Tips for expat families starting New York schools

Many New York schools start term again tomorrow, closed since mid-June (Yes. Summer vacations really are that long over here).

For any expats gearing up for their first New York school experience this term, here are some tips. Continue reading “Tips for expat families starting New York schools”

22 helpful things to know before you move from the UK to New York

 

There are many similarities between London and New York. There’s also a whole lot of differences. Heare my top, genuinely helpful things to know before your own move to NYC:

  1. Tips. Everyone gets tipped here. Restaurants expect 18-22% for good service, taxi drivers like you to add a dollar, hairdressers, supermarket check out staff all like tips (not obligatory). Clothes shop staff work on commission, so don’t get tips. Schools may well ask you to contribute for staff and teacher tips at Christmas. Doormen, concierge and janitors in your building also bank on a generous tip at Christmas. There’s a sliding scale for how much you give each person in your building, factoring in how long you’ve lived there, how much help each one gives you throughout the year, and how fond you are of them. It’s not unusual for a friendly Manhattan apartment doorman or concierge to get $100 tip at Christmas.
    Continue reading “22 helpful things to know before you move from the UK to New York”

Checking for horns – school interviews for three year olds

This week we flew our three year old out to New York to meet the schools we had short-listed on our previous visit. The interviews seemed to go well, since both offered her a spot.

With the help of a schools broker through relocation specialists, NYC Navigator, C and I had flown out earlier to view four schools that still had places available for this September, and narrowed it down to two. They were all incredibly warm and inviting, but explained that they would need to meet the child before they could offer a place. Presumably to check for horns. Continue reading “Checking for horns – school interviews for three year olds”

Poxy Chickens – vaccine differences between the UK and New York

Met another mum at a local Greenwich playgroup this morning who’s just back from a year in Manhattan with two kids very similar ages to ours. I invited her round for tea and she’s reeled off lots of useful information, including fact that some New York schools require a chickenpox vaccine certificate.

I didn’t even know it was possible to get a vaccine. Only last week I saw a notice on the nursery doors warning of chickenpox going round, and thought “Oh goody, so they can get it young”. Surely a vaccine is much better. Made some calls. Turns out it’s actually not possible to get it done in the UK anyway, since one of the two vaccines is no longer stocked here.

For a full list of the vaccines usually given in New York, click here.

C’s back in New York again this week. Massive rush to get all his laundry washed and ready for packing again. We’ve made a little recording of him reading The Gruffalo, to play to the girls at bedtime. They love it. And so do I.