This e-mail arrived in my Inbox the other day:
Caroline,I am a single mom to a wonderful 14 (almost 15) month old daughter. I was born and raised in California and am attending UCLA right now completing my BA in English Lit. I still have almost two years left, but I am strongly considering moving to Europe for grad school. My ex already said he would be supportive of my moving anywhere as long as he can have open visitation with our daughter where we live..... so I am trying to find leads on grad programs in or around London, Rome, Paris or the South of France with excellent Creative Writing programs..... any insight? Also which place do you feel is best to raise children.... best for single moms, best for expats? Any advice would be helpful.
Mommy to Taylor
Here is my response:
If you have a question that you would like to ask about taking your family abroad or teaching your child a new language at home, drop me an email at email@example.com!
Congrats on being a student and single mom! I know that it must be hard sometimes to get the university papers done and take care of a toddler. Way to go!
For grad studies, if you want to study in Europe, then I would go with Paris. My considerations are as follows:
London is obviously best for language of study but London is incredibly expensive and it will also be difficult to get free, quality preschool or kindergarten for your daughter.
Paris has the American University of Paris and many (French) universities. Paris is a pretty family-friendly city - there are countless playgrounds and activities for kids available throughout the year. What is more, your daughter would have the right (assuming she was at least age three), to attend quality universal public and free école maternelle (French preschool /kindergarten) half- or all-day (virtually all children attend, so your daughter will have few or no playmates if you keep her out of it).
Paris also has an excellent support system for expat parents in a group called Message Mother Support Group. I haven't seen an organization like it in any other city.
Rome has the American University of Rome as well as John Cabot Univerity. Universal preschool also starts at age three here. The network for expats is much more limited than in Paris. There is nothing like Message Mother Support Group here. There is the American Women's Association of Rome but it tends to be focused on older women who have lived here for 20 years.
Good luck in your pursuits and let me know what you decide and if you have any more questions, just send me another email!
*Names have been changed.