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Moving to Boston

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    Boston, the capital of Massachusetts, is known as ‘The Hub’, and is currently growing faster than any other metro area in the northeast of America. 

    Boston is well known for being home to world-famous colleges and universities, making the city an international centre of higher education and medicine. Some of the most well-known universities include Harvard University, Boston University and Brandeis University. College sports are also particularly popular in Boston, with avid fans filling local sports venues regularly.

    If you’re considering a move to Boston, you may be interested in the benefits of moving there. We’ve put together the ultimate international relocation guide to provide further information on moving to Boston, USA.

    Orientation

    Boston is a small, compact city which sits on the Atlantic coast of Massachusetts. The city, measuring just 46 sq.mi, is 20 times smaller than New York, with people finding that it feels like a small European city. Over 667,000 live in the city, and it is therefore the seventh-most densely populated metro area in the US. 

    Boston has a rich history and is perhaps best known for its role in the Revolutionary War. Today, Boston is a technology hub, also with excellent medical education, treatment and research. Visitors and new residents will find Boston to be an interesting mix of history, intellect and emotion. 

    The metropolitan Boston area currently falls under Eastern Standard Time (EST), which is Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) minus 5 hours. As of 2007, Daylight Savings Time (DST) is observed from the second Sunday of March to the first Sunday of November. 

    Boston experiences four seasons each year, with spring and autumn being generally mild and comfortable. Summer can be very hot, with temperatures averaging at around 24 degrees celsius. In comparison, winters can be extremely cold with temperatures falling below -2.0 degrees Celsius in January. Bostonians see several feet of snow over the course of winter, although rarely are there blizzard conditions.

    Public Transport

    Boston’s public transportation system is operated by the Massachusetts Bay Transit Authority, or MBTA. The system services 176 cities and towns. 

    The MBTA also offers a number of bus, subway train and ferry services in Boston too, with the most popular being rail and subway. Like many other cities in the United States, subway lines are coordinated by colour on the MBTA map. You can access this here

    • Buses – The majority of buses run from the suburbs into Boston, with monthly passes available to purchase. Look for the “T” logo to locate a bus stop. 
    • Ferries – Whilst limited, some commuters opt to use the ferry service from Monday to Friday. You can find out more about the MBTA’s ferry service here
    • Trains – Known as the “purple line”, this system of trains runs from North and South Stations to Boston suburbs.
    • Subway – Subway trains are designated as “outbound” and “inbound.” Outbound trains travel away from downtown, while inbound trains travel toward downtown.

    Logan International Airport is located near downtown Boston, which is in the East. The Callahan Tunnel provides the only vehicular access from downtown, meaning that traffic can often seem heavy. We recommend avoiding this route if possible. 

    Skyline of Boston, USA

    Driving in Boston

    While certain areas of Boston are well serviced by public transportation options, a vehicle is necessary beyond the inner suburbs. If your residence is central, a vehicle may not be necessary given the small size and accessibility of the city. What’s more, many streets are narrow and parking can prove difficult and costly. 

    If you have settled on driving in Boston, you will need to acquire a Massachusetts driver’s license. To get a license you will need to do a written exam, which is provided in a multiple-choice format. Following the exam you will receive access to a temporary permit, and you can then book a practical driving test. 

    A number of various countries have agreed with Massachusetts to convert foreign licenses without the need for any further tests. These countries include:

    • Canada
    • Mexico
    • South Korea
    • France
    • Germany 
    • Taiwan

    The Expatriate Community

    In general, Boston is considered a very internationally friendly place. The major colleges and universities in the city draw people from all over the globe, meaning communities are often culturally diverse. Locals in Boston are considered friendly and welcoming (though not perhaps as outgoing as Americans on the west coast) with expats commonly mixing among coworkers and Boston natives. There are also many neighbourhoods with international communities. 

    There is a strong French community in Boston, as well as a growing Indian population, particularly in Allston and Cambridge. There are also a number of active Jewish communities in the city, too.

    Charlestown, a historic neighbourhood of Boston, USA

    Understanding the people of Boston

    People of Chicago are known for embracing a variety of political and religious habits, and are much more internationally mindful than earlier generations. While some areas in the city are associated with different races, city administrators are currently focusing on the matter to produce a more equal society. Residents in Chicago are open, friendly and interested. People from reserved cultures may find this behaviour suspect, however, the warmth is noticeable. 

    Moving to a new city can be a real change, so have a look at some online expat forums such as InterNations to connect with other like-minded people.

    Housing in Boston

    Expats searching for housing in Boston can do so in a variety of ways, Massachusetts has a multiple listing service, MLS, which compiles a selection of all the properties for sale provided by local agents. The housing prices in Boston reflect the strong and growing economy, meaning that rents and mortgages can be high in certain areas. Market trends tend to be fast-paced, so keep an eye on the market if you are searching for a property. 

    If you’re searching for a home to live in on a short-term basis, there are several options available to you in the Boston area. These can include:

    • Hotels
    • Corporate housing facilities
    • Extended-stay lodging
    • Rental rooms in shared areas

    Is Moving to Boston Expensive?

    Yes, it is expensive to move to Boston, with the city’s cost of living 47% higher than the US average according to a recent study. There are plenty of job opportunities though, so you shouldn’t be put off living in Boston. Just make sure to plan ahead and have a job in place before you make the move.

    Schooling in Boston

    When selecting a school, the majority of Bostonians favour public school enrollment for their children. The state of Massachusetts has long been regarded as a leader in education, consistently outperforming national and international schools. Massachusetts has the oldest public school system in the states, making the good quality schools appealing to locals and expatriates alike. 

    In addition to the public school system, some parents opt for their child to be sent to a charter, religious or private school. These schools are an attractive option for parents who wish to take advantage of the excellent institutions in the city.

    International Schools

    Boston has several international schools that offer programs suitable for overseas students. These schools typically offer lessons taught in a foreign language, and teach curricula based on an individual country’s education requirements. 

    There are also a number of schools in the area that offer International Baccalaureate Programs, which are taught at accredited schools. Completion at an IB school will grant students an internationally recognised diploma, making them a popular option for international students who wish to eventually return home. 

    Preschools 

    Preschool programs in Boston typically start at the age of two years. The school schedule for many preschools is a half-day, however some offer extended day programmes that facilitate children with working parents. There is a wide network of schools throughout the area. Here are three of the best preschools to choose from. 

    • Agassiz Preschool
    • Gentle Dragon Preschool
    • Russell Cooperative Preschool

    Do you have any further questions about moving to Boston? Find out everything you need to know about moving to the USA from the UK. Make sure to get in touch with a member of the team to get a free quote using our online form system.

    Interested in information on another country? Take a look at our other International Relocation guides.

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