’s not much of it at a high standard and what there is at one facility in Belize City can be very expensive and somewhat difficult to access in an emergency if you live far away. Good luck

Hi Happy 2018....Great, thanks for your advice. That has been a concern for both my husband and myself as we are so use to accessing the NHS in the UK without any problems or concerns, so health care in Belize is really something we have to explore, could I ask how non Belizeans get round this problem?

I have seen no healthcare here. Only international healthcare that has to be renewed quarterly. Approx. 600 usd. I have seen people taking precautions and avoiding harsh sun, healthy eating, going back to states for major surgeries.

Hospital condition here are not good.

The Belizeans use the doctors and the clinics in the towns and villages and the Hospitals that are available. The big health problems are the lack of hi tech machines and technology. Local Belizens do not pay for  their treatment. At a basic level it works ok but treatments for things like  cancers and heart problems are not really available. Diabetes is a big problem, most medcines are available in the pharmacies,  the dispenser will give out daily doses if a patient can not pay for the whole prescription in one go. Children will usually get their prescription dispensed at the hospital at no cost. The clinics in Belize City are rarely used by the ordinary Belize Family, because of the costs. They do have more technology and are mainly patronized by Expats and government personnel. There are  I think a couple of other Hospitals run by religeous  groups, Loma Luz in Santa Elena being one, these are not much different from the government hospitals but do have fees for the local population. Hope some of this helps
All  local doctors and hospitals are available to Expats too. Dentistry  is considerably less expensive than in the US ( like often only 25% of the price) I don't know how costs line up against non NHS dentistry in UK.  Its been a Long while since I had the luxury of going to see a doctor or the hospital without it costing a bundle, on top of the exhorbitant monthly insurrance fees. I do miss the NHS.

Hi ska8er47499

Thanks for your reply it helps a lot to see how other expats do things in Belize. Healthcare is a big concern for me and hubby esp as we have a very young child at least having an idea of our options will definitely put our minds. At the moment we're leaning towards international healthcare insurance, though we still need to do more research. Thanks again :)

Thanks Terrific... yes long live the NHS.... it really is a gem, though with the political climate over the past few years many people are complaining its going down the pan. I will certainly be researching more about our healthcare options, I believe the NHS will still be accessible but it really is  just logistically a little awkward.
Thanks again for you reply given a much better insight into the healthcare situation in Belize :)

The international health care insurance is of  debateable worth. as the costs of using the basic health care available in Belize would be much less than your premiums.  The actual lack of the hi tech health care  within Belize, that is  covered would be negated  as couldn't be provided. Most folks prefer to take out the repatriation  insurance Policy which will get you to the nearest treatment available outside of Belize for  any actual emergencies.  Actual Pediatric care within Belize is actually good, for regular childhood problems, just not up to treating the  emergency nightmare illnesses we all worry about.
The repatriation insurance should cover returning to your home country so could be worth it to get into the health care you trust in an emergency. Being flown to the US for treatment as a foreigner would bankrupt you very quickly.

If you have concern for health care in Belize esp with children living in the north offsets that a bit with Mexico next door. Terrific is correct in that there are very capable pediatricians in Belize esp at the  Northern Clinic in Orange Walk though the nurses there dont do English last I visted. I was hired to do a  consulting report there for the Belize Nursing Council when I lived in BZ.
Emergency/ trauma/high tech care is non existant though first class in Chetumal Mx

As a Brit, you aren't automatically entitled to NHS treatment unless you've been living in the UK for six months. (Emergencies that arise in UK may be different) When we have visited the UK from Belize we've had to pay for occasional GP visits, which seem expensive and time consuming, even if the medication is free for senior citizens.  Agree that repatriation insurance is a good thing to have, as some international insurance doesn't cover treatment in the US as it's soo much more expensive than elsewhere! However we have stopped dental insurance here, as it would be hard to recover the premium!

Never had that problem on returning to UK I  always have NHS numbers to hand, and we still have finance, Property , pensions, and  pay  UK Taxes all links so maybe that makes it different.     Or could even be that ex Military family always had a moving address in and out of the country so that is reflected somewhere in NHS notes.     I find the Dental work I had done in Belize was easily as good if not better than  work done in US and cost was below 25% of US costs. Haven't used UK dental services for 20 years so can't compare.

We did think of the international insurance but we are family of 6, so it was very expensive. We have a 6, 8, 11 year old with us.

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