Moving to a 210 square mile island in the middle of the Pacific and packing up your entire life seems like an incredible adventure. You will experience significant changes in your way of life, and while you get ready, you might ponder whether Guam life is the best option for you.
Don’t worry, this unorganized area of the United States is among Oceania’s most varied, hospitable, and breathtakingly gorgeous places. I moved to a different location to pursue a slower-paced and relaxing atmosphere after getting tired of the large city lifestyle. While the island is tranquil, it may also provide you with life-changing experiences. Additionally, the diversity of nationalities and cultures makes it quite accommodating of expatriates, so it won’t take long for you to pick up the customs and begin to feel like a local.
How to Move to Guam
You must first obtain all the paperwork required to migrate to Guam before you can get the answer to the question, “What’s it like to live there?” If you are fortunate enough to be a citizen of the US, the procedure is rather simple. Bring only your ID or passport.
However, the procedure could become a little more challenging if, like me, you are an expat from another nation. You will mostly be requested to present your passport and an active US visa. However, be sure to find out whether your nation has any unique criteria.
Non-American Citizens Can Also Relocate to the Island
Yes, non-citizens of the United States are welcome to move to Guam. I am living testimony of that as an expat. However, you might expect to compile a little more paperwork than the typical American. There are a several ways to obtain a visa, so let’s get started. I moved to the US on a student visa to attend school in New York City. But I later submitted an application for a job. I think guam life is nice.
To find out what kind of visa you qualify for, visit the nearest US consulate. You can apply for two types of work visas in addition to a student one. The first one is for employees who want to apply for permanent residence status; in order to do so, you must have your employer sponsor you. The second is for more seasonal employment, and the visa is valid for the duration of your employment.
Things You Cannot Bring With You
Avoid making the same error I did by packing everything you possess without first verifying that the Custom and Quarantine Agency (CQA) will allow you to carry it all to Guam. The answer is yes, however you must have owned the items for at least three months prior to the transfer. Additionally, you are allowed to bring a limited amount of tobacco, duty-free alcohol, and medications (just remember to get a doctor’s letter).
Live plants, flowers, and other veggies are not permitted, though. Imagine my shock when a customs official instructed me to dispose of the cactus I had kept alive while living in New York City. Additionally, you won’t be allowed to bring pyrotechnics, weapons, or risky toys.
There are a couple quite rigorous customs regulations, so check with CQA to see whether you packed anything prohibited if you want to avoid issues. You’ll save some time crossing the border, I promise.
Be Aware of the Cost of Living in Guam Before the Move
Those who frequently move are aware of how pricing can differ significantly from one location to another, despite the fact that you are (officially) still in the same country. Is Guam expensive to live in when considering leaving New York City for an island lifestyle? was one of my initial questions.
Being inexpensive or expensive is, of course, a relative concept. Guam might be either depending on where you are coming from. Overall, renting won’t save you much money because one-bedroom flats are practically as expensive as they are in the US. However, owning a home will be significantly more inexpensive.
The utility bills are significantly higher than in the rest of the nation, which I thought to be fascinating. The internet fits into this category as well. Even though you have a variety of internet service options, you can anticipate paying about $100 per month for unlimited bandwidth.
Additionally, cooking at home has become infrequent since I moved here. This is because, while the meals at the restaurants are pretty reasonably priced, the groceries are a little more expensive than I am used to. As a result, if you dislike cooking, you won’t need to ponder if Guam life or if giuam is a decent location to live because it is.
Villages You Can Settle In When Moving to Guam
There are multiple cities on the island, despite the fact that there are only 168k people living there. There are nineteen additional smaller or larger settlements besides the capital Agana where you might make your home. These communities have a population ranging from 1,000 to 40,000.
My main objective while deciding where to relocate was to find a friendly neighborhood with suitable work prospects as well as recreational opportunities. Check out towns like Dededo, Yigo, and Tamuning if you want to experience island life while also living in a larger, more metropolitan setting. Each one of them may provide you a wide range of chances and activities and has more than a few thousand residents.
Tourism and Military Are Not the Only Options for People Working in Guam
You might anticipate that the major industry on an island with a beautiful landscape is tourism. Guam is not a unique case. Every year, more than a million tourists from around the globe visit this island. In this way, job seekers in the tourism industry are in luck since they will have no trouble finding employment.
However, there are other factors that also have an effect on the economy. A significant part of it is also played by the US military. Around the island, there are a number of military sites. There are still some choices if you are not interested in joining the military or working in the tourism industry.
Jobs in transportation and construction are available as a result of the island’s development. Additionally, there are other smaller, regional companies where you can obtain employment.
The Pros and Cons of Living in Guam When It Comes to Employment
Nobody informs you that the job search process can be time-consuming, exhausting, and overwhelming. Finding job was challenging after I went to Guam when its unemployment rates were at an all-time high. One of the largest benefits, though, is the government’s efforts to improve and prosper the island for all of its citizens. This indicates that the unemployment rate is steadily declining and that more job openings are occurring. There is something for everyone in the fields of construction and tourism.
Get a High-Quality Education in One of Many Schools in Guam
Think about going to school in the morning and then spending the afternoon at the beach. That is how it is to be a student and live in Guam. Furthermore, even though you’ll be living on an island, you won’t be denied access to a top-notch education.
You can earn a master’s degree here just like I did. You can choose from one of five universities and colleges based on your interests. The University of Guam and CariPac both provide something for everyone. Everything from liberal arts to humanistic studies is available for study.
The fact that there aren’t many foreigners there is what I liked best about studying in Guam. I was encircled by islanders as a result. They made it easier for me to comprehend the traditions and culture. I developed some close relationships that I will cherish forever.
You’ll Need the Vehicle to Get Around the Island
In cities with efficient public transportation systems that reach every part of the city, it is feasible to live without a car. Before relocating to Guam, I spent the majority of my time in larger, more urban places, so I never really required a car to go around. However, after I moved into my new house, that situation altered.
Numerous benefits come with residing in Guam. Public transportation is one of the essential commodities that the island does not have. You will require a vehicle if you plan to travel. You will have to use and rely on taxi services, which are not exactly inexpensive, if you don’t have a driver’s license.
Additionally, despite the lack of motorways, communities are connected to one another through state highways and local roads. The commuting time is less than in cities like NYC and LA because there aren’t as many residents. However, I should point out that the majority of the island has a 35 mph speed limit because the roads can become slick and hazardous.
Overall, if you’re thinking about moving to Guam, my advise is to ship your car along with all of your belongings and enjoy a smooth ride devoid of major traffic jams.
When Relocating to Guam Get Ready for Some Typhoons
The weather is generally the first thing that comes to mind when you think of island living. The majority of newcomers to Guam are drawn by it. Here, the average annual temperature is roughly 86°F, and it tends to be stable throughout the year. On some days, though, the excessive humidity levels can make you feel like you’re perspiring nonstop. If you’re not acclimated to hot weather, I advise spending money on high-quality air conditioning or a lot of fans.
Even the winters here, which last from January to March, do not differ significantly in temperature from the rest of the year. The afternoon temperature may dip below 70°F and it may get “a little bit cooler,” but that’s about it. In addition, there is a period from July to December that is referred to as the “wet season.” There may be severe winds during this time, and it rains frequently. The majority of the time, the days are still sunny.
You’ll need to prepare for occasional typhoons in addition to enjoying the lovely, sunny weather throughout the entire year. The island is situated in a region known as Typhoon Alley, therefore it occasionally experiences their effects. Typhoons that reach Guam can be powerful and severe due to its location in the Pacific.
Many homes are built to withstand winds and storms with this in mind. The architecture is therefore not always as appealing as you would like. However, it works fairly well. On the other hand, since you can’t stop nature, getting property insurance that covers all storm damage is the easy solution. Insurance will help you save a lot of money whether you choose to buy or rent a home.
And rest certain that typhoons do not suddenly appear in the skies. A storm won’t interrupt your daily activities when you are in the middle of them. The majority of storms are predicted, so you will get at least 48 hours’ notice before one hits.
Different Ethnicities Make Living Conditions in Guam Perfect for Expats
No matter who you are or where you’re from, it’s easier to fit in when you live somewhere that’s a melting pot of ethnicities. Fortunately, moving to Guam will put you in a very diversified setting where the native Chamorros are the predominant ethnic group (but not the only one). One of the official languages here is Chamoru, which accounts for about 40% of the total population (the second one being English).
Along with the indigenous Chamorus, there are Asians including Filipinos, Japanese, and Koreans. Other ethnic groups include those from Palau and Pohnpei. People are used to immigrants due to the diversity in their community. The majority of my neighbors and coworkers were nice, accommodating, and helpful when I first moved to Guam because of this.
They explained social mores, various religions, civilizations, and cuisines to me. I’ve never had the chance to study foreign languages, civilizations, or folk religions before. I automatically become more assimilated into the community by doing this.
Living in Guam Might Be a Culture Shock at First
The island of Guam has a slightly different way of life than I anticipated. I did my fair share of homework before moving, but I definitely wasn’t ready for the culture shock. Fortunately, I was supported by welcoming locals and was able to navigate the cultural contrasts.
However, when you move here, be ready to spend a few weeks adjusting to a variety of cultures. From American, Mexican, and Spanish conventions to native Chamorro practices. The people who live here have developed their own distinctive combination of traditions and rituals by absorbing elements from everyone. The primary influences, for instance, can be heard in the regional language, music, dance, and games.
Guam is well known for its island gatherings since music is a big element of the culture there. You can experience historical instruments and amusing Kantan Chamorro singing when you go to one of these fiestas.
At first, it could all seem a little overwhelming, but don’t worry; locals will be happy to teach you a couple of the most well-known songs and explain all the proper dancing routines.
You’ll Get To Embrace the Fusions of Different Cuisines
If you’re used to eating Big Macs and In-n-Out, Guam’s food will be a welcome change of pace. The primary ingredients of the local cuisine include fish, rice, and other fruits including bananas and coconuts. I discovered that conventional meals are prepared using heated stones that are lowered into a pit.
Additionally, there are numerous foods made from corn, so you may fill up on tamales, tortillas, and chilaquiles for days. A distinctive dining experience is produced by the blending of various flavours. You should therefore be open to trying different things when you dine out.
Pro tip – Don’t miss out on Kadon pika and traditional Chamorro cookies.
Cant Get Bored While Living on the Island
Even while Guam’s beaches can leave you breathless (we’ll talk about them later), the island is more than simply its picture-perfect beaches. You won’t be without your interests or hobbies when you relocate to Guam, regardless of what they are.
Learning about Guam’s past would be one of the fascinating activities you may take part in if you appreciate history. There are various places on the island where visitors may get a glimpse of the Second World War, which made it one of the main points of interest.
Additionally, you can experience local culture by going to the Wednesday Night Market in Chamorro Village. Here, you can watch shows and eat some regional cuisine. You might develop an addiction to barbeque just like I did. Additionally, this is where you may adorn your home with affordable crafts and artwork.
There are also quite a few golf courses that are open to the public. The majority of them benefit from the breathtaking coastline vistas. So be sure to check out Onward Mangilao Golf Club if you want to play golf, soak in the sun, and take in the scenery of sandy beaches.
There are Different Beaches for Every Day of The Week
Like you, I enjoy doing new things, traveling to new places, and getting to know new people. When I went to Guam, I devised a plan to visit a new beach every day until I found the one I liked the most.
If you enjoy the ocean, surfing, fishing, or simply lazing on the beach, make sure you have a car so you may explore the entire island’s hidden spots until you find your favorite. When I need to escape the bustle of my hectic workdays, I adore going to Tanguisson Beach. It requires some hiking to get there, but once you do, you may take advantage of the pristine sand and azure ocean. If you enjoy photography, you may take some pictures of unusual rock formations and upload them online to make people envious.
Check out Ypao Beach Park if you don’t have time to hike down to the beach. It is conveniently located in the heart of Tumon’s city, where you can soak up the rays while also enjoying beverages and delectable regional foods. Additionally, if you work from home, the beach can easily double as your office.
Additionally, if you enjoy surfing, make sure to visit Talofofo Beach. Not your average white sand Guam beach, this. For those who prefer catching waves, the water is ideal. There are additional beaches where you may swim, snorkel, or simply enjoy the sun.
Life on Guam Island Is Worth All the Trouble of Relocating
Yes, I put a lot of thought into my relocation. Despite my extensive research, moving to Guam turned out to be one of my best choices. The island lifestyle not only fits my adventurous temperament, but it also taught me a lot about many cultures.
There will be a lot of people swarming to this tiny paradise in Oceania, where work prospects are expanding daily. You shouldn’t wait too long to move in order to take advantage of the finest employment and housing chances. There may be some homes by the sandy shoreline where you can settle if you’re lucky.
Additionally, if you live in Guam, you’ll be close to some stunning beaches, so if you feel worried, all you have to do is slip on your flip-flops and head to the water.
As a former expat who has now lived in Guam for a considerable amount of time, I can attest to the fact that getting used to island life and how much it shapes your identity is well worth the hassle of moving.
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