Nervous about moving to Chennai

#1 Jul 18th, 2008, 17:20
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  • bully64 is offline
#1
Hi, my company wants me to move with my family to Chennai for a 3 year posting. i'm interested in the opportunity but worried about what life will be like there with my wife and 2 children (5yrs and 8yrs. I'm particularly interested in the standard of education for my kids, the best school to send them to and how it compares with the education standards in the UK.
#2 Jul 20th, 2008, 01:46
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  • Pelle is offline
#2
There is a British international school in Chennai, they are supposed to offer the same educational standards as in the UK.

There is also an American International School.

The British School
2/628, Sultan Ahmed Street, Neelangarai
4KM from Thiruvanmiur, East Coast Road, Chennai.
#3 Jul 20th, 2008, 23:01
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  • milliways is offline
#3
Hi bully64,

there is also the American School http://www.aisch.org/

You should check if you are in time for registration for the next year. Usually the popular schools are fully booked quickly.

have fun
milliways
#4 Jul 21st, 2008, 03:40
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  • Betsy is offline
#4
I was told by a women who works in the British High Commission that there is no British School.
We are moving from London to Chennai in August and we are sending our 2 boys 6 and 4 to the American International School. It is around the world known as a very good school. But we were told that there are waiting lists for some of the classes. If you decide to move let me know. I would be happy to help you in any way.

Betsy
#5 Jul 21st, 2008, 03:41
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Thanks for the information. Does anybody have a recommendation on which school would be best in terms of western kids attending so that it would be easier for them to settle in. Also what's life like in Chennai in terms of health, safety, getting about etc. With me being at work all day is there much to keep my wife occuppied (clubs, social gatherings etc)?
Your help is appreciated.
#6 Jul 21st, 2008, 03:45
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Hi Betsy,
Thanks for that. I'll be sure to let you know if we decide to go. I hope you and your family enjoy it, hats off to you for taking the plunge!
#7 Jul 21st, 2008, 13:30
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  • Nick-H is offline
#7
Hello Betsy, welcome to the site

Quote:
Originally Posted by Betsy View Post I was told by a women who works in the British High Commission that there is no British School.

The British School
Founded 2005; maybe your High Commission lady hasn't caught up yet?

But, hey, I wish I was in the education business. Just look at those fees!

I am really very cynical about 'international school' fees.
~
Life gets aadhar every day.
.
#8 Jul 22nd, 2008, 08:40
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  • SAHM is offline
#8
Quote:
Originally Posted by bully64 View Post Thanks for the information. Does anybody have a recommendation on which school would be best in terms of western kids attending so that it would be easier for them to settle in. Also what's life like in Chennai in terms of health, safety, getting about etc. With me being at work all day is there much to keep my wife occuppied (clubs, social gatherings etc)?
Your help is appreciated.
The Oversea's Women's Club offers many social activities. Check out their website.

I don't know much about The British International School - I was under the impression that it was simply a private Indian school that followed UK curriculum, not a school that was sponsored by the British consultate (or equivalent). The American International School is sponsored by the US consulate, which is why it gets to call itself the American International School, I guess. As of two months ago there was a very long wait list for some grades, so check into that. There are some British children attending, along with a vast mixture of Asian, American, and European kids.

Health: avoid mosquitos at all costs. Be prepared for Delhi Belly, we all get some version of it. Usually your system adjusts after a few weeks/months and incidences decrease or disappear.

Beware heat exhaustion, especially for children, who may not drink enough or take in enough electrolytes (personal experience speaking here).

Safety: I feel Chennai is a relatively safe city. Having said that, the threats are different (street dogs, snakes, etc.). I would walk anywhere after dark in Chennai, provided I had a good flashlight and was watching where I put my feet. Petty theft is probably your biggest risk.

Traffic: is usually a big shock. Very crazy. If your wife doesn't have her own car and driver, she may very well not want to go anywhere for a while until she adjusts.

Good luck,

SAHM
#9 Jul 22nd, 2008, 09:07
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Thanks Sahm.
How much of a problem are snakes....my wife is terrified of them! There are differing reports on IM with some saying you don't see them in the city but others do. What about the suburbs?
#10 Jul 22nd, 2008, 09:20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bully64 View Post Thanks Sahm.
How much of a problem are snakes....my wife is terrified of them! There are differing reports on IM with some saying you don't see them in the city but others do. What about the suburbs?
I'm really having fun with the colors today.

OK, snakes. I can only give you my direct experiences with them. We live on the beach, some palm trees, big yard. Not a lot of cover for snakes though. In 18 months we have had three snakes; only one in our yard. Two were in the lane and were harmless rat snakes. The one in our yard was a 12" Krait. (Poisonous). All are dead. I pay a bounty to my guards for dead snakes.

Disclaimer: In the US, I loved having snakes in my yard because they kept the moles down, but we lived in a state which had virtually no poisonous snakes. In India, I don't have moles and I do have kids who run around outside all the time, plus many more snakes are poisonous here. Sadly, my guards are not good snake identifiers, so they kill first and then bring them to me to identify (via the Chennai snake society's handbook).

When my friends are looking for housing, I advise them to avoid homes with lots of shady, branched-treed areas (does that make sense? I mean trees that are not coconut trees.) More shade, more cover, mean more snakes - that is my deduction from hearing many snake stories from other expatriates.

Also, rats = snakes, so keeping the rats down (cleaning up your street/vacant lot next to you) is also important.

I would have to say that you see them as much in the city as in the suburbs. My driver, who lives near the airport, had a Krait in his toilet last year. Another friend on boat club road had 14 snakes in 6 months, in her yard. (Then she cleaned up the vacant lot next door.) Personally, I'd say the closer you are to the beach the less snakes you will see. That is what I was told upon moving here and it has proven to be true.
#11 Jul 22nd, 2008, 09:21
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#11
PS I have never heard of an expatriate being bitten by a snake, if that helps your wife. Certainly is possible, but generally the snake isn't anxious to be a part of your life.
#12 Jul 22nd, 2008, 09:36
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Thanks again, that information really helps....not sure if my wife will be convinced though. I'm still getting to grips on how much research needs to be done before making a decision on moving out to Chennai. I'm coming round to the idea of going ahead for 6 months or so before my wife and kids come out, at least that way i'll be a bit more 'street wise'.
#13 Jul 22nd, 2008, 15:57
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  • ranjith010 is offline
#13
The only snakes i have seen in chennai, are the ones in snake park. i have lived all my life in chennai(26 yrs) and havent seen one snake in the city. where exactly do you(SAHM) stay? Have you ever seen a snake in the city. You must be one of those guys who of those people who built house outside the city and complain you found snakes in your garden. Obviously you are going to find snakes in suburbs(they were deforested only recently). Please dont scare people like this! The truth is it is hard to live in the city if you are of different ethnic group, because you woudnt find any who looks or speaks like you. So most of them live outside the city, mostly in ECR region.
#14 Jul 22nd, 2008, 21:44
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Quote:
You must be one of those guys who of those people who built house outside the city and complain you found snakes in your garden.
Ranjith, she is only telling what she has seen and experienced, which is what this board is about. Indeed she lives far out of Chennai, and put her snake sighting in that context.

Please read more carefuly what people say before you attack it.

Quote:
Obviously you are going to find snakes in suburbs(they were deforested only recently).
That covers most of the area that is now Central Southern Chennai --- less than 100 years old, much of it much younger.
Quote:
The truth is it is hard to live in the city if you are of different ethnic group, because you woudnt find any who looks or speaks like you. So most of them live outside the city, mostly in ECR region.
Rubbish.

In fact, verging on racist rubbish.
#15 Jul 23rd, 2008, 07:25
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#15
Indeed, I do live outside the city, but in fact rent a house that was built at least 15 years ago. I believe it was one of the first resort-style homes built on ECR. Although I have to agree with you, new construction does disturb the wildlife and it's possible that you might see more snakes if you had a new house. I know the only time we had rats in the US was because someone was building a new house next door....and the excavating required disturbed the rats, which then moved into our back yard.

As far as not blending in - I find that I don't blend in no matter where I live in Asia. I realized that about 20 years ago when I lived in Japan.....and you REALLY don't blend in anywhere when you have children from different racial groups, as we do. Ah well. That's not the reason we chose not to live in the city.


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