Uk- palo alto what i’ve learnt 1 month in – british expats electricity worksheets high school

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So, we’ve here a month now and I thought I’d post about how things are going so far and a few important things for anyone thinking about moving or in the process of moving to this area. Just things that I wish I’d known ahead of time or things I’ve learnt since arriving here, hopefully it’s helpful to someone!

You cannot sort out a school place prior to your arrival in the country and securing a residence. Schools are allocated to a catchment similar to UK. Once you have arrived and have an address you can go to the schools office (here it’s the PAUSD office) and register your child/children. You will need proof of address, passports, visa information etc and they will assign a school to you (hopefully your local but that is dependent on spaces, our older two are in a school which is a 15 minute drive away).

Most importantly, your kids will need to get a test for TB and a test or proof (medical records or doctor’s letter) that they have had chicken pox (varicella). You can do that in the UK beforehand but we did both here at our local CVS walk-in pharmacy. It’s expensive but luckily we could claim back via my husband’s company. It’s a really good idea to get copies of all your family GP & Dental records.

We couldn’t do anything on our medical cover because we didn’t have SSN (social security) numbers at this point. You have to go to a Social Security Office with all your documentation in order to be assigned an SSN number and then your SSN card is mailed to you, which takes about a week. You can just turn up, take a number ticket and wait your turn. It took about two hours for us, but I’ve been told that is an unusually long wait.

In Palo Alto and surrounding neighborhoods, expect to pay upwards of $5-6k a month for a 3 bed place. And they will most likely not be too big and not be high spec or even recently decorated. I was really surprised what was on offer for the money. It’s mind-blowing!

Property here moves FAST, especially in Summer so you need to be ready to sign a contract the day you see something. My husband and I came out a month before we moved, spent two days looking at places and signed a contract less than a hour before we had to leave for the airport. You won’t have any credit history, so you’ll need your employment contract with salary details.

Getting anything on credit will be more expensive because of the lack of credit history. Sucks, but just how it is. Here it’s very common for people to not have a credit history because there’s such a large expat community of professionals, so you’ll be able to get lease agreements on cars for example, but they’ll be at a higher rate. You need to build up your credit score. We’ve been advised to pay for things on credit card, but never exceed 50% of the card max and make sure you never miss a payment!

Not too bad at all. I was terrified, having never driven an automatic, wrong side of the road and most cars here resemble small tanks! But lanes are wide, parking bays big and there’s always plenty of parking. You’re supposed to book in to transfer to a California license within two weeks but it’s very relaxed here. I’ve just done my theory test (you can download free apps for practice, test’s relatively easy) and we’re booked in a few weeks time for the practical. You will need your own vehicle for the practical and someone with a full California license must drive you!

2. Safeway (not like Safeway back home! Great fruit and veg and general supermarkety stuff) Be prepared, it’s expensive. I nearly died first time. GO TO HELP DESK AND PICK UP A SAFEWAY LOYALTY CARD. It knocks about 30% off the ticket price per item.

I think that’s about it! Other than to say, so far me and the family are loving it here (even though the cost of living is astronomical). The weather is great, the people are so friendly and most people here have been in the ‘new kid’ position so they’re really eager to help you.

So, we’ve here a month now and I thought I’d post about how things are going so far and a few important things for anyone thinking about moving or in the process of moving to this area. Just things that I wish I’d known ahead of time or things I’ve learnt since arriving here, hopefully it’s helpful to someone!

You cannot sort out a school place prior to your arrival in the country and securing a residence. Schools are allocated to a catchment similar to UK. Once you have arrived and have an address you can go to the schools office (here it’s the PAUSD office) and register your child/children. You will need proof of address, passports, visa information etc and they will assign a school to you (hopefully your local but that is dependent on spaces, our older two are in a school which is a 15 minute drive away).

Most importantly, your kids will need to get a test for TB and a test or proof (medical records or doctor’s letter) that they have had chicken pox (varicella). You can do that in the UK beforehand but we did both here at our local CVS walk-in pharmacy. It’s expensive but luckily we could claim back via my husband’s company. It’s a really good idea to get copies of all your family GP & Dental records.

We couldn’t do anything on our medical cover because we didn’t have SSN (social security) numbers at this point. You have to go to a Social Security Office with all your documentation in order to be assigned an SSN number and then your SSN card is mailed to you, which takes about a week. You can just turn up, take a number ticket and wait your turn. It took about two hours for us, but I’ve been told that is an unusually long wait.

In Palo Alto and surrounding neighborhoods, expect to pay upwards of $5-6k a month for a 3 bed place. And they will most likely not be too big and not be high spec or even recently decorated. I was really surprised what was on offer for the money. It’s mind-blowing!

Property here moves FAST, especially in Summer so you need to be ready to sign a contract the day you see something. My husband and I came out a month before we moved, spent two days looking at places and signed a contract less than a hour before we had to leave for the airport. You won’t have any credit history, so you’ll need your employment contract with salary details.

Getting anything on credit will be more expensive because of the lack of credit history. Sucks, but just how it is. Here it’s very common for people to not have a credit history because there’s such a large expat community of professionals, so you’ll be able to get lease agreements on cars for example, but they’ll be at a higher rate. You need to build up your credit score. We’ve been advised to pay for things on credit card, but never exceed 50% of the card max and make sure you never miss a payment!

Not too bad at all. I was terrified, having never driven an automatic, wrong side of the road and most cars here resemble small tanks! But lanes are wide, parking bays big and there’s always plenty of parking. You’re supposed to book in to transfer to a California license within two weeks but it’s very relaxed here. I’ve just done my theory test (you can download free apps for practice, test’s relatively easy) and we’re booked in a few weeks time for the practical. You will need your own vehicle for the practical and someone with a full California license must drive you!

2. Safeway (not like Safeway back home! Great fruit and veg and general supermarkety stuff) Be prepared, it’s expensive. I nearly died first time. GO TO HELP DESK AND PICK UP A SAFEWAY LOYALTY CARD. It knocks about 30% off the ticket price per item.

I think that’s about it! Other than to say, so far me and the family are loving it here (even though the cost of living is astronomical). The weather is great, the people are so friendly and most people here have been in the ‘new kid’ position so they’re really eager to help you.