Post # 1
Fiance and I have decided that we would live to try and move to Europe for a few years after we graduate next summer. I’m just curious if any of you have advice and/or tips for us. Was it hard to make the move? How much should we plan on the move costing? How do we figure out if whatever jobs we find will pay enough to support us (mostly I’m getting stuck here understanding taxes and fees)? Did any of you move to a country that wasn’t English speaking?
thanks bees! Any advice is appreciated. We are hoping to move in about a year and a half, I’m just trying to figure things out! 🙂
Post # 3
The main thing about moving is visas… man they SUCK! So I wonder if you’ve thought about which visa you would try an apply using?
I am on a visa and to get our rental house, we had to pay 6 months rent up front (on top of the usuall 2 month deposit!), even though my Fiance was the name on the contract and he is a local. That was tough. Getting a bank account was straight forward, adjusting has been good but thankfully Fiance already has his little circle of friends. We joined a social volleyball team and that has been great for making friends.
Taxes don’t tend to be more than what you are probably already paying, I think mine is 20-25% but tax-free threshold is pretty good right now. I recommend you have a look at a website and see what properties cost to rent in an area you are interested in. For exapmple, rent in London is expensive, but we live about 2 hours north and pay a similar level to what I was paying in Australia.
It was hard to move and leave friends/family, but I’ll be back one day. It sucks being on the other side of the world though. I moved across with one (massive) suitcase and have now amassed way too much stuff, I think we will have to pay for some major shipping when we eventually move back to Aus.
Sorry this is all over the place! Just my thoughts erupting 🙂 Let me know if you have more questions
Post # 4
Hmm, I don’t want to rain on your parade, but… it’s REALLY hard to get a work visa for a professional job, especially if you want to work for only 1 year or less. A lot of companies don’t see one year as enough of an investment for them to go through the effort and expense of sponsoring you for a visa.
That being said, there are opportunities if you want to work as a volunteer or an intern or some sort of seasonal work, like camp counsellor or ski instructor. Also, if you are graduating in the summer, have you thought about any programs like the BUNAC one? That specific program will get you a visa for 6 months to work, although you need to apply within six months from the date you graduate.
Would either of you be willing to go back to school? It is much, much easier to get a visa to go to school than to work.
Personally, I moved to Sweden almost three years ago to go to graduate school, although I now have a residency visa through my boyfriend. There have been ups and downs, and as the PP said, it can be hard being far away from home. For me the most frustrating thing is that every time I want to go on vacation, I feel obligated to go back to the US to visit family! I’d love a beach vacation instead Also, since the language is not my native language, it can get a little demoralizing sometimes when you are always making mistakes or don’t always understand what is going on around you 100%.
Hope that helps!
Post # 5
@ivoryowl: Just trying to figure this out, you are both trying to find employment before makign the move, right?
My family didn’t have a lot fo the trouble moving abroad as many others do as we were military. That being said, even with getting the easy way into the country through my mom’s orders to Germany, it can STILL be extremely expensive to move. I can’t imagine being able to do so having just graduated from college…
Post # 6
@ivoryowl: I moved to spain for a few years. I taught english for the government so visas were easy. rent (sharing with 3-4 ppl) was 450-500. We lived in the city center as well. Transport was 30 a month for work.Food was really cheap too. Travel was cheap. Europe is mostly really cheap. We made less than 1 grand each month but could live, eat, travel and shop easily.
Spanish wasn’t a problem. I didn’t speak it when I came but learned quickly out of necessity. We would go to language exchange nights early on to force us to try in a safe judgement free environment.
I have friends who taught english is paris, rome, and asia. All have similar stories. Asia pays wayyyyyyy more but also has more scams.
I would say go for it.
Post # 7
I really wanted to move to Europe to be closer to my S/O as we grew our relationship, but when I researched options, it seemed like there weren’t a lot!
The economy in Europe sucks hardcore right now, even worse than the US economy. In the EU, companies will only hire a foreigner if they can prove that the foreigner has a special skills set that they will have a hard time finding among EU candidates. If you and your S/O are recent graduates, it is unlikely that you will have the sort of skill sets required to get a professional job.
Even finding a job teaching English is difficult for Americans right now. I was signed up for a TEFL daily email notification and all the teaching jobs in the EU advertised had a disclaimer that they would preference EU candidates first. There’s plenty of out-of-work Brits and Irish that would jump for a chance to work on the continent…
That being said, there are options. There are plenty of teaching jobs advertised in non-EU countries like the Ukraine, Turkey and Albania, although you would be roughing it more than in France or Spain! And then there’s seasonal jobs and jobs at hostels, resorts, restaurants and such. These jobs probably won’t contribute to your professional development and you would get very little pocket money, but given that you will be recent grads, maybe you don’t care about that stuff and just want a fun experience (totally OK!) Do you know anyone in Europe? They might be able to help you with stuff like that and refer you to more off the boards employment, like au pairing and teaching the kids English.
Plenty of people DO find a way to work in Europe, if you are willing to be creative, live cheaply, and don’t expect to get much in the way of professional opportunities.
Post # 8
@FatherTed: +1 to everything you said. also, hi neighbor.. 🙂
@ivoryowl: the BUNAC programs would be the way to go if you’re only interested in moving over here short term. I’ve done both the work in britain (in its previous incarnation) and work in ireland programs if you guys have any questions. anywhere else you’ll probably have a heck of a time getting a visa because there aren’t many programs that will give you a visa to come over here and look for work. do you have any idea of where you might want to live or what sort of jobs you would be looking for?
Post # 9
@subtlebee: Can you elaborate a little more on your experience? Did you teach before the economy tanked? How did you find your job? Did you have any personal connections or did you just apply online?
I would love to live in Spain, and it would be close to my guy, but I had counted it out due to the job shortage there. Just wondering if that had been premature.
Post # 10
@worldtraveler: It was a bit after the recession started but before austerity. It was called the cultural ambassadors program and you applied through the ministry of education. It has been about 2 years but every fall i get emails asking me to tell my friends about it. I also have friends who do private tutoring (for companies) but you need to know spanish for those as you generally teach adults.
If you can’t find a job, look into getting a masters through an american school abroad as an option. Another option is working for a tour company but I have no idea how people get those jobs. It is possible though…try emailing around to see if anyone needs an english speaker. Not suggesting this, but I did know people who went without a visa and just couldnt leave spain or fly while there for the year. let me know if you need anymore info!
Post # 11
Thanks for the comments everyone. Fiance and I will both be graduating with PhDs and are looking at jobs as well as post docs. We have a few contacts over there, and we are trying to figure out if we could afford to love abroad if only one of us ends up with a job. we are only English speakers, but a lot if positions in our field are english speaking, so we have the chance to move to a country where we dont speak the language (we’d take classes first!), and are sort of debating if that would make the move more exciting, or just more challenginf. Thanks for the feedback!
Post # 12
@ivoryowl: Another thing is you will need to have the job or study lined up before you go there, so maybe instead of cocentrating on how to move try finding jobs or post-doc in countries that interst you. You cannot go there and then begin to look.
What are your fields of study?
Post # 13
We are both in engineering. We are definitely planning on having things sorted before we make the move. I’m planning on devoting all of this wedding-planning energy to the job search once we tie the knot. I’m just looking for tips on things to consider as we begin this process. For example, how much should we budget for the move? With flights, we are probably already up to ~$2000, and we wouldn’t plan on bringing much… But I’m not sure what else to budget for… Visas? …?
Post # 14
Europe is a pretty big place. Your experience will be very different in the south of England, Greece, Finland, etc. Since you are looking for postdocs, I assume you will be in a large city. Have you narrowed it down at all? And what are your fields?
Post # 15
@ivoryowl: We just moved to the US from Europe and it cost us about 10,000. But I find in Europe it was easier to find furnished apartments which helps. But you have to figure whenre you’re gonna live while you look for an aparetment if you don’t have friends to stay with you’ll have to stay in a hotel or someplace which adds up fast. Then if you can’t find a furnished flat, furniture (that’s what made our move so expensive), I think the cost of visas are minimal, if you go to go to a country where you don’t speak the language getting anything done at town hall could be a total nightmare.
When I moved there I found the websit justlanded.com to be useful
Post # 16
I just moved abroad (to the Netherlands) a couple weeks ago. The process is really intense. Luckily, I was able to set up a branch of my US company in the Netherlands, so I can work from here legally. Still, between setting up the company, filing for residency, finding a place to live, getting cell phones, bank accounts, etc., renting out our house in the States, moving out of the house, and getting our dog over here, it was an extremely long, involved, tedious, nerve-wracking, expensive process. It’s all worth it to be here now!