Montevideo, Uruguay Report of what it's like to live there - 08/27/08

Personal Experiences from Montevideo, Uruguay

Montevideo, Uruguay 08/27/08

Background:

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

I have lived in Madrid, Budapest, and Manila.

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2. How long have you lived here?

2 years.

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

Spouse at the Embassy.

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4. Travel time and best routes to this city from Europe or the US:

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Housing, Groceries & Food:

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

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

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

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

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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?

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

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

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

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

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

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Transportation:

1. Do you drive on the right hand side of the road or the left?

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

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3. 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?

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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?

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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?

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3. What is the best way to make phone calls back home?

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Pets:

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

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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?

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

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Health & Safety:

1. Pollution index (Good, Moderate, Unhealthy, or Very Unhealthy)?

Excellent.

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

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

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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?

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Schools & Children:

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

We had three children at UAS in Middle and High School. UAS has the highest level of English of any school in Montevideo and is the most open to newcomers and transients. The first year was a bit of an adjustment for our family especially for my academic 11th grader because itis such a small Post and school. However we all came to love the school and the atmosphere. The new director has made a tremendous effort to tighten academic standards and offer more advanced courses. Now there are a range of AP classes offered and usually only about 10 students per class! The admisnistration works hard to be flexible and design the right program for each child,My daughter was able to take several advanced classes online while being supervised during the school day. Uruguay has a very democratic, friendly and informal culture and UAS tends to reflect that. This is a school where every student can get into the course or activity they are interested in. The receptionist in the front hall oftenrecognizes the parent bringing the forgotten lunch box and might even know exatly where to find your child. Inevitably in such a small school everybody knows eveyone and hears about every problem or bit of bad behavior. So it might seem to inexperienced parents that the problems are greater in Montevideo and at UAS than elsewhere. Let me assure you, as the mother of 4, that this is not the case. Teenagers behave stupidly all around the world. In our experience there is less alcohol and drug abuse by the high schoolers at UAS than in other International schools in Latin America and Europe. We have many Uruguayan friends with children at the British School. It has the reputation as the old premier bilingulal school. It would not be an easy place to be a newcomer with limited Spanish.

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

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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?

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Expat Life:

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

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

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3. Morale among expats:

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

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

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

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

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

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9. Can you save money?

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Words of Wisdom:

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

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

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3. But don't forget your:

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

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6. Recommended movies/DVDs related to this city:

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7. Do you have any other comments?

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