Moving to Chile from the UK

All things related to Moving to Chile, tips, tricks, FAQS. Here is where to exchange information between those that have already moved and those planning to move to Chile so you do not need to learn the hard way. Please also check Living in Chile forum for related information.
emanresu
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Moving to Chile from the UK

Post by emanresu » Wed Jul 06, 2016 5:06 pm

Hi All,

We are a couple in our mid-30s currently living in the UK. I am a Spanish as a Foreign Language Teacher and my wife is a Graphic Designer. She is originally from Central America so speaks Spanish natively, but struggles with English and finds it difficult to adapt to the life in the UK. This is the main reason we are considering moving to a Spanish speaking country and now Brexit also complicates her immigration status. Moving to her home country is out of question due to safety issues, so we are looking at other options principally Chile, Argentina and Uruguay.

[*]We would arrive with enough money for a year.
[*]We would like to try for a baby within 2-3 years.
[*]We are considering a long term move, at least for 5 years, possibly for ever.
[*]We both speak fluent Spanish.
[*]Although I am a naturalised British citizen, I am not a native speaker of English.
[*]Neither of us can drive.
[*]We could rely on some minimal passive income, about 250-300 US dollars/month

Do you think that Chile would be the right place for us to move? We are also considering Argentina and Uruguay, but Chile seems the most stable both politically and economically.

Thanks a lot.

Britkid
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Re: Moving to Chile from the UK

Post by Britkid » Wed Jul 06, 2016 7:20 pm

Chile does offer some advantages around issues like stability, and good health care, however the cost of living is not that low.

There's not really enough information in your post to determine whether Chile would be right for you.

You want to live on 250-300$/month? Each? Or total? Seems too low for family with baby. If you don't have a baby, and are going to share a house or apartment with others, it might be possible.

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Space Cat
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Re: Moving to Chile from the UK

Post by Space Cat » Wed Jul 06, 2016 7:22 pm

Hi there!

Not driving is not a problem unless you're moving to a very small town (10-50k pop.).

$250-300 of passive income is a good bonus but you should have about $2000/m if you're going to have a baby. Please see last pages of this thread about the current costs of living.

Your wife can try to work remotely. My wife is a graphic designer too (mostly illustrator though), we can share some tips about income from stock illustrations. Also it's quite comfortable to work with US clients from the Chilean time zones.

emanresu
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Re: Moving to Chile from the UK

Post by emanresu » Thu Jul 07, 2016 8:12 am

Thanks for your answers.

The $250-300/month would be a bonus to top up our Chilean income.

My wife occasionally has some clients from Spain or Latin America, but her limited ability to speak English makes it impossible for her to find clients in the UK or in the US. She gets by and keeps learning, but it is just not enough to develop a professional career in English. She is a very intelligent person, with 2 Master's degrees, but languages are just not her cup of tea and finds it very frustrating that the only kind of job she can apply for in the UK is cleaning toilets or picking fruit. Her immigration status is pending and Brexit has just made things worse for us. She doesn't feel at ease here either especially after having been racially abused in the street. She thinks she could blend in more easily in Chile or other Latin country. She is also concerned about the growing terrorist threat in Europe and says she prefers petty thieves to murderous lunatics.

Myself as a Spanish teacher always have been interested in Hispanic culture, so moving to Chile certainly appeals to me. On the other hand I am not quite sure what could I do in Chile, perhaps I would re-train as an English or Social Studies teacher. I understand that teaching is not the best paid profession in Chile, but I don't want to get rich just have a quiet life in a relatively safe and stable country and raise my family.

Britkid
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Re: Moving to Chile from the UK

Post by Britkid » Thu Jul 07, 2016 10:38 am

There are probably some challenges to teaching in Chile perhaps both bureaucratic and cultural, but I couldn't say much more. http://thornyrose-gardenspot.blogspot.cl/ may be loosely relevant and worth a read. I suggest you either come to Chile very lightly, without a lot of possessions, and try it out, or come for a long visit in advance and plan very carefully.

Re sticking out if she is well educated, from a richer Central American country, and looks more European Hispanic than dark Hispanic, then she will certainly blend in easier. There might be some negative racial sentiment towards people from poorer Latin American countries or people with very dark Indian looks, probably more subtle than outright in your face discrimination I would guess, but hard for me to comment further about how bad that is or whether it's worse than other countries. If your partner is black she will absolutely stick out here, more so than in the UK, since black people are fairly rare and so quite noticeable. Must be like 1-2% of the population only. I don't really know much about these issues, so I hope someone else can comment now I've brought it up.

Re- getting clients. Compared to the UK a smaller proportion of your business can be driven by online presence and advertising but if you do use online marketing - mostly focus on facebook for Chile. You will need to make a network of contacts so that your business comes from friends and friends and cousins of friends and then through word of mouth. This is a lot easier if you have Chilean family and kids in school and other ways to make networks, otherwise it is potentially be going to be harder. Do you have contacts here? If not, what is your plan to get them?

Income wise, so if I understand you, your overall total income will be much higher than 250-300/month.

Not driving is an issue if you are going to have a baby because the underground is really busy at all times of the day, the buses can be also, bus drivers start off driving before passengers have sat down, even with children, and sometimes drive along with the doors open. I think learn to drive if you are going to have a baby. The other factor re learning to drive is that if you have a medical emergency in Chile you cannot expect the ambulance to come in 10 minutes here, so that could be an issue if you don't have a car, unless of course you live in Santiago near a good hospital. Make sure you have your higher education/University certificate ready before you arrive as this is a requirement for getting a license. I don't remember the exact details, do a search on this forum.

However, for people without kids, public transport here is actually - at least for central Chile - better than the UK in terms of frequency of service even outside the city. Public transport is also generally much cheaper than driving unlike the UK where it is about the same. It is quite common here for people to own cars for status or in order to run the kids around on the weekend, then take the bus to work every day to save on petrol.

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Space Cat
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Re: Moving to Chile from the UK

Post by Space Cat » Thu Jul 07, 2016 10:40 am

emanresu wrote:Thanks for your answers.

The $250-300/month would be a bonus to top up our Chilean income.

My wife occasionally has some clients from Spain or Latin America, but her limited ability to speak English makes it impossible for her to find clients in the UK or in the US. She gets by and keeps learning, but it is just not enough to develop a professional career in English. She is a very intelligent person, with 2 Master's degrees, but languages are just no her cup of tea and finds it very frustrating that the only kind of job she can apply for in the UK is cleaning toilets or picking fruit. Her immigration status is pending and Brexit has just made things worse for us. She doesn't feel at ease here either especially after having been racially abused in the street. She thinks she could blend in more easily in Chile or other Latin country. She is also concerned about the growing terrorist threat in Europe and says she prefers petty thieves to murderous lunatics.

Myself as a Spanish teacher always have been interested in Hispanic culture, so moving to Chile certainly appeals to me. On the other hand I am not quite sure what could I do in Chile, perhaps I would re-train as an English or Social Studies teacher. I understand that teaching is not the best paid profession in Chile, but I don't want to get rich just have a quiet life in a relatively safe and stable country and raise my family.
Haha, I know many Eastern European programmers who successfully work with US clients despite their limited ability to speak English. :D
I think UK English is also harder, so maybe she could pick US English by watching TV shows in English with subtitles and reading news (I did it in the beginning).

Anyway I sent you a PM about microstocks, there's not so much English involved and you probably can help her.

Are you a native English speaker? You can try to find additional income by teaching English via Internet:
https://www.cambly.com/en/tutors?lang=en
https://www.verbling.com/tutoring/browse/english
https://preply.com/en/skype/english-tutors

And also Spanish. But I think avg. rate is lower for Spanish...

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wiscondinavian
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Re: Moving to Chile from the UK

Post by wiscondinavian » Thu Jul 07, 2016 11:33 am

emanresu wrote: She is originally from Central America so speaks Spanish natively, but struggles with English and finds it difficult to adapt to the life in the UK.
How long has she been in the UK? I only really felt comfortable speaking Spanish after a year of practically full immersion (less than 5% speaking English in a week I would guess other than Skype) and then another 6 months of secretarial work that got me using it in a more professional setting. She'd be better off with something in the service industry to get more practice than scrubbing toilets. :)

If she can improve her English a bit before coming down here, it'll help her immensely with job opportunities if she wants to be hired locally.

emanresu
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Re: Moving to Chile from the UK

Post by emanresu » Thu Jul 07, 2016 12:19 pm

My wife has been in the UK for about a year. She is Mestiza, but her complexion is not darker than the average Chilean or Mexican, although she has some recognisable Native American facial features. In my opinion she would blend in perfectly in any Latin American country. (Perhaps with the exception of Argentina and Uruguay.) Nevertheless, in a small market town in rural England where the only foreigners are blond Polish waitresses she sticks out.

We don't know anybody in Chile. My wife is very comitted to her Protestant church, so I guess she could make her first contacts through them. I am more interested in history, literature, local traditions so might join a club or association or something like that.

We do have some contacts in Argentina who could lend as a helping hand, but in my opinion the overall stability of Chile weighs more than the possibility of an initial push in Argentina, especially in the long run.

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Space Cat
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Re: Moving to Chile from the UK

Post by Space Cat » Thu Jul 07, 2016 1:26 pm

emanresu wrote:I am more interested in history, literature, local traditions so might join a club or association or something like that.
There are English-speaking groups in different cities, you can find them on Facebook. You can go and meet both Chileans and immigrants from other countries who are fluent speakers.

Andres
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Re: Moving to Chile from the UK

Post by Andres » Thu Jul 07, 2016 5:45 pm

emanresu wrote:but languages are just no her cup of tea
I know you said she is from a Spanish-speaking country, but keep in mind that the Chileans do not speak Spanish.

As an example, I know an Argentinian-Mexican couple; the Argentinian wife has to translate for her Mexican husband what the Chileans are saying.
Chile: My expectations are low. Very low.
I accept chaos. I'm not sure whether it accepts me.

emanresu
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Re: Moving to Chile from the UK

Post by emanresu » Thu Jul 07, 2016 6:34 pm

Andres wrote: I know you said she is from a Spanish-speaking country, but keep in mind that the Chileans do not speak Spanish.

As an example, I know an Argentinian-Mexican couple; the Argentinian wife has to translate for her Mexican husband what the Chileans are saying.
Yes, I am well aware of that. I have purchased a book Chilenismos by Daniel Joelson and I am also watching Chilean TV. I am already familiar with many local expressions and understand Chilean films, telenovelas, talk shows quite well. On the other hand, when I watched a documentary about prison inmates I only understood the reporter, however I am not sure if I would understand British or American prison slang any better.

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Space Cat
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Re: Moving to Chile from the UK

Post by Space Cat » Thu Jul 07, 2016 7:18 pm

Educated people speak quite clean Spanish here. The problem with the local dialect is exaggerated imo.

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