A concrete jungle perched on the Atlantic Ocean, New York City is the storied destination of American immigration, its diverse communities and enduring old-world neighbourhoods living representations of the city’s worldly appeal. Expats moving to New York today aren't the wide-eyed 'fresh off the boat' fortune seekers of old, though, but rather the jet-setting, business-savvy players of the world's economy.
Living in New York City as an expat
At first, moving to New York can be frustrating; expats must learn to manage the competitive housing market, adjust to a new system of schooling, and find adequate employment. The work environment and the Manhattan lifestyle are brisk and energetic, and enjoying the fruits of labour is the best part of working in the Big Apple.
NYC is known as the city that never sleeps and it's true that New Yorkers really do work hard and play harder. New arrivals to New York will be moving to the most populated city in the United States and will find that while space comes at a premium, they will have a host of diverse neighbourhoods to choose from. The city's well-established public transportation network is another bonus. The subway operates 24/7 and there are also buses and commuter trains for those travelling to places that are a little further afield.
As is the case throughout the US, expats moving to New York will have to ensure they have invested in a fully comprehensive health insurance plan. This will allow them to take advantage of the leading healthcare facilities in the city.
Expat families and children in NYC
The standard of public schools in New York is generally good, but many expats send their children to one of the city's many excellent international schools. Fees are high and space at the most popular schools is limited, so it is best to begin the application process before relocating. Those planning on opting for public schooling should note that priority is given to families living in the school's zoning area, a fact best kept in mind when choosing a new home.
Cost of living in NYC
While it's true that the cost of living in NYC is high, it's best thought of as the price of admission to living in a city with endless highlights. There’s no better place in the US when it comes to broadening one's horizons, with ample opportunities to explore a dynamic nightlife, eclectic selection of restaurants and thriving theatre scene.
►For a comprehensive guide to education in the Big Apple, download our free New York City Schools Guide
"New York is a unique place being so busy and so tightly packed. It’s frantic, it’s loud, and you learn to love the trash on the sidewalks. I moved here because I wanted to be part of a big city, and that’s exactly what I got. There’s always something new to explore, and there’s always somewhere new to visit." Read more about Australian expat Josh's experiences in NYC.
"I love the energy and vibrancy of New York, and the accessibility of culture – theatres, museums, galleries are all within walking distance for us." To read more about British expat Jayne's NYC experiences, check out her expat interview.
"Explore, explore, explore! Get out of your comfort zone, even if it means going sightseeing by yourself. Take your free time – be it the weekends or other days – to simply explore the streets and look at great New York things. And don’t be afraid to go to areas that are not mentioned in the tourist guides. My friend and I went to Harlem, Bushwick and Bedstuy in the beginning (during the day). It was helpful to gain an overall impression of the Big Apple and to not only see the glamorous side Europeans often brag about." Read more in German expat Laura's NYC interview.
Are you an expat living in New York City?
Expat Arrivals is looking for locals to contribute to this guide, and answer forum questions from others planning their move to New York City. Please contact us if you'd like to contribute.
Expat Health Insurance
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