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Puerto Rico

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akw94

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Hi
,
Has anyone ever lived in Puerto Rico? If so, what''s it like? I know that''s broad but we''re considering a move there. I''ve never been and I''m trying to get a feel for it. Any areas you''d recommend to live that are in or close to San Juan? Are there job opportunities (I''m sure it depends on the job itself but just wondered generally what it''s like).
How''d you like it?
 

Skippy123

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ooooh, I would like to know too! It sounds beautiful and interesting.
 

NYCsparkle

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Hi dixie.....do you speak spanish? have you ever visited there? it is a beautiful place. i have a lot of family there and visit often....my mom moved there to live w/ my dad when they first got married. she didn''t really speak the language but figured she''d learn. after a year she told my dad to take her home to ny. she loves to visit, but had a hard time adjusting to the island way of life. she spent most of her time at the condado to be around the americans visiting. my parents lived 15 minutes outside of san juan and it is a different world than by the resort areas. nice, but not the paradise people expect on an island.
 

akw94

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Skippy, it does sound interesting and a little scary since it''s so different than what I''m used to!

NYCsparkle, I am trying to learn Spanish now. I have been attempting to teach myself for awhile and am taking an actual class now. I have never visited there but would certainly like to, hopefully before the move but I''m not sure. Like your mom, I am hoping that being there, I will learn the language better and become truly bi-lingual. Supposedly immersion is the best way but I''m nervous about that. That''s why I''m taking the class. Knowing me, unless I feel somewhat comf., I wouldn''t want to immerse myself into the culture.
What is the "condado"? I have heard areas outside of the touristy areas are pretty poor, very slow moving and just a completely different way of life (than the city life that I am used to). I worry a bit about my adjustment there. What would you say are some of the differences that you see there? I also have concerns about finding a job, certainly if I don''t speak great Spanish. It is scary but exciting!
 

NYCsparkle

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The condado is the tourist area...my mom figured that being around americans was more comfy---my mom is a nurse and people paid her with pigs and small things, because they were poor. generally when you go to an island people are either rich or poor...middle class is a very small minority. i love visiting my relatives, but i couldn''t live there being a city girl.
it is a HUGE adjustment to move there. old san juan is beautiful, but there is a lot of shady people lurking around...especially around the tourists. i don''t always feel safe there unless i''m w/my cousin who is a cop there. you should def. visit and stay for more than a week and not in the very touristy areas to get a feel of how pr really is.
 

akw94

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NYC, thanks for your advice! I would like to visit and I''m hoping that will happen before the move. I know that it will be a big change but I already know I won''t grasp the differences until I am there. I lived in a small town once when I went to college but that is my only experience out of a big city.. living in one, that is.
Thank you again!
 

regalada

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Dixie, I was born and raised in Puerto Rico, lived there until 1996 when I left to go to grad school. If I do say so myself, it''s a painfully beautiful island with some of the warmest people you''ll ever meet. I miss the island very much (we go visit at least twice a year) but I realized that I could not live there for various reasons, the main one being that jobs in my field are scarce.

There are too many college-educated young people for a limited number of professional jobs, so there is quite a bit of competition. Knowing Spanish is key, but locals are great at helping out foreigners who are trying to learn the language. English is taught from kindergarten on, and exposure to English is everywhere, so many people my age (30''s) and younger can speak English without a problem.

If you have any specific questions I''d be happy to try to answer the best I can.

Good luck!

Regalada
 

akw94

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Regalada, thanks for commenting! It makes me happy to hear some of what you said (of course, not the part about the jobs being scarce but that is reality). I must admit, I am very nervous about moving there. I am worried about not knowing the language and it''s helpful to hear that people are forgiving about not speaking Spanish. I really am trying though but I get so flustered when I actually have to say anything. Today at work, I did try and slip in a few words to someone and am going to work on that more. Taking the class makes me feel a little more at ease but I just need to force myself to speak!
What would you say are the biggest occupations there? I am an attorney but am not sure I will continue to practice once moving. I''d have to take the bar and am just not sure it''s worth it since I don''t feel that fulfilled in what I do. I am trying to seek out other career options. I have thought about teaching but I don''t know how I could take certification classes in Spanish. You wouldn''t happen to know whether there are English speaking schools? All the sites I happen upon are in Spanish so it''s hard to figure out what my options are. Also, I have interest in Human Rights work but again, finding organizations online seems almost impossible.
If we needed to live fairly close to San Juan, what areas would you recommend to live in? Also, do you know anything about the goverment school there?

Thanks again!
 

regalada

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Hi Dixie, glad to be of some help.

Date: 2/26/2007 8:25:43 PM
Author: dixie94

What would you say are the biggest occupations there?

Tourism is one of the main sources of jobs on the island. There are a lot of universities (both public and private), and both manufacture and retail are a significant part of the island''s economy.

I have thought about teaching but I don''t know how I could take certification classes in Spanish. You wouldn''t happen to know whether there are English speaking schools? All the sites I happen upon are in Spanish so it''s hard to figure out what my options are. Also, I have interest in Human Rights work but again, finding organizations online seems almost impossible.

There are English-speaking schools, not many but there are some. Search for "escuela bilingue", these are schools that teach in both English and Spanish.

If we needed to live fairly close to San Juan, what areas would you recommend to live in? Also, do you know anything about the goverment school there?

I am not from the San Juan area although I did go to undergrad at the University of Puerto Rico in San Juan. In terms of living close to San Juan, the Cupey area is nice, very close but not in the middle of the city. Not sure if you know this, but traffic can be a nightmare in the metropolitan area of San Juan, and public transportation is limited. A lot of people commute into San Juan not only from its suburbs but also from towns farther away, clogging the highways in the morning and evening. I don''t know about the government school there, sorry.

I know a couple of people from the states who moved to Puerto Rico and love it, including our wedding photographer. He''s from Maryland and his wife is Puerto Rican and they moved to Puerto Rico a couple of years ago at his insistence. He loves it, could not stop going on and on about how he loves everything about it: the food, the festive people, the climate, the beauty, the laid-back attitude. After dealing with wedding vendors for our wedding last October, I realized that I am now too used to the "American way" and had a bit of trouble operating on "island time", but he does not seem to mind it at all.

Let me know if you have any other questions.

Regalada
 

akw94

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Regalada, thanks!
I have heard that the traffic is just awful and unfor., I''m sure we would commute too. I''d like to live as close to the downtown San Juan area but it just depends on the areas. I have always hoped that one day I''d be able to walk to work... not sure if that will become a reality though.
I''m actually hoping that the laid-back atmosphere will be good for me, rather than causing me to go crazy! I could use a less stressed environment but I know it would be an enormous adjustment. And I am really looking fwd to the weather and being able to enjoy the outdoors more.
Thank you for your help!
 
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