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Sonagi

relocation advice

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After living overseas for more than ten years and now at home with Mom, I am looking at relocating to North Carolina as the school districts in the state have plentiful job openings, especially in ESL.

I am a single 40-year-old and my priorities are:

1. affordable housing

2. low crime relative to population

3. decent public transport ( I will have my own car, but it's nice to have the bus as an option)

4. parks, gardens, and other scenic outdoor spots

5. withing driving distance of culture - concerts, museums, ethnic restaurants

I've heard a lot of bad things about CMS, so I'm reluctant to move to Charlotte. What about other large cities like Greensboro or Raleigh? I understand that many smaller towns are keen to hire ESL teachers to meet the needs of a growing Latino immigrant workforce.

Any relocation-related information or advice is greatly appreciated. I've been doing a lot of research into cost of living and quality of life, but personal comments can be more informative than statistics.

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Having lived in both Charlotte and Raleigh areas, I personally feel that you will find more diversity, as well as cultural and entertainment options in the Charlotte area. If you don't want to be a part of CMS, there are several other NC towns around Charlotte (not in Mecklenburg County) where you could work and still be near all the great things Charlotte has to offer.

On the other hand, Wake County (Raleigh) has a really good school system, but I would suspect that competition for jobs there is higher because of that. I believe Wake County has the highest cost of living in the state, also. Like Charlotte, you could find a job in another town near Raleigh and probably live cheaper. An advantage of the Raleigh area is that there are so many colleges near by, so you would have access to that if you needed it. Charlotte has it's fair share of colleges too, including CPCC, which is thought to be the best community college in the state, but the caliber of the colleges in the Raleigh area is higher.

Both areas offer public transportation, but you would need to make sure that you actually live within walking distance of a bus stop and that your school is served by the bus route also--the public transportation systems are by no means comprehensive. Charlotte is working on a light rail system, I don't know about Raleigh.

Ultimately it really just depends on what you prefer. If you want to feel more like you're in a city, then Charlotte is your best bet, but both areas have great qualities.

You might want to consider Greensboro, Winston-Salem, and Asheville also, but I think you will find more of your priorities in Charlotte or Raleigh.

I could go on futher, but this post is already long enough! I would suggest going through the NC forum to gather more information about our cities from the people who live in them. Good luck!

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1.  affordable housing

2.  low crime relative to population

3.  decent public transport ( I will have my own car, but it's nice to have the bus as an option)

4.  parks, gardens, and other scenic outdoor spots

5.  withing driving distance of culture - concerts, museums, ethnic restaurants

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

I think Chapel Hill fits that description best, with a good school system too. I don't you're looking for a college town per se though... I'd also look into Greensboro.. anything's probably better than CMS lol

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Wake County(Raleigh, Cary, along with 10 orther towns) was ranked the second best Large school system in the south after Austin, TX last year. Despite overwhelming growth the last decade or so they are consistently at the top of the list with great performing schools throughout all grade levels. Also they have tons of Magnet schools which specialize it certain areas. Arts, Engineering, etc.

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Hope you can make it to NC. :) I agree, I think you can find plenty of openings here for ESL teachers. There are many nice places in the state that would meet your criteria I believe.

Being an ESL teacher you probably can appreciate diversity. For its size, I think Greensboro has a pretty diverse population. In fact it is my favorite thing about living here. Guilford County Schools which includes Greensboro and High Point had 4,811 ESL students during the 2004-05 school year. That comprises 7% of the student body.

Guilford County Schools

I think NC has many great places to live and work though.

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Take a look at Wilimington and Asheville. I have been pleasantly surprised with both. Real estate prices seem very reasonable. They're not the size of Raleigh or Charlotte but they they offer a lot relative to your priorities. They both have a transit system.

I'd choose Wilmington or Raleigh over Charlotte. Asheville is cool, but too far from the coast and it can get cold and snowy.

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Based on your desires I would advice listening to Graydog and taking a serious look at both Asheville and Wilmington. They have a lot to offer in regards to cultural ammenities in addition to being all around great towns. I love living in Charlotte but if I were to leave for another NC location Wilmington and Asheville would top my list.

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Thanks, everyone, for all the advice. Asheville would actually be my first choice since it is in the mountains and has more of a four-season climate. I am from Michigan, so I am used to being pelted with snow, freezing rain, and sleet all winter long. From the job market research I've done, it doesn't look like Asheville is begging for ESL teachers, so I'll probably go where the jobs are. I don't mind a small town as long as it is within easy driving distance of a medium-sized to large city. Housing is more affordable in a small town, and that is my first priority. I know that many small towns are getting an influx of Hispanic workers. I did learn Spanish for three years in high school and can have a simple conversation. However, I was hoping for a more diverse population of students and neighbors. I lived in Korea and China for several years, speak Korean fluently and speak some Mandarin, and I don't want to throw those language skills away. I would expect Charlotte to have the most diverse foreign population, so I'll proably look for a district in that area.

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In the search box, I typed in "North Carolina," "Korean churches" and "Korean restaurants" and discovered that Raleigh, Durham, and Greensboro all have a Korean community. In fact, there are more than 3,000 Koreans in Greensboro, and there are Koreans scattered all over North Carolina as Koreans go where the jobs are. I would guess any of the above cities would have a fairly diverse diverse population of not only Koreans but other nationalities, too.

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I think Chapel Hill fits that description best, with a good school system too.  I don't you're looking for a college town per se though... I'd also look into Greensboro.. anything's probably better than CMS lol

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

Chapel Hill's school are great, but real estate prices are some of the most expensive in the state, on average. I'd bet that most of the teachers in CH public schools live in Durham.

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If you want a small-ish town in the mountains with explosive growth and a large immigrant population, take a look at Hendersonville. There's still a farily large agricultural base in the economy down there which tends to make it more immigrant-friendly.

Oh, and they have transit, too. (Just a couple of routes, but you can actually catch a bus all the way to Asheville if you don't mind a transfer at the airport.)

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If you want a small-ish town in the mountains with explosive growth and a large immigrant population, take a look at Hendersonville. There's still a farily large agricultural base in the economy down there which tends to make it more immigrant-friendly.

Oh, and they have transit, too. (Just a couple of routes, but you can actually catch a bus all the way to Asheville if you don't mind a transfer at the airport.)

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

An addendum: I also know that there's at least one Korean church in the Asheville area; it's on Mills Gap Road (which is on the very southern tip of town.) But, to be quite honest, racial diversity is not something that Asheville is famous for. Asheville is more well known for diversity of opinions, lifestyles, religions, etc. The city itself has representation from lots of different places, and as I said before Hendersonville has a large hispanic population, but the region on the whole is dominated by folks of european descent.

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A few HS teachers from my former stomping grounds went to the Newton-Conover schools for better pay. I do not know about the cost of living in that area but i am sure it is affordable. Nearby, is a small city called Hickory which has many big city amenties. It is a small town situated in the western part of the state off I-40. Heres the location.

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