Laura Brind, the Cayman Islands

Who are you?

My name is Laura. I live with my husband, two chihuahuas and a rescue kitten, and I work as a teacher for autistic children.

Where, when and why did you move abroad?

We moved to the Cayman Islands from the UK in August 2018, as I had lived pretty much my whole life in London and fancied a change.

What challenges did you face during the move?

It was all fairly easy. It was very stressful arranging to move the dogs, but it all went off without a hitch!

How did you find somewhere to live?

My employers arranged for new staff to stay in a hotel for two weeks, but as we were bringing the dogs, we couldn’t do this, so we got some advice on the Expats in the Cayman Islands Facebook group about where to stay and found a property through the local website, EcayTrade, before we arrived. It was a risk paying the deposit and a month’s rent before we had even seen the place, but it paid off!

Are there many other expats in your area?

Yes, there is a large number of expats living in the Cayman Islands, and they are very supportive of newcomers.

What is your relationship like with the locals?

Generally good, although, as expats tend to come and go, it can be harder to form close friendships.

What do you like about life where you are?

I have learnt to dive, which has been a wonderful experience. I have had the pleasure of diving with turtles, stingrays and sharks! We have also been lucky enough to make a good group of friends, who we enjoy happy hours, beach parties and sunsets with.

What do you dislike about your expat life?

Being so far from home can be difficult, and there is less personal security living in a country that is not your birth country.

What is the biggest cultural difference you have experienced between your new country and life back home?

Given the large number of expats here, there are a lot of home comforts, so we haven’t had to adapt too much. The culture is very American, so we have had to get used to using the American language. There have also been other small cultural differences, such as differences in the service industry (e.g. tipping and table service at bars).

What advice would you give to anyone following in your footsteps?

Reach out to others who are already in the country you are thinking of moving to. In my experience, they have been very helpful.

What are your plans for the future?

We will be staying here for now, as the quality of life is better for us than it was back home.

Laura’s website, Autismbug, provides useful information for anyone interested in learning about autism. You can also follow her on Facebook @autismuplifted.