Luxembourg City, Luxembourg Report of what it's like to live there - 08/27/12

Personal Experiences from Luxembourg City, Luxembourg

Luxembourg City, Luxembourg 08/27/12

Background:

1. Was this post your first expatriate experience? If not, what other cities have you lived in as an expat?

Fourth expat experience.

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2. What is your home city/country? How long is the trip to post from there, with what connections? How easy/difficult is it to travel to this city/country?

East coast US. Connecting flights thru major hubs in Western Europe. It takes about 12 hours total.

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3. How long have you lived here?

Two years.

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4. What brought you to this city (e.g. diplomatic mission, business, NGO, teaching, retirement, etc.)?

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Housing, Groceries & Food:

1. What is your housing like? What are typical housing sizes, locations, and commute times for expatriates?

Everything is close. Even though this is a small country, there's never any problem parking, you can get to anywhere it seems within 30 minutes. Housing can range from apartments near the city center to houses in the burbs.

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2. How would you describe the availability and cost of groceries and household supplies relative to your home country?

About the same as the cost in major cities in the U.S.

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3. What household or grocery items do you wish you had shipped to post?

Nothing - you can get everything here.

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4. What typical restaurants, food delivery services, and/or takeout options are popular among expatriates?

Yes, there's fast food, but who would need it when you've got all these cafes? It's expensive here, no doubt - but look where you're living. You don't come here to save money if you're on assignment, unless of course if you are looking for a lower tax liability which it's heard is the reason there are so many international companies here.

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5. Are there any unusual problems with insects or other infestations in housing?

None.

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Daily Life:

1. How do you send and receive your letters and package mail? Are local postal facilities adequate?

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2. What is the availability and cost of household help, and what types of help are typically employed by expatriates?

US$15 an hour.

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3. What kinds of gyms or other sports/workout facilities are available? Are they expensive?

yes, but they are a bit pricey.

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4. Are credit cards widely accepted and safe to use locally? Are ATMs common and do you recommend using them? Are they safe to use?

No problems.

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5. What English-language religious services are available locally?

Yes.

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6. English-language newspapers and TV available? Cost?

Yes.

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7. How much of the local language do you need for daily living? Are local language classes/tutors available and affordable?

Not much. Most speak at least three languages, of which one is usually English.

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8. Would someone with physical disabilities have difficulties living in this city?

Not as much as other places. This is a city/country that has a great infrastructure and appears to respond to the needs of many.

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Transportation:

1. Are local buses, trams, trains or taxis safe and affordable?

As expensive as major cities in U.S.

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2. What kind of car do you recommend bringing to post, given the terrain, availability of parts, burglary/carjacking risks, etc.? What kind of car do you advise not to bring?

Think of suburban U.S. Diesels are great because fuel is relatively expensive and they get better mileage.

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Phone & Internet:

1. Is high-speed home Internet access available? How long does it typically take to install it after arrival?

Yes, comparable to the U.S.

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2. Do you have any recommendations regarding mobile phones? Did you keep your home-country plan or use a local provider?

Same as U.S.

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Pets:

1. Are qualified veterinarians and/or good kennel services available? Do animals need to be quarantined upon entry to the country? Are there other considerations regarding pets that are particular to this country?

No.

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2. Quality pet care available (vets & kennels)?

Yes.

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Employment & Volunteer Opportunities:

1. What types of jobs do most expatriate spouses/partners have? Locally based or telecommuting? Full-time or part-time? Can you comment on local salary scales?

Only if you can get a visa which means typically you must be an EU resident. Otherwise, you're out of luck.

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2. What is the typical dress code at work and in public places? Is formal dress ever required?

Business attire for work. Relatively conservative in public.

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Health & Safety:

1. Are there personal security concerns to be aware of at this post? Please describe.

No.

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2. Are there any particular health concerns? What is the quality of available medical care? What medical conditions typically require medical evacuation?

There is a fully developed medical system although one often hears odd stories about medical treatment.

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3. What is the air quality like at post (good/moderate/bad)? Are there seasonal air quality issues? Does the air quality have an impact on health?

Fantastic.

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4. What is the overall climate: is it extremely hot or cold, wet or dry, at any time of year, for example?

Can get rainy and cold at times, but we have been in worse places. Just dress appropriately.

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Schools & Children:

1. What is the availability of international schools? What has been your general experience with them, if any?

The International School of Luxembourg seems great. Good curriculum, great extra-curricular activities, active parents. You need to get past the incredible wealth of some of the parents. It's just the way it is.

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2. What accommodations do schools make for special-needs kids?

Haven't really heard.

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3. Are preschools available? Day care? Are these expensive? What has been your experience with them, if any? Do the schools provide before- and/or after-school care?

Preschool is available and can be pricey. The government does provide some assistance.

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4. Are local sports classes and/or activities available for kids?

Yes, there are plenty of clubs: soccer, swimming, rugby, etc.

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Expat Life:

1. What is the relative size of the expatriate community? How would you describe overall morale among expatriates?

Large for a small country.

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2. Morale among expats:

Seems to be ok. Sometimes people complain this place is too small, not like NY, Paris, Montreal, etc.

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3. What are some typical ways to socialize, either with local people or with other expatriates? Are there groups or clubs that you can recommend?

Dinner, hiking, movies, travel, music.

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4. Is this a good city for single people? For couples? For families? Why or why not?

Seems to be a great city for families.

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5. Is this a good city for LGBT expatriates? Why or why not?

Have had gay friends who really enjoyed it here and said there were no problems.

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6. Are there problems with ethnic, race/racial minorities or religious prejudices? Gender equality?

Haven't heard of any.

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7. What have been the highlights of your time in this country? Best trips or experiences?

Regional travel that is so easy from here. Nice people who like Americans.

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8. What are some interesting/fun things to do in the area? Can you recommend any “hidden gems"?

Travel, travel, travel.

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9. Is this a "shopping post"? Are there interesting handicrafts, artwork, antiques, or other items that people typically buy there?

Nothing really.

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10. What are the particular advantages of living in this city?

Absolutely beautiful, well-located, safe, incredible travel opportunities, great food, great schools, you name it.

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11. Can you save money?

If you don't want to go out and do anything, sure.

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Words of Wisdom:

1. Knowing what you know now, would you still move to this city?

Yes.

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2. If you move here, you can leave behind your:

Need to save money, desire to have all things American.

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3. But don't forget your:

Travel books.

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4. Do you recommend any books or movies about this city/country for those who are interested in learning more?

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5. Recommended movies/DVDs related to this city:

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6. Do you have any other comments?

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