Conjuring up images of palm trees, sandy beaches, neon lights and Latin rhythms, Miami is an exciting expat destination with much to offer.
Sometimes called 'the Magic City' for its unprecedented population growth during the past century, migrants have played an important role in shaping the city’s history and unique character.
That it's also known as 'the Capital of Latin America' suggests something about the central role that Hispanic people have come to play in Miami, as well as its role as a cultural and economic gateway between Latin America and the USA.
Large communities of Cuban, Haitian and Puerto Rican residents, among others, have left an enduring mark on the city. This can be seen in the nightclubs, restaurants and general lifestyle in Miami, especially in areas like Little Havana.
The city is also home to the headquarters of major corporations and functions as the Latin American outpost for other multinational businesses. Miami’s economy is unsurprisingly driven by tourism to a large extent. However, it also has significant finance and commerce sectors and is one of the busiest commercial ports of entry into the United States.
Most expats don't necessarily move to Miami for professional reasons, however, and are instead attracted by the Florida climate and the city’s atmosphere. A large variety of activities and attractions keep expats entertained, from malls to museums and national monuments.
There are, however, potential downsides to living in Miami. While its wealthier residents have largely put the financial crisis behind them, many lower- and middle-income families are still struggling and have a very different picture of life in the city.
This can be seen in Miami's system of education, where schools in wealthier areas are less likely to suffer from staff and funding shortages, meaning they can offer a higher standard of education. One positive, however, is that language classes are made available to non-English speaking learners in public schools, which is very helpful in managing the transition for many foreign families in the city.
Expats will also have access to a large selection of medical options, given that feeling and looking good is so important to many of Miami’s residents. It is very important that new arrivals in the city have quality health insurance.
A multi-cultural city made up of a wide variety of residents, expats moving to Miami with realistic expectations and an open mind are likely to enjoy life in the Magic City.