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An Expat Talks about Living in Hamilton, Bermuda

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

Hamilton

How long have you lived there?

5 years

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

Women should join the Internation American Women's Club. It isn't just for Americans, and has members from all over the globe, mostly Americans, Brits and Canadians, and some Bermudians. And excellent way of meeting other women and finding out about everything you need to know in order to live on this surprisingly challenging (if beautiful) island. There is also a British Wives group. My advice - take it slowly and don't say anything to anyone you wouldn't want them to repeat.

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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.

The blacks and the whites tend not to mix much socially, except perhaps in the churches. There is a quite noticeable level of resentment on the part of the blacks towards the whites, and the politics is uncomfortable at times, although not physically threatening at all.

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

Banking and insurance and tourism in that order. Lots of unskilled hotel work but very badly paid. Lots of opportunities for hairdressers and beauticians, but also badly paid. Foreigners can't come here and look for work. You need a visa and a job before you come. And there is a limit, quite strictly enforced, as to how long foreigners are allowed to stay - although it does depend on how valuable you are to your company.

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

Life revolves around the company you work for primarily, and the friends you make there through social events. Secondly sports associations (squash, golf etc.) and for ladies the American Women's Club and its events.

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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.

Don't, unless you have a very good remuneration package, with a housing allowance of at least $2500. You will not be able to rent ANYTHING for less than that, and a decent appartment will cost $5000 up. Everything is VERY expensive, especially food. The island is VERY small, and you will get "island fever" and need to leave periodically. This is also quite expensive as there are no cheap flights off the island. Go and have a look first, and be prepared for culture shock.

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