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#313892 - 12/05/08 11:37 PM Looking at Moving to San Pedro and Owning Business
Greenthumb Offline
My family is l are strongly looking at moving to San Pedro and Have a few questions that I could use some help on.
1. We have 3 children ages 6, 5 and 1. Would like to know what the best school(s) are on the Island and how they might compare to the US?
2. I would like to own a business as I already do here in the states and would like to know some of the Positives and Negatives that some have found in that in Belize(as general business practices).
3. Anything else that anyone has to offer as life in Belize would be great. Here in the US, life is just so hectic and seems you can never do enough for others, so we are just looking to refocus our lives on Family, God and helping our Community.

#313896 - 12/06/08 01:12 AM Re: Looking at Moving to San Pedro and Owning Business [Re: Greenthumb]
Pedro1 Offline
surely you are Nuts
come here first and look
my advice would be to educate your kids in the states

#313900 - 12/06/08 07:37 AM Re: Looking at Moving to San Pedro and Owning Business [Re: Pedro1]
Inplub Offline
We moved there in Jan 2003 when our children were 9, 6, 2, and opened a Thai Restaurant as my wife is from Thailand. The time we spent there was great and the children loved the place. I would follow Pedro advice, go see San Pedro, meet the fantastic people there and they will give you all the information you need. It has now been over a year since we left and still miss everything and everyone. Back in England now.

Edited by Inplub (12/06/08 08:18 AM)

#313904 - 12/06/08 08:57 AM Re: Looking at Moving to San Pedro and Owning Business [Re: Inplub]
Greenthumb Offline
We are planning to come down for about 10 days in the middle of Jan. and checking out the schools and properties.

#313905 - 12/06/08 09:10 AM Re: Looking at Moving to San Pedro and Owning Business [Re: Inplub]
Amanda Syme Offline
Definitely come down for a visit. I wouldn't worry about the kids, they will love it here and at those ages the adaptation would be a cinch. The adults however will certainly have a harder time getting used to the way things are here.

We have some good schools and some strong churches and there are many community organizations to join.

The schools may not be the same as US schools but we have found that students that move to the US, Canada or UK typically have no problems adapting and their grades are comparable in all fields except US history. So if you think you might move back to the US during their school years you might want to work on US history with them during your time here in Belize.

This is not the US and many, many things will be different. What you will need to do is listen, watch and learn. Never expect or assume that anything will be the same as in the US and then you won't be disappointed or incredulous.

If you plan to own a business and work here then you might find that life can be just as hectic here as it is at your current home. Especially with 3 kids to handle to!

If there were every an "ideal" time to bring your kids down, this is probably it. But be sure you really know what you are getting into. It can be fairly easy to wrap things up at home and move down, but settling in is a tough transition and if you choose to pick up and go back to the US quickly you will find that it was a demoralizing and expensive mistake.

Please do come and check the place out. Life is good here, just different that the one you are accustomed to.

In answer to your questions:
I have had a good experience at the Island Academy for the young children. It is a primary/elementary school.

Business practices are quite similar to the US other than the fact that in some industries the laws are not fully "matured" and minutely defined yet. The labour laws are very liberal on the employees side. This tends to come as a shock to most new business owners that arrive from overseas.

Bring the family for a visit. If you come in the winter we tend to have more tourists, the weather is a little cooler (upper 60's up to low 80's) and few bugs. In the spring it can be windy and starts staying the 80's. The summer can be rainy, buggy and stifling. The fall is a mixture of cool, hot, wet and dry!!

ENJOY. We only have one life so why not live it to the fullest with no regrets.

#313906 - 12/06/08 09:37 AM Re: Looking at Moving to San Pedro and Owning Business [Re: Amanda Syme]
Peter Jones Offline
Your 10 day trip will be a good start, but do try to interact with expats in business here as you'll learn a lot "in the margins" that you'd never be told formally. And don't think of making your decision based just on that stay - you should come back again for longer (at least a month) before you do that.

#313913 - 12/06/08 11:09 AM Re: Looking at Moving to San Pedro and Owning Business [Re: Peter Jones]
Mary1220 Offline
I live here have twin boys age 10 that attend Island Academy. I love it and the the kids love it. But it is not a US Education. I recommend you supplement their education by some computer programs or on line education so that if you do return your child is getting the same level of education as the school you would return to.
I would recommend that you come spend at least a month if not 6 months before you move here.

As Amanda Syme says,, don't worry about the kids.. they will be great. Kids love it here.. It is one big sand box.

I earn my living from the US doing consulting. I have done business in Belize and other 3rd world counties. If you have not done business in a 3rd world county if you start a business here you best be able to be flexible and tolerant. If you get screwed you are just that screwed. Don't count on courts to help you out of a jam. Like any business you need to learn who is honest and who is not and that takes time.

My other big advice is housing.. it is hard to find here that has a location that fits with kids. If you have money and I mean maybe $100,000 a year to spend you will be OK. If you don't have money and expect to make it here you best be use to working your ass off. And if you have to work your ass off what is the point of moving to a Island.

Like starting any business in the US or in Belize it may take you a few years to starting making money. So have a nest egg before you come.
Come for a long vacation. I came a couple of times in 07 stayed a month in June 08 then moved the kids down to start school at the Island Academy in late Aug. 08.

My 2 cents are that the things you read about moving here are not quite right.. I think most were written about 5 years ago when things were cheaper and less populated here on SP.

got more questions on kids I will be happy to give you my 2 cents. But I have not lived here long and don't run a business here so can't give you much there.

#313942 - 12/06/08 05:03 PM Re: Looking at Moving to San Pedro and Owning Business [Re: Mary1220]
Greenthumb Offline
Thank you to all so far,
I agree that we should try to spend as much time as possible there, although the things that are somewhat of a road block from us being able to spend a month now is that we are working full time and two of the kids are in school till june. Based on the outcome of the first trip we will plan a second one in spring, as this is the wrong time of the year to try and sell a house in Minnesota. Although we are looking at the possiblity of keeping the house and renting it out.

It sounds like the Academy is a very good school, does anyone know about the Roman Catholic School? And in general do american children seem communicate and relate well with the other kids,as it seems that their is a diversity of culture?

As for work, there are a few businesses that we have been looking at buying. I believe that it would be smarter buying an existing business in this case than trying to start something up new in a country that we have never lived in. Is someone coming from the states and running a business not accepted? From what I have read it seems that most are very open and accepting people. Also, wondering if taking out a loan to buy a business is a smarter idea, rather than spending cash out of pocket? or if it is even a possiblity.

#313956 - 12/07/08 08:32 AM Re: Looking at Moving to San Pedro and Owning Business [Re: Greenthumb]
Diane Campbell Offline
If you come here with an open mind and respect for the way of life of Belize, you will be accepted as a person.
Amrican kids tend to be short on manners compared to Belizean children, so as a parent you may see some positive changes in your offspring as a result of the move.
In business one should carefully choose something that is not in direct competition with the locally born population, as business rivalries can be the seed of distress and can ultimately make a move more difficult. Also, the folks born here need to succeed here as they have noplace else to go. You can come, try and fail and head on back to the US - they can't. That realization should guide you in your choices.
Don't borrow money -that will just give you more stress in an already challenging situation.

#313961 - 12/07/08 10:13 AM Re: Looking at Moving to San Pedro and Owning Business [Re: Diane Campbell]
ScubaLdy Offline
I suggest you seek out some individuals here who have opened businesses and then had to close, sell or give them away. There are just as many shuckers and jivers here as any place else – they are just more concentrated on this little island.

People are reluctant to say anything bad about other people - well - some are!
I know people who have been totally hood-winked then ask why nobody told them. You have to ask the right people the right questions.

I came here eight times before I moved here and moved here only after I retired and don't have to do anything. Visiting and living are two very different experiences.

Many of us suggest reading "Don't Stop the Carnival" before even thinking about going into business here. You will laugh your @$$ off - but it is not far fetched! If you are not long on patience you will not survive here. People operate on a different time schedule. I've heard the locals refer to it as 2 for 1 (like the money exchange).

I don't think the education is equatable and I know many gringos who do group home schooling.
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