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Old 01-20-2010, 10:02 AM
 
Location: Longueuil, Canada
6 posts, read 8,369 times
Reputation: 10

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Hi everyone,

I am being relocated to Atlanta for a 3-5 year job assignment and need help in trying to know the area better. I am married and have one daughter who is 3 right now so I need to find housing (I think we can spend to 500 thousand) and child care services. I have the following questions and would very appreciate anyone's help! Also, I apologize if my english is not perfect due to my native language being French.


1. Could any of you that has ever been to Canada (we live in Montreal in Quebec) describe some of the differences like culture that we can expect after we move to Atlanta?

2. Are there any good preschools that offer bilingual services in French and English? We would like our daughter to be bilingual before starting primary school.

3. My main worry is will we have a difficulty making friends (as we mostly speak french and our english is not perfect) in certain parts of Atlanta?


We are very excited about living in the United States for a while and really appreciate everyone's help!
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Old 01-20-2010, 11:06 AM
 
9,124 posts, read 33,295,188 times
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My first comment would be this- if you're only planning on being here for 3-5 years, I wouldn't buy a house, especially a $500k house. I nthat short of a timeframe, there's little chance of any real appreciation, and you're likely to take a loss when you sell, after paying commissions and fees. Now, if you're planning on sticking around after your current job assignment is over, that's a different story.

All that said, the Atlanta area is huge and very diverse. It would help to know what part of town you'll be working in, as the commute to/from work can be horrible if you don't live near your job.
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Old 01-20-2010, 02:38 PM
 
Location: Longueuil, Canada
6 posts, read 8,369 times
Reputation: 10
Thanks for the advise Bob! I will be working at the intersection of Peachtree Road and the 400 highway. My wife will stay at home so it is important to us to find an area where she will be able to make friends easily. She also wants to be able to join some community organizations once we arrive. A place with a strong sense of community would be best.

You are right that we shouldn't buy a house so quickly but we would like to live in a detached house if possible. Our house now has 4 bedrooms and 3 baths so we prefer something similar over there if you have any good suggestions. Also, is the metro system in Atlanta very good? I can drive but here we usually take the metro as a first priority.

We're not sure what our plans will be in 5 years. I suppose it will depend on our experiences while living in Atlanta and how my job path advances.
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Old 01-20-2010, 03:16 PM
 
Location: Riverside, CA
2,404 posts, read 3,828,219 times
Reputation: 2274
Quote:
Originally Posted by BobKovacs View Post
My first comment would be this- if you're only planning on being here for 3-5 years, I wouldn't buy a house, especially a $500k house. I nthat short of a timeframe, there's little chance of any real appreciation, and you're likely to take a loss when you sell, after paying commissions and fees. Now, if you're planning on sticking around after your current job assignment is over, that's a different story.

All that said, the Atlanta area is huge and very diverse. It would help to know what part of town you'll be working in, as the commute to/from work can be horrible if you don't live near your job.
You must have been reading my mind! I agree totally.
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Old 01-21-2010, 07:10 PM
 
Location: East Cobb
2,206 posts, read 6,178,613 times
Reputation: 913
Quote:
Originally Posted by François B. View Post
Hi everyone,

1. Could any of you that has ever been to Canada (we live in Montreal in Quebec) describe some of the differences like culture that we can expect after we move to Atlanta?

2. Are there any good preschools that offer bilingual services in French and English? We would like our daughter to be bilingual before starting primary school.

3. My main worry is will we have a difficulty making friends (as we mostly speak french and our english is not perfect) in certain parts of Atlanta?

We are very excited about living in the United States for a while and really appreciate everyone's help!
1. I'm from BC, have been in metro Atlanta (northern suburb) for 7 years now. We were in Montreal in November, attending a niece's graduation from McGill. Your question is huge. English Canadians, as you probably know, worry all the time that our culture isn't distinctive enough; that we're not really different from Americans. Hah! Canadians shouldn't worry. The similarities are superficial, the underlying differences quite large. Americans regard their nation and culture as special in a way that's often termed American Exceptionalism. This Wikipedia article is not entirely balanced (as noted in the article) but it gives some of the flavour: American exceptionalism - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia This attitude permeates the culture here, I find, and it's very unlike Canadian culture.

The US is quite politically polarized at present between Republicans (right wing) and Democrats (left wing). The City of Atlanta proper ("inside the perimeter" or ITP i.e. inside the I-285 freeway loop) votes Democrat but the rest of the state is mostly quite strongly Republican, particularly the prosperous Atlanta suburbs. If you reside in a "liberal" area ITP you may find your new neighbours admiring and even envious of Canada's universal healthcare and Quebec's particularly comprehensive social programs such as universal daycare. If you make your home in the suburbs you're likely to find that your new neighbours regard such social programs as an appalling abrogation of individual freedom of choice and if you express any approval of the programs you were used to at home, they'll characterize you as a socialist (a term of deep disapprobation in conservative circles).
Southern culture has different manners ... kids from southern families are strongly expected to address adults as "ma'am" and "sir", for example. Southerners will invariably be polite and gracious to your face, but this is not necessarily indicative of their estimation of you. Their traditional food is very different. As a cosmopolitan city with many immigrants and transplants from other parts of the country, however, many of the people you meant will not be natives of the area.

2. Naturally, there's not much in the way of French services here. The unofficial second language of the area is Spanish. If you can afford private school fees, there's a highly-regarded school named Atlanta International School (AIS) that offers dual immersion education (either English/French, English/German or English/Spanish). This would likely be an ideal school for your daughter, if you have the means.

3. I think you'll find people here are friendly. It is exciting and enriching to experience a different culture. If you continue to approach your sojourn here with a positive attitude, your family will have a good opportunity to enjoy and benefit from the experience.

Last edited by RainyRainyDay; 01-21-2010 at 07:27 PM.. Reason: fixed typo in I-285 name
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Old 01-21-2010, 08:11 PM
 
Location: Longueuil, Canada
6 posts, read 8,369 times
Reputation: 10
Wow, it's great to see another Canadian on here! Where in BC are you from and how did you feel about Montreal? Are you from the Vancouver region? We've visited Vancouver in BC a few times and really liked the city. It feels more modern than Montreal and very international!

1. Your description of American politics is very interesting. It reminds me of politics in Québec. Do you remember when Québec held the referendum a while ago? I could not speak to some of my neighbors afterwards for months because they were so upset at the outcome (and since I voted Non). Is the US like that? I have no problems with the health care here so is it that I would be a socialist over there? We also like Obama so it that not the case over in the states?

2. AIS sounds like a good choice for my daughter. We will consider it. Money is not important since my company is quite generous. We just want our daughter to still have the ability to speak French (I guess it's a cultural thing with us Québécois). Not having French services is not a huge problem as you need to be bilingual in Montreal and my wife and I generally speak with anglophones here in english unless they ask otherwise. I think being trilingual is even better but for now, one new language at a time!

3. That's what we hope too! Also, since you're from Canada, is American english very different from that of anglophones here? I can't really tell a difference but I am interested to know your opinion.

Thanks again for your help!
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Old 01-21-2010, 08:24 PM
 
7,848 posts, read 18,631,018 times
Reputation: 2805
Quote:
Originally Posted by RainyRainyDay View Post
1. I'm from BC, have been in metro Atlanta (northern suburb) for 7 years now. We were in Montreal in November, attending a niece's graduation from McGill. Your question is huge. English Canadians, as you probably know, worry all the time that our culture isn't distinctive enough; that we're not really different from Americans. Hah! Canadians shouldn't worry. The similarities are superficial, the underlying differences quite large. Americans regard their nation and culture as special in a way that's often termed American Exceptionalism. This Wikipedia article is not entirely balanced (as noted in the article) but it gives some of the flavour: American exceptionalism - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia This attitude permeates the culture here, I find, and it's very unlike Canadian culture.

The US is quite politically polarized at present between Republicans (right wing) and Democrats (left wing). The City of Atlanta proper ("inside the perimeter" or ITP i.e. inside the I-285 freeway loop) votes Democrat but the rest of the state is mostly quite strongly Republican, particularly the prosperous Atlanta suburbs. If you reside in a "liberal" area ITP you may find your new neighbours admiring and even envious of Canada's universal healthcare and Quebec's particularly comprehensive social programs such as universal daycare. If you make your home in the suburbs you're likely to find that your new neighbours regard such social programs as an appalling abrogation of individual freedom of choice and if you express any approval of the programs you were used to at home, they'll characterize you as a socialist (a term of deep disapprobation in conservative circles).
Southern culture has different manners ... kids from southern families are strongly expected to address adults as "ma'am" and "sir", for example. Southerners will invariably be polite and gracious to your face, but this is not necessarily indicative of their estimation of you. Their traditional food is very different. As a cosmopolitan city with many immigrants and transplants from other parts of the country, however, many of the people you meant will not be natives of the area.

2. Naturally, there's not much in the way of French services here. The unofficial second language of the area is Spanish. If you can afford private school fees, there's a highly-regarded school named Atlanta International School (AIS) that offers dual immersion education (either English/French, English/German or English/Spanish). This would likely be an ideal school for your daughter, if you have the means.

3. I think you'll find people here are friendly. It is exciting and enriching to experience a different culture. If you continue to approach your sojourn here with a positive attitude, your family will have a good opportunity to enjoy and benefit from the experience.
Great, very informative post, with one exception...the state of Georgia just barely voted Republican in the last presidential election (52% to 48%). Georgia is still a majority Republican state (outside of Atlanta, at least), but the gap has closed considerably in recent years. So to say that Georgia is "quite strongly Republican" isn't really accurate.
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Old 01-21-2010, 08:38 PM
 
3,647 posts, read 4,853,583 times
Reputation: 5797
Welcome to Georgia. I visited Montreal and Quebec City many years ago. It still remains on the list of favorite vacations and I hope to go again someday.
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Old 01-22-2010, 05:24 AM
 
Location: East Cobb
2,206 posts, read 6,178,613 times
Reputation: 913
Quote:
Originally Posted by DeaconJ View Post
Great, very informative post, with one exception...the state of Georgia just barely voted Republican in the last presidential election (52% to 48%). Georgia is still a majority Republican state (outside of Atlanta, at least), but the gap has closed considerably in recent years. So to say that Georgia is "quite strongly Republican" isn't really accurate.
Thanks for the correction. Political preferences must be quite "patchy" though. In my area, north-east Cobb, Democrats are awfully rare and white Democrats even rarer. The vote of the county as a whole is not much different from your statewide figure, but that doesn't mean that the neighbors will be around-half-and-half, anywhere you choose to live. I'm pretty sure others will agree that's very far from the case!
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Old 01-22-2010, 05:39 AM
 
Location: East Cobb
2,206 posts, read 6,178,613 times
Reputation: 913
Quote:
Originally Posted by François B. View Post
Wow, it's great to see another Canadian on here! Where in BC are you from and how did you feel about Montreal? Are you from the Vancouver region? We've visited Vancouver in BC a few times and really liked the city. It feels more modern than Montreal and very international!

1. Your description of American politics is very interesting. It reminds me of politics in Québec. Do you remember when Québec held the referendum a while ago? I could not speak to some of my neighbors afterwards for months because they were so upset at the outcome (and since I voted Non). Is the US like that? I have no problems with the health care here so is it that I would be a socialist over there? We also like Obama so it that not the case over in the states?

2. AIS sounds like a good choice for my daughter. We will consider it. Money is not important since my company is quite generous. We just want our daughter to still have the ability to speak French (I guess it's a cultural thing with us Québécois). Not having French services is not a huge problem as you need to be bilingual in Montreal and my wife and I generally speak with anglophones here in english unless they ask otherwise. I think being trilingual is even better but for now, one new language at a time!

3. That's what we hope too! Also, since you're from Canada, is American english very different from that of anglophones here? I can't really tell a difference but I am interested to know your opinion.

Thanks again for your help!
I've lived all over BC (most recently, in remote Prince Rupert!) but longest in Vancouver. It is a great city, but unhappily I doubt we'll ever afford to move back there. The cost of housing would be beyond our reach.

1. The Quebec referendum is a wonderfully apt comparison. It's very much like that here, even a year after the Obama election. You'll find that Obama supporters really like him, but conservatives really loathe him and don't mince their words about how they consider him to be some combination of foolish, corrupt and hell-bent on destroying the country. Since in most other countries, including Canada, most people have a very positive view of President Obama, the negativity you'll encounter may surprise you.

3. As a non-native speaker of English, you aren't likely to notice much difference between standard American and Canadian English. They're very similar, although native speakers are conscious of some relatively subtle differences in pronounciation and vocabulary. Traditional US southern accents are really so markedly different from US northern and Canadian accents that you will perceive the difference. You don't really hear a lot of strong southern accents in Atlanta, however. The city accent was never as strong as rural accents, and much of the population consists of northern transplants. People do use the term "y'all", a contraction of "you all" a lot, where English Canadians would just say "you" or colloquially, "you guys".
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