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An Expat Talks about Living in Seattle, Washington

What is the name of the city or town that you are reporting on?

Seattle

How long have you lived there?

30 years

What activities, clubs and organizations would you recommend to newcomers to help them meet others?

Cascade Bike Club, The mountaineers and UW extension classes

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In terms of religious, racial, economic and cultural diversity, are the people of this city or town diverse? Are they accepting of differences? Describe.

Very culturally diverse and relatively accepting. The sad part about Seattle is there is still quiet a bit of segregation. Minorities generally live South of Seattle and North Seattle is predominently middle-upper class white. There are some exceptions to this and more integration than 20 years ago...but still noticeable. However, the upside is Seattle is very youthful and liberal and it is a great place to live if you are different from others!

What are the main industries in this city? What types of career opportunities commonly exist? How do most people find new jobs?

Everything exists in Seattle. Of course Microsoft and Boeing are huge. The dot.coms still have a presence....and if all else fails there is tons of opportunity to be a Barista! AND lots of great educational opportunities, if you can't get a job, go back to school! But first establish residency so the UW doesn't cost an arm and a leg!

In general, what are peoples' priorities in this city? For example, do lives revolve around work, family, socializing, sports, etc.?

People like to work....and in the winter...people hibernate and watch movies...but once the sun comes out....the summer is packed with great things to do. The summer concerts at San Michelle Winery and Summer Nights at the Pier are unforgettable. Seafair gets every neighborhood involved in celebrating the Pacific Northwest. Not to mention, we have tons of great hikes, bike rides, the San Juan Islands, the Puget Sound, Lake Washington........This is one of the most beautiful, friendly, outdoor orientated place I have ever been in the world....3 months out of the year. The other 9 months.....well.... it rains!

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If a friend of yours was thinking of moving to this city or town from far away, what other advice would you give them.

Be prepared for a competitive job market. Be prepared to creatively present yourselves to employers. Also be prepared for EXPENSIVE housing, try and buy instead of rent. The housing market continues to climb and a purchase I made 5 years ago has doubled in market value! Come both in the Winter and Summer. The winters are long and grey...you want to make sure you can live with that, or afford to get away in January or February to the sun for a couple of weeks. The weather is rarely cold....I rarely wear a coat....its sun starvation that many of us suffer from. I make it a habit to do a pilgrimage to the sun 1 or 2 times during our winter. Socially, people are friendly. Easy to make friends if you make the effort. Harder if you are in introvert. People are busy,it is helpful to get involved in a club or other interest to develop meaningful friends.

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