Tag Archives: america

A Guide To Education In The US

First Student #540 by ThoseGuys119

What to expect when putting your children

in the American school system

It can be something of a minefield when moving your children to a new country, especially when you need to think about sending them to school. Making sure they get the very best education is usually at the top of a parent’s wish list. Here’s a guide to the education options when setting up home in America.

The options:

As in most countries around the world, there is fundamentally a two-tier system of education in America offering both public and private schooling. What you choose to do will be entirely down to personal preference, location and of course, funding. Some companies will offer to pay private school fees as part of an employment package. International schools are also offered to many of those moving overseas as they can sometimes offer a similar syllabus to that of the UK and also relevant and transferable qualifications.

Most American public schools are governed by the local school district. Each school district is governed by a school board, which sets out general policies and keeps the establishment in line with national guidelines.

Children begin elementary school at five years old, starting in kindergarten and staying until grade 5. Middle school is grades 6-8 with high school starting in grade 9 and ending in 12. The age at which your child leaves school depends on the state that you’re residing in, but the general rule is compulsory education until 16 years old. After graduation students will go on to study at university for four years in order to obtain a degree.

Public Schools:

The good news is that public schools will be open to you should you choose this route. As with all public schools, some will be better than others. Property taxes in a large part pay to fund schools, so if you live in a wealthy suburb you will probably discover one with better facilities. It’s worth doing your research as standards can vary greatly and as there’s no national curriculum it’s worth checking what your child will and won’t be studying.

All children are entitled to public schooling and you’ll need to apply for admission. There may be a waiting list for some of the better schools so again do your research before embarking on this route. The great thing about public schools is that they are close to home so your children are likely to find new friends on their doorstep, which will help them settle in.

There are two additional public school options: Charter and Magnet Schools. Charter Schools receive more private financial backing. They are very popular and often have long waiting lists. Magnet Schools specialise in certain areas of the curriculum such as science, the arts or languages. A student’s admission is based on talent rather than grades.

Private Schools:

It’s no surprise that private schools in the USA tend to be better equipped, producing higher grades than the public sector. They have more flexibility around curriculums and often offer better extracurricular activities because they can afford to do this. Private school fees can vary from an average of $8,918 (£6,762) for elementary school and $13,524 (£10,255) a year for high school. The most expensive city for fees is New York, which wades in at $28,798 (£21,835).

The competition for many of these schools is fierce and places will not be guaranteed just because you live close by. If you want to go down this route be sure to check out criteria for admission carefully. Your child may need to sit a number of tests to gain a place and you’ll need to keep in mind the differences in subjects and content taught.

You can also include International Schools under the private schools banner as these too need to be paid for. Enrollment and admission can again be competitive but they offer a great solution for the expat child. Often multi-lingual schools provide similar curriculums to those in your home country as well as allowing students to gain internationally recognised qualifications, such as the international baccalaureate. Unsurprisingly teaching in these schools is excellent as are facilities. If you are considering boarding school they also offer this as an option.

If you are considering moving abroad, PSS International removals can help. We are a family run company, which has specialised in international removals for over 35 years. We are committed to providing a friendly, professional and stress-free overseas move for all our customers. Whether you’re sending a full or part household removal, excess baggage or a vehicle, we will ensure that you receive the highest level of care and attention.

Contact us now for a free estimator’s survey, or simply fill in our online moving or baggage quote.

For useful articles and tips on moving to other countries and life as an expat, please like the PSS International Removals Facebook page and follow the Twitter profile.

Inheritance planning as an expat


Peter-Ashley Jackson  money makes the world go round

Peter-Ashley Jackson
money makes the world go round


For useful articles and tips on moving to other countries and life as an expat, please like the PSS International Removals Facebook page and follow the Twitter profile

Moving your family overseas often comes with the need to plan for their long-term future and it’s essential to keep your financial affairs in solid, working order. It’s particularly important to think about how to guard them in the unfortunate case of death or injury.

Be mindful of the influence of local laws – especially when it comes to estate planning and wills. Advice taken locally is key to ensuring that your wishes are carried out when you die and it is often difficult to bypass your children when planning inheritance in comparison to the UK where civil laws operate.

As a basic example, the house that you and your family might have shared in Australia would be automatically passed on to any children and your surviving partner might still be able to use the house but would not be able to sell it without the children’s permission.

Many people find trust schemes a useful platform for estate planning in that they allow a parent to ensure their assets are only passed on to children at a certain age and when they are able to make financially independent decisions. However, UK trust law might not hold up in a civil law jurisdiction, which doesn’t recognise legal structures of this kind. Holding your wealth in an offshore location could also be a way of managing this issue and may help avoid any potential issues.

Some expats often find it difficult to manage their bank account abroad, particularly joint accounts, as in the unfortunate case of death; the survivor may not be able to access the funds.

When it comes to securing your Will – if of UK origin, it should be accepted almost everywhere in Europe. However, it can be a good idea to exclude your foreign property from the main Will and have a separate Will drafted up in local form for dealing with the property in that country. Without a Will, your home will not necessarily be passed on to your loved ones in the way you would hope.

It is also worth bearing in mind that inheritance laws vary worldwide and are often highly complex, but with proper planning it is possible to pass on a legacy to your family without incurring a crippling tax bill.

In many countries inheritance tax is charged on an estate when someone dies. The important thing for expats to remember is that inheritance tax is based on your domicile and/or your residency. If you are domiciled or deemed domicile in the UK, you could be liable for UK inheritance tax on all of your assets worldwide, even if you live in another country.

Claiming back tax before you leave the UK can be very advantageous, even though completing a tax refund application can be a daunting task for anyone. However, PSS International Removals can happily refer you to one of our tax-back agents who will prepare and submit a claim on your behalf.

This will ensure that all of the information and evidence is provided correctly to the HMRC who can also review tax payments dating back 6 years and claim back any over payments at the same period. Furthermore, our tax-back agent is based in the UK and can offer a free, no obligation initial consultation. Please click this link to complete a form for more information or for our partner to contact you.


Having A Baby Abroad


Triplées, Raphaël Goetter

Triplées, Raphaël Goetter


For useful articles and tips on moving to other countries and life as an expat, please like the PSS International Removals Facebook page and follow the Twitter profile

Pregnancy is a time of celebration and change. But however exciting it might be at first, having a new child abroad can be tough, especially when many don’t have the close and immediate support of their friends and family. Even basics, such as finding a doctor and the support you need, can be hard.

Exploring your options and making your own decisions can be one of the best tools for feeling empowered throughout your pregnancy. The choice is yours and being in control can certainly relieve some of your insecurities during the period. As always, research and planning are key to a successful pregnancy abroad. Here are some initial considerations:

Always research the best expat and lifestyle blogs and resources. Expat mums can also offer invaluable advice, recommendations, and support.

Will you need to change or adjust your diet?

What kind of citizenship status is your child entitled to?

What is the status of breast-feeding in your new country?

Are hospital births most common or do you have the option of a home birth?

How easy are medication and prescriptions to get hold of?

Where is the closest hospital and how easily accessible is it?

What does your health insurance entitle you to?

For many expats seeking medical care, their doctor is usually the first port of call and generally leads the patient through medication and care. But small differences like taking off your clothes rather than being offered a sheet to cover up can be deemed offensive and uncomfortable for some, so find out what is acceptable in your area. If the differences are too vast, you may prefer to consider a private hospital that supports your native language and offers familiar standards.

Some expats might like to consider creating a birth plan to help them understand what is happening every step of the way whilst gaining confidence in the process. A birth plan will help you to manage the process, the type of medication to be used, which monitoring devices you should use, whether you should be induced or not, Caesarean considerations and how the baby might be cared for.

Planning these choices carefully beforehand can help you realise what’s realistically achievable and help you deal with stress more effectively.

Birthing classes could also be an option as well as joining a support group. If you are not already established in a social circle in your expat life, being pregnant is an excellent gateway to make new friends.

It is also vital to understand your insurance coverage as different procedures and medications may or may not be covered. Also note the method of payment in your new country. You have to pay first (by cash or credit card) and then make a claim from your insurance provider so check with your hospitals to see if they have a list of insurers with whom they have direct billing arrangements.

Another factor to consider is the status of citizenship for you and your child. A second citizenship and passport can offer your child greater freedom to travel, less tax liability, access to more affordable health care or college education, and more employment and investment opportunities in future. Note that not all countries allow dual citizenship, and many countries only allow dual citizenship with a limited number of other countries. Find out about the dual citizenship regulations of your home country and the country you plan to have your baby in to discover the relevant laws and regulations surrounding citizenship.

PSS International removals are a family run company and our desire is to ensure your family receive a friendly, professional and stress free overseas move. We have specialised in international removals for over 32 years, so whether you are planning on sending a full or part household removal, excess baggage or a vehicle we recognise the importance in ensuring that our customers receive the same level of care and attention that we would expect ourselves.

Contact us now for a free estimators survey, online moving and baggage quote.


How to live a healthier life abroad

"Fruit Stall in Barcelona Market" by By en:User:Daderot. - First uploaded to en:wiki on 5 Apr 2005.. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons - https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Fruit_Stall_in_Barcelona_Market.jpg#/media/File:Fruit_Stall_in_Barcelona_Market.jpg

“Fruit Stall in Barcelona Market” by By en:User:Daderot. – First uploaded to en:wiki on 5 Apr 2005.. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons – https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Fruit_Stall_in_Barcelona_Market.jpg#/media/File:Fruit_Stall_in_Barcelona_Market.jpg

For useful articles and tips on moving to other countries and life as an expat, please like the PSS International Removals Facebook page and follow the Twitter profile

For those of you in search of greener grass, the transition overseas can at times prove testing. With this in mind, planning ahead is vital to ensure that your time spent abroad will be fun, rewarding and healthy! PSS International Removals are here to help with some top tips to abide by.

Before leaving, educate yourself about the correct type of food, the right amount of exercise and an advisable standard of living you should be adhering to. Read the right books and magazines but always consult with a nutritionist if you feel that they might be able to help you further.

When it comes to exercise – don’t overdo it. Pushing yourself too hard when you’re just beginning is never a good thing. You have to ease your way into a new regime, so pushing your body too much at first will not only drain you physically, but could cause you unnecessary pain and injury. Exercise doesn’t always have to involve an exhaustive gym workout either. It could even be as simple as a short run along the beach or a few press-ups at home but the key thing is to raise your heart rate – wherever you may be and however much time you may have.

As expats, you are unlikely to have the time to prepare fresh food, at least at the first stages, meaning you may rely on ready-made meals. Go back to basics. No matter where you are in the world, there are always local markets selling the simplest, freshest ingredients. Always drink between 8-10 glasses of water a day. Water aids digestion and increases your memory and concentration. It also keeps your skin well nourished so don’t ignore its hidden strengths.

Working a busy expat job in a humid climate can mean that your sleep patterns and body clock will become disrupted. Always try and achieve a minimum of 6-8 hours of sleep a night, do not sleep with the TV on and avoid reading your favourite book before bedtime. These habits will only serve to keep your mind busy and awake throughout the night. Plan a bedtime routine to get your body clock set to sleep at a certain time. Listen to relaxing ambient or classical music, try experimenting with meditation and dim your lighting to relax your mind and rest your body.

Your home away from home should always be a sanctuary. Minimise your time spent in front of a laptop or computer and socialise with your colleagues away from the office and with your friends and family whenever possible. If you have children, engage in activities other than gathering around the television before, during or after dinner time. Engage with them using real toys instead of tablet apps or computer games. Open your windows, breathe in the fresh air and bask in natural sunlight as much as possible. Also try buying a few plants to improve the air quality.

Living in a new country can mean that some of the things you’re used to may not be as readily available as they might be back home. With this in mind, look into various food substitutes  and plan your meals accordingly. You may even have to learn to become comfortable with substitutes not only when it comes to food, but with regards to your exercise schedule as well. Since gym memberships can be expensive and time consuming, you may have to accept something as simple as completing regular household chores to keep your body active.

Don’t disregard the importance of your mental health as well. After all, a healthy body does lead to healthy mind so avoid reacting to stress as much as possible. Always take short breaks from your work for at least 20 minutes a day and aim to divert your mind completely from things that may make you unhappy or distract you.

Despite what many people might think, smoking and drinking are not effective stress relievers. Sure, they might distract you from your problems for a brief period of time, but in the end they will only serve to create more stress and ruin your body. Maximize your free time, do what makes you happy and surround yourself with good people. A healthy lifestyle can be achieved by anyone, anywhere in the world. You just need the right information, a positive frame of mind and to accept that it’s not really as difficult as you think it might be.

Moving to a new country is not as easy or controllable as moving domestically. Although international movers do their best to minimise issues, problems can occur on route through shipping, at destination with customs officials and anywhere in-between.

To make your move abroad as easy and stress-free as possible, PSS International Removals can deliver services such as motor vehicle shipping, baggage shipments and shipping services to any international destination, with the most popular including Australia, Canada, India, New Zealand, South Africa, USA and UAE.

Get in touch with PSS to find out how we can help: http://www.pssremovals.com/