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Living in Dallas
A comprehensive guide about living well in Dallas
Slowly but surely, Dallas is becoming a popular expat destination. If you plan on living in Dallas, you should read our guide to learn all about the Metroplex, the housing search, healthcare, and education. With our help, you will be ready for expat life in Dallas in no time!
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Life in Dallas
- Dallas’ population is very diverse and there are many people from different countries living in Dallas. Especially Hispanics make up a big part of the community.
- It is not that difficult to find housing in Dallas. Nonetheless, the help of a realtor might be a good idea since they know about available accommodations sometimes even before they are officially listed.
- In the US you are free to choose your own health insurance provider. American health insurance is rather expensive but bear in mind that an international insurance might not be recognized by all doctors and hospitals.
- The education system in the USA has no national standard. For that reason the curriculum in schools can vary quite heavily from state to state as well as from district to district. Therefore, make sure to gather as much information as you can about the school for your children.
Although often overlooked, life in Dallas is vibrant and full of opportunities. Home to a score of Fortune 500 companies and the ever-scrutinized Dallas Cowboys, this city in the Lone Star State is an increasingly popular destination for expats and Americans alike. For many of them, living in Dallas means a quality day-to-day life.
Dallas’ Diverse Demographics
Dallas boasts a very diverse community, with people from all walks of life and many parts of the world settling down there. In fact, almost 25% of the city’s population was born outside of the United States. Also, a big part of the population is comprised of families with children and married couples who have chosen Dallas as their home.
Like many other major cities in the USA, the mix of people living in Dallas has become significantly more diverse since “the old days”, when a majority of people were white. For instance, the city is a major destination for Mexicans moving abroad — around 41% of people living in Dallas are of Hispanic heritage. Making up almost 25%, there is also a major Black American population at home in Dallas.
The Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex
The metropolitan area comprised of Dallas-Plano-Irving and Fort Worth-Arlington covers about a dozen counties within Texas. It is usually referred to as the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex and is home to more than 6.9 million people. The Metroplex is a major cultural and economic center in North Texas and prides itself on being the largest landlocked metropolitan area in the USA. Also, the 21 Fortune 500 companies in Dallas is the fourth most for any city in the United States.
As such, it’s no surprise that some of the wealthiest people in America are living in Dallas/Fort Worth. Aside from its namesakes, Dallas and Fort Worth, the Metroplex includes towns such as Irving, Plano, Arlington, Frisco, McKinney, Denton, Carrollton, Grapevine, and Richardson.
Finding the Right Accommodation
If you are planning to start a new life in Dallas, finding a place to live will be one of your first and biggest challenges. Because of the area’s popularity, property is in rather short supply, and housing prices are fairly high. Of course, living in Dallas is still a lot cheaper than settling down in, for instance, New York or San Francisco. However, in comparison to other cities in Texas, rents and property prices are considerable.
Something for Everyone: Types of Accommodation
The good news is that, in and around Dallas, you can find any type of accommodation you might be looking for, be it an apartment, a spacious loft, a condominium, or a house. Of course, your preference will depend a lot on your budget and your personal needs. As a young, single urbanite you would naturally need less space than if you were married with kids.
Apartments and lofts are available all over the city, especially in the city center, close to the most popular shops, bars, and clubs. However, if you are looking for a small house for your family, chances are you would have to look to the suburbs where this type of real estate is more common. Regardless of where you plan on living in Dallas, you should be able to expect a high quality from the available real estate.
Tips and Tricks for Your Housing Search
As you prepare for expat life in Dallas, the internet is a great resource to help you familiarize yourself with the city’s different areas and neighborhoods, as well as the types of properties available. When you start the actual housing search, however, it would make sense to enlist the help of a real estate agent. They know the city well and can notify you of available housing, sometimes even before it is officially listed. It could also be a good idea to tell them about your general life situation and whether, for instance, it is important for you to settle down near a good school, your place of work, or public transportation.
It can also help to talk to friends or co-workers currently living in Dallas and ask them to recommend a realtor for your housing search. Alternatively, you can turn to something like MetroTex Association of Realtors and search for a real estate professional there. Keep in mind that, due to the high demand, landlords can afford to be picky in choosing a tenant and often ask for proof of income. At the same time, it is likely that most landlords will be looking for someone who will be living in Dallas for at least a year. In that case, your work contract can be proof of the duration of your stay.
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Healthcare and Education in Dallas
Have You Chosen Your Healthcare Plan Yet?
There is no comprehensive national healthcare plan in the United States. You are free to choose your own healthcare provider, be it American or international. But keep in mind that American health insurance can be rather costly, and various restrictions and special conditions come with it. Therefore, it would make sense for you to compare different insurance providers before signing up with one.
If an international health insurance provider seems like a better option for you, you should compare policies and find out which insurances doctors and hospitals in Dallas will recognize. Otherwise you might end up facing some hefty bills if you get sick. Other aspects you should pay attention to are how claims are handled, if your insurance provider can be reached twenty-four-seven, and how much your provider covers.
No Need to Worry: Hospitals in Dallas/Fort Worth
Hospitals in the Dallas/Fort Worth area are among the best in the entire state, so you needn’t worry about receiving proper medical care if you should fall sick or get injured. There are over 100 hospitals in the area, among them are:
- Baylor University Medical Center, Dallas
- University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas
- Texas Health Harris Methodist Hospital, Fort Worth
- Medical City Dallas Hospital, Dallas
Of course, there are also various general practitioners and specialized doctors in the area. If you are unsure which one is right for you, ask friends or co-workers for recommendations. Your local insurance provider might also be of help in this regard. Alternatively, you can conduct your own search with WebMD’s physician directory.
It’s Time for School: Education in Dallas
In the United States, children must attend school until the age of 16, and in many states, including Texas, until 18. After receiving their high school diploma, most move on to pursue higher education. Keep in mind, however, that schools can differ quite a bit in terms of quality and the opportunities they offer their students.
The US education system has no national standard, as each state or district is free to come up with their own standards of teaching. This means that, if you are planning on sending your children to a public school, you should keep this in mind early on, as they will have to attend school in the district where you settle. You should scout out a neighborhood that is close to some good schools.
If you go for private schools, however, your children could be offered more extra-curricular activities and even higher educational standards in some cases. However, aside from usually high tuition fees, some private schools also come with quite a few restrictions, such as a dress code or a special code of conduct. If you are unhappy with the schooling options in Dallas, homeschooling is always an option.
For Global Minds: International Education in Dallas
Many expats, particularly those intent on living in Dallas or the USA for a shorter period of time, might find that an international school is the best choice for their children. If you are one of them, you are in luck. Numerous schools in and around Dallas offer an international education. You can find an overview of some of the schools below:
- The Alcuin School offers a Montessori and International Baccalaureate education from 18 months through grade twelve. The program offers students an academic and creative environment that supports each individual in his/her unique learning process on their journey to becoming a life-long learner.
- The Dallas International School is the only international school in the Dallas/Fort Worth metroplex offering education in French and English. Their academic program includes the French National Curriculum as well as the International Baccalaureate. In addition, students can acquire a third or a fourth language during their school career.
- At the German International School of Dallas children from 18 months to five years are exposed to German language and culture. It is the only German language immersion program in Dallas/Fort Worth. The school follows the German Kindergarten philosophy where children learn through play experiences.
- The Westwood School offers education from preschool to high school. Their curriculum is based on the Montessori method combined with the International Baccalaureate. The students at Westwood School currently come from 46 different nations, so an international environment is guaranteed.
- The J.L. Long Middle School offers an International Baccalaureate Middle Years Program to students aged eleven to sixteen. Students learn to make practical connections between their studies and the real world. The program emphasizes intellectual challenge and cultural exchange.
Do you want to relocate? If you have never moved abroad, the process will be overwhelming, and if you have, you know the burden that lies ahead. Whatever stage you are at, InterNations GO! can help you with a complete set of relocation services, such as home finding, school search, visa solutions, and even pet relocation. Our expert expat team is ready to get your relocation going, so why not jump-start your move abroad and contact us today? Best to start early!