Pros and cons of moving to PR with kids

Hi!
  My husband and I are considering a move to PR in the summer.  We have two kids ages 7 and 10.  I was wondering if anyone had any feedback/advice on the pros and cons of moving to PR with kids.  My biggest concerns are the schools, safety and where to live.  My husband would be working in San Juan.  Thank you for your input!  I really appreciate it!

Allison

Hi Allison04,
Welcome to the Forum.

Since your husband will be working in San Juan, your are likely to want to live in the metro area since it has a lot of facilities and is close to work.

Children do complicates matters as there is the issue of schools and making new friends. But many have made the transition just fine. If the children can speak Spanish it makes it easier.
There are several options such as Home schooling, Private schools and english only schools. I would suggest you look at the top of the page for the search field and enter school or schooling and read thru those first also search for kids and children.

There is a lot of information already posted that is likely to get you started and let you refine your questions.

It is likely the family does not speak Spanish so communities like Condado, Isla Verde and Old San Juan are likely to be good choices for you. Unfortunately those areas are a little more expensive than the rest of the island and some areas can be significantly more.

Post your questions by starting a new subject and we will try to answer. By the Way Dora787 lives in the general area of Condado and has children, I seen several of her post on the subject. Also suzanne12345 has children and she is in the Metro area, both would likely be good choices to speak with.

Rincon is not for you if your husband works in San Juan unless you plan to have two places to live or he does not mind 3 1/2 hours of heavy traffics each way (Rush Hour) or 2 1/2 hours with light traffic off hours.

You may want to reading with this link: https://www.expat.com/forum/viewtopic.php?id=517934

Read up and welcome to the Forum, hope you decide to move to PR.
Rey

HI Alison04,

Welcome to Expat.com :)

I have created a new thread with your post on the Puerto Rico forum.
Now that you have your own thread, please feel free to post your questions and to interact with other members.

Thanks,

Priscilla  :cheers:

My family, husband and two kids 9&11 moved here in January.  My kids go to a private school on the boarder of San Juan and Guaynabo.  We moved not because of a job but of a lifestyle change.  I am from the midwest and the bubble we were living in was getting very small.  It was time to move my kids someplace different and a place they can learn fluent Spanish.  My kids are thriving here and they love their school and friends.  They have no desire to go back.  And ...as long as they feel that way, then we are here to stay.
If you are open minded and laid back you will like it here.  There are challenges just like any place but you have to learn to take the good with the bad.  This is an Island  and things run differently than in the states.  Sometimes good, sometimes bad.  You have to get involved with school, your neighborhood and any extra activities your kids my be doing.  That will be the only way you are going to meet people and feel at home.  The people here are very kind and more than willing to help you out with anything.  Plus, there is a large network of Americans that live here and there are activities and clubs you can join with them also.  Life is good here when you consider it is summer all year long.  The vegetation is green, the sun shines everyday and the ocean is only a few miles from my house.  Not sure I can think of a better place to be right now.

Thank you so much for your reply Marathomama!  I am also from the Midwest (Iowa) and feel a lot like you.  Part of me wants to play it safe and stay in the states and the other part of me wants to take on a new adventure!  After reading through most of the posts on this site I haven't read anything terrible about living in PR. 

Was it difficult to find housing?  Did you buy a house or do you rent.

Cheers!
Allison

Thanks!!

We are renting currently with an option to buy. My suggestion would be to rent first while you figure out the area you want to be in or even if you like it here. The economy is bad which is good for a home buyer not so good for a home seller.  So rent first for sure, because if you buy and don't like it, your house just may sit on the market for a long time.
Also, find your school first. You don't want to live too far from your chosen school as the traffic can be bad.  As far as safety, I do feel safe here.  Of course there are places you avoid and places you avoid at night.  That is usually in the city area.  It was the same in the city where I was from so I don't feel much different.  You will see a lot of police around, quite frankly I don't think they do much anyway. But, they are here.   I feel very safe with my kids at school and feel safe leaving my son at baseball practice while I run errands.  It is a leap from the states but a good one.  I have found that the "safety" net we develop around ourselves in the states ins't always the right thing for our kids.  My kids love school here because they have more freedom in the school then they ever did at home.  Still they have rules to follow but they are given more independence and I think that has helped them to feel more confident with themselves and their choices. 
If you haven't visited yet, you should.  Bring your kids and make some appointments to tour through some of the schools on the island.  Drive through areas you think you might be interested in living.  You are welcome to private message me if you want to talk at anytime.  I am always available to answer any questions.

Hi Allison- marathonmomma and I because friends through this. We came here temporarily for my husbands job but will be staying till my kids all graduate high school. Puerto rico has it's frustrating moments but I think it's a great opp for all of us, and I love so much about this island. Feel free to message me and yes, you should come and visit!

A couple more things - we rent an apt in condado walking distance to our school and love living in the city. We were in Northern VA suburbs before coming here and all of us, plus dogs, have adjusted well to apt and city living!

We live in Ansco my kids are 16 and 12 they also attend private school and love it, its been since July 2016 and we are all enjoying the area.

Private school are not free ? What is the cost of you have to sign up your kids in priqvate school

We just enrolled our 3 at academia regional Adventista este in rio grande. It was $1500 year for enrollment for all 3, not ea. Uniforms were about $45 ea. (They need 1 for reg school, 1 for PE.  Then we had to pay for books, school supplies. Plus $500 a month for all 3. Lunch is included w price. I found quite a few of their books on amazon to help cut cost. My  kids don't speak spanish so we didn't have much choice. They teach in English till 6th grade

Planning to move back home with grandkids ages 10,9,6,4 very limited Spanish Im afraid of  the school the health insurance very hard decision but I'm ready to go back home

Hi Sandy
I do not have sufficient information to help much from your post.
If the kids don't know Spanish they will need to learn it and there are schools that teach in English, to my knowledge they are private schools which are not cheap.
Health in the island is mostly about patience and time, the quality is good but you have to wait for service.

Depending on your finances, you can either have private insurance or you can use the MiSalud program which is equivalent to medicare.

Without knowing where you will leave is is difficult for members with kids to recommend you a school. We have public schools and some are better that others but they are mostly in Spanish. I don't have kids so I could be wrong on that.

Give the members a few days to login and add to my post.

Thank you well ideal I will be in Rio Grande that where my mother house is but i may  have to be in Rio Piedras en la De Diego renting a apartment in Crystal House to my mother house is available , well I look at it like I move away when I was 18 to Boston now moving back at 51 years old with 4 grandkids and I didn't  speak no English and I struggle both im fluent in both so they may learn and adjust quick .

Sandy66 :

Thank you well ideal I will be in Rio Grande that where my mother house is but i may  have to be in Rio Piedras en la De Diego renting a apartment in Crystal House to my mother house is available , well I look at it like I move away when I was 18 to Boston now moving back at 51 years old with 4 grandkids and I didn't  speak no English and I struggle both im fluent in both so they may learn and adjust quick .

Here is a link about the schools: http://cepr.cespr.org/ceprd/index.asp best over all information about schools you would get from locals since they are there and read the papers and listen to the news and accomplishments. Check with your parents to see if they know somebody using those schools you may be considering.

With that many kids you may need 4 or 5 bedroom apartments which are expensive and the 5 bedroom apartment may be super hard to find the few are seen are over 2k a month. Not sure if you qualify for section 8 but that could also be an option, I would not consider a  "Caserios" as a place to live and bring up kids. A typical 3-4 bedroom apt in Rio Piedras can range between 500-900 a month.

Here is a listing that may help give you an idea of cost in the private sector: http://www.clasificadosonline.com/UDRen … -+Busqueda
Price goes up quickly the more bedrooms.

I was born in PR and I grow up in a Caserio and I'm very proud of that but not looks mg forward to go back home to one , like i said my mom own her house in Rio Grande is rent it right now i need to way to be empty for me to move in just worry about school but I'm f I did it out here is can be done out there I have a lot of family and support in PR

Sandy66 :

I was born in PR and I grow up in a Caserio and I'm very proud of that but not looks mg forward to go back home to one , like i said my mom own her house in Rio Grande is rent it right now i need to way to be empty for me to move in just worry about school but I'm f I did it out here is can be done out there I have a lot of family and support in PR

Caserios lately have been seeing a lot of shooting related to drugs, kids are also being recruited as lookout, selling drugs, carriers, and all sorts. Don't think a kid should be in the wrong place at the wrong time when two drug lords decide to fight for territory.

Yes definitely not my first or last choice I have my mom house that I can have is just adjusting and finding a job

Hi,
We are considering moving to PR in a couple of years with our son who will be 10 at that time and who has some long-term health challenges - neuromuscular difficulties. I'm wondering where I should begin to look for the right place to live for us - obviously need good school and also want to be not too far fro the beach. I don't know where to begin. Any advice would be appreciated!
Abby

Sorry to be honest. But a move here would be bad for your child.  This isnt the states.  Medical and schools here a far from being good and those are the private schools.  My child  came here and spoke no spanish, they couldnt provide him help such as in the states they have esl.  Finding a goid dr here is an issue as well.   Dont add aggravation into your childs life by moving here.  You have options to move to counties that the xhildren speak multiple languages and that widely teach English.  Many countries have better health care then in the US.  I have no idea why you have chosen puerto rico but i can help you find a better country to suit your families needs.  I love it here,  however i xam tell you we will nit allow our child to attend a school here ever again.  First hand horror stories about the healthcare here as well
I am sorry but i have to be honest with you

Thanks for your thoughts. Schools are concerning. I had seen decent reviews for private schools. I am less concerned with health care as we would bring him to the states probably for his annual checkups and if surgeries were required. We want to move to a warmer climate and of course the tax incentives are attractive with Puerto Rico in addition to it being part of the US, but I'd love to hear any other ideas you have.

Plese review what you think the tax incentive are. Unless you are making alot of money there is no rela tax incentive savings

We loved our child's school in Aguadilla and will be enrolling them there again when we move back in 2019. And even at $70,000/year, if you qualify for Act 20/22, there are some small tax savings to be had. I agree that it's not the states and that things can be difficult, but my kids loved PR, we loved their school in PR (Much better education than their public school here in AR).

My main gripe is that "Bilingual School" in my experience means bilingual for the spanish speaking kids, english only for the english speaking kids. I have spoken with several "bilingual" schools in the NW and I haven't found one yet that will actually teach my kids to speak spanish, which is a real bummer.

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