Some background- we currently live in France. I am American, dh is Italian. We have both lived abroad multiple times with and without kids. Right now we are here for dh's job and he doesn't not have a permanent contract. Max duration of his contract would be another year and a half. We came here last summer (2009). Its been a rough year and we don't love it here. SO we are starting to think about what could be next (while still keeping an open mind this year cuz maybe this area will grow on us).
So dh has become quite fascinated with uruguay. Its a recent fascination but he seems quite keen on it. I know very little about it. I have googled and found both positive and negative blogs and articles written by expats. So I thought I would try here since maybe here there is likely to be people with similar lifestyles or parenting/family views.
We currently have 2 dd-one is 3.5 and the other is 1. So education is a concern. I have read it is good. True or not? Public school is good or you have to go private? Altrenative schools exist (think montessori or something)?
Also childcare solutions?
We are not done having kids. If we keep with tradition I would be preggos when we move . I would want another homebirth. Is this an option? How is it organized? I found nothing on google about hb in Uruguay. How is the healthcare system?
Job situation-I studied psych and have worked with teens and adults with developmental disabilities. I have a bachelors. Dh has a PhD in mechanical engineering. We are both open to starting a business-be it a cafe, store or consulting for him. I have read the job market is hard there.
We like camping, hiking, sailing, biking, traveling, dancing, cooking. Good places for at least some of these things?
TIA for any insight you can give!
Uruguay is awesome. Incredible. People and culture like no other. It's got such a great vibe, such a rich culture, such wonderful people. I am eager to move back there to be honest. My dh misses it dearly, of course, and I miss it too. It's definitely a slower pace of life.
From what I know, public schools IN GENERAL are decent. I think there will be differences in each Department (state) and each neighborhood. My neice and nephew went to a great preschool that I visited several times, so I wouldn't rule preschools out as childcare solutions.
Uruguay has a pretty high cesarean rate. They seemed to have decent private health care. I think hospital births would be very medical- personally, not what I would want. I do remember reading an article in the newspaper back in 2003 about how the homebirth movement was growing. Once in Montevideo we stumbled upon a school for midwifery. So, it's there, just not the easiest to find. Montevideo and Punta del Este have a lot more options than other smaller town.
The job market is hard. The fact that you have your BA, and your dh has his PhD as well as speak English fluently is good. How is your Spanish?
Camping, hiking, biking, traveling, dancing and cooking? YES, great place for these things. I'm not into sailing, so I don't know about that. We had a fantastic time camping and hiking. We traveled all around Uruguay camping and had a fantastic time. It's really a great country.
mama to and, due in November
Thanks for your reply. I had pretty much given up hope that anyone knew much about Uruguay. It seems like everyone I meet who has been there, long or short term, loves it. But I had found a lot of negative stuff online, so I wanted to get some more input.
As far as where we would move etc., we don't have any plans mapped yet. Its just teh beginning of an idea that dh had and I am totally up for it. Our spanish is non exisistent, but we would take a course before heading there. We learned teh hard coming here that it pays to speak the language before moving if possible.
Thansk again, and if you have any other info or links that are good please pass them on!
I recently started checking out these forums and was delighted to find a note about Uruguay. I'm an American currently living in Montevideo with my Canadian husband and American/Canadian 2.5-year-old daughter. We moved here from San Francisco, California, nearly a year ago-- mainly just for the adventure of it and for a life más tranquila. It took us a while to settle in (find a place to rent that we liked and so forth), but now we love it.
To answer some of your questions:
Education: DD goes to a part-time (four hours in the afternoon) private daycare/preschool, which has worked out wonderfully. Her Spanish is probably better than mine now! It was easy to find a place that we liked-- they're all over the place, and there were no crazy waiting lists like there are in San Francisco. As far as I can tell, the style of her place is similar to most traditional daycares in the U.S. The price is a huge bargain for us: approx. US $150/month (compared to around $1,000 in SF). There are also free public preschools. There are lots of education options here, both public and private. I've heard the public schools are decent (although another expat whose kids attended one told me they valued conformity and mediocrity over individualism). I'm not sure if there are Montessori schools-- probably-- but I recently discovered that there's a Waldorf school. I'd love to send our daughter there, but it's way across town (we don't have a car, and it would be nearly an hour by bus each way) and she loves her current place anyway (which is just two blocks from our apartment).
Childcare solutions: Abundant, good, and affordable. Besides daycare/preschool, there are lots of excellent nannies and housekeepers here, charging from around US $3.50 to probably $7 per hour.
Healthcare: Very good, affordable, but yes, I believe it's generally quite medical on the childbirth front. However, I've been seeing more articles about natural childbirth in some of those mama and baby magazines here, which is encouraging. I've heard through the grapevine of one expat who recently had a homebirth. A friend of mine delivered her baby here naturally at one of the good private hospitals, Española. She told me it is designated a baby-friendly hospital, actually, and they were very helpful with breastfeeding and such. My family belongs to another private hospital, and we've been happy with it for overall health issues (in fact, DD was hospitalized twice over the winter due to bronchial spasms, which are apparently common here in the winter, but that's another story). Even there, though, my gut feeling is that they overprescribe stuff in general. And although I like DD's pediatrician, every time we go in for a check-up, she asks if I've finally weaned (I haven't, but I'm just going to lie next time because I'm tired of the question...she said that if I feel the need to keep nursing, I should have another baby...annoying). However, none of this is really any different than what we'd probably experience in an American hospital. And given all that, all three of us are fully covered through our hospital "scheme" for around US $320/month, which covers EVERYTHING (never once saw a bill or had to sign anything after those hospital stays).
Job situation: Yes, it would probably be hard to find work locally, and the pay would be low. I know some expats who teach. Your Spanish would probably need to be fluent. If you're the entrepreneurial type, though, there would likely be plenty of opportunities, and a lot of expats make investments in real estate. My husband and I both do freelance work part-time from home with U.S.-based clients.
Activities: Yes to all your interests!
Here are a couple of sites you might want to check out, if you haven't already found them (I know there's not a ton out there about Uruguay):
I got a good sense of what it might be like to live in Uruguay from this blog. Once we moved here, we actually became good friends with the American writers and their nearly-three-year-old daughter. They recently moved to Bariloche, Argentina, for a few months, but take a good look around their blog and drop them a note, if you'd like. Lots of informative posts about life in Montevideo with a little one. And their values and interests are very in line with the MotheringDotCommunity!
If you can sift through all the real estate investment stuff (not my interest, but possibly yours), you'll find some informative little articles written by expats.
And, of course, let me know if you have any other questions!
This is a great thread!!
Uruguay is a place that has caught my interest, as well. I've been reading and researching about living there.
I am from the US, my husband is Peruvian. He is fluent in Spanish (of course), and I am so-so. (I'd work on my language skills before moving). Right now we live in the states, but are trying to figure out what we want to do in the coming years.
I'm also a homebirth midwife, and I am very interested in serving families who desire homebirth wherever we end up landing.
We homeschool our two boys.
The one thing I came across that I am wondering if any of you know anything about...I read that the government has only one mandatory vaccine, tetanus. How "mandatory" is this? Is it something we'd have no choice about if we moved there? Right now, we don't vaccinate our kids at all.
It's so exciting to consider big moves, isn't it?
The tetanus vaccine is required in order to get a Carné de Salud, which is basically a piece of paper giving you a clean bill of health. In theory, it's not a big deal if you don't get a Carné; however, you need it for many things, such as applying for residency, joining sports clubs, getting a driver's license, to name a few. Our daughter's daycare never asked for one, interestingly. Other schools may (you homeschool anyway, so that wouldn't be an issue).
A homebirth midwifery presence here would be wonderful. As far as I know, it's quite uncommon, although I did hear of one expat who had a homebirth here about a year ago.
Besides the URLs I listed in my previous post, you might want to check out the wiki my husband put together about moving to Uruguay: http://uruguaywiki.nfshost.com
He updates it regularly.
Let me know if you have any other questions. We're planning on staying here at least one more year and then possibly moving to Mexico.
Can anyone living in Uruguay give info about the general cost of living? Also, where can I find info on immigration/residence requirements?
ETA - is homeschooling legal over there?
DH and I are also seriously contemplating a move to Uruguay. I'm so glad to find this thread. I had wondered about Vax, and schools, as we have a 2 yo DS.
From information I have gathered so far, I think our biggest hurdle is going to be a job for DH. He is currently working as a mechanical engineer, and also has IT experience, but it seems like jobs are hard to get for expats.
What is this freelance work a PP mentioned? This job issue is really the only thing holding us back at this point. That, and I'm curious about home prices. We dont want anything huge and fancy. We want a slower, more natural pace of life, away from the US. We'd like to be as off the grid and self sufficient as possible. Anyone have any information in that respect, I would so very appreciate your input!