(Closed) Have you lived abroad for a year or two before?

posted 6 years ago in Home
Post # 3
2699 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: June 2012

@regberadaisy:  #Yep I lived abroad twice. I just looked for a job, then got sponsored and they did all the rest including flights and accomodation! If you can get sponsored by work it makes visas, finding accomodation and the cost of moving much, much easier.

Post # 4
1830 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: July 2011

I lived abroad for four years, came home for a couple, and am now abroad again. Granted, I didn’t have children when I left, although I have one on the way now, but I still think it’s completely feasible to move abroad with a family.

I researched recruitment companies for my field (social work) shortly after grad school and submitted my information to a company that hired social workers in Ireland. I didn’t hear from them right away so I got a job in the States and didn’t think much about it. A year later, I got a call from them saying they had a client in London who was interested in me and would I be interested in London? Well duh, of course I would be! It was a lengthy interview process followed by an even longer immigration process, but five months later, I was on my way to London.

The company sponsored me and paid for all of my visa paperwork. I had to complete the paperwork but it wasn’t too complicated. They also paid for all of my relocation expenses including flights and initial accommodation. I already had a friend in London so I didn’t need any help with sorting long term accommodation but they helped others with that as well.

Work sponsorship was good indefinitely, so long as I stayed with the same company and after four years, I would have been eligible for permanent residency, which then leads to citizenship.

After 3 years in London, I decided I wanted a change and looked into moving to Australia. I researched available visas for Australia and found one for Americans who wanted to work and live in Australia for 12 months. It was a very simple application process and the visa was granted quite quickly; the only issue was that Australia has regulatory bodies for almost every profession. In order to be a social worker here, I had to go through a lengthy application process proving that my qualifications were equal to their social work qualifications – that was a bit expensive and lengthy but obviously all worked out fine. I had to pay my own way to Australia but there was enough work here that I had a job within 4 days of stepping off the airplane.

Of course I then met and fell in love with an Aussie on my final trip en route back to the States permanently (in China no less!) and am now living in Australia again on a spousal visa, which has been a whole different lengthy and expensive process!

So moral of the story, these are the things I would do:

1. Look into the different types of visas available for the country you want to live in, see which ones would be best suited for you and check out what the process is (for a lot of places, work sponsorship may be your best option).

2. Research recruitment companies for where you might want to be and submit your information. It might take a long while for something to come through, especially if the economy is suffering in the place you want to be, but you never know what professions are in demand.

3. That reminds me – check out the government’s website as most places usually have a list of professions that are extremely in demand, meaning that it is much easier to get a highly skilled work visa if you work in one of those professions.

4. Check out any registrations you might need to undertake in order to work in your selected field in the country in which you live. This process can sometimes be lengthy and is nearly always a huge pain in the arse!

5. Whilst I love Germany and agree it would be an awesome place to live, check out the possibility of obtaining a job there if you don’t speak fluent German. If it’s going to be difficult, you might want to look at English speaking countries (I know, that sounds horribly ethnocentric) but it would possibly make things a bit easier. Living in the UK makes it extremely easy to travel all around Europe, and the world for that matter. Just a thought…

6. Look into the possibility of a work transfer. A lot of companies are multinational now and depending on where you or your Darling Husband work, there might be an opportunity to go abroad with work, which would alleviate all of the necessary moving costs and make things a thousand times easier!

I hope this all works out for you – there is nothing better than living abroad. Those four years were the best years of my life and I wouldn’t change a thing about them for the world. Darling Husband and I are trying to decide where we want to live after our baby is born in June so we’re going through a similar process now. I’m American so that’s a possibility, but we would need to get his visa sorted. He’s Australian and British, hence why we’re in Australia now, but England is another possibility for us through his work, which would require another visa for me. And we’re also looking at a few other random places as well – it’s difficult but so, so worth it! Good luck and feel free to PM me if you have any questions!

Post # 5
3626 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: September 2012

I’ve thought about doing this because a few of my friends have, but it seems like such a hassle for everything to work out for me AND Fiance – they only had themselves to think about. Who knows what will happen in the future though.

Post # 7
1830 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: July 2011

@regberadaisy:    Do you mean a timeframe in how long the employment contract was for?  If so, yes and no.  My job in London was initially for a 2 year contract but it was more open ended really.  The contract was just so if I left before two years I would have pay back some of the bonus money I received for moving there.  In Australia, the work visa had conditions on it stating that I could only work for one employer for six months at a time.  I went through a recruiting agency once I got to Australia and the employers I had in Aus were ok with the timeline, even though the job wasn’t specifically advertised as a six month position. 

I just took a quick look on google and it doesn’t appear as though Germany is that difficult to get into.  In fact, you can go in on a tourist visa and if you find a job whilst there, you can apply for a work permit visa whilst there (I didn’t think any country did that any more!)  A couple of good websites to maybe check out are:



And also, a website that lists jobs in Munich for English speaking professionals:


Good luck!  I think it’s so exciting when people do things like this!  Let me know if you have any more questions.

Post # 10
772 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: December 2011

i love this thread!

Post # 11
1104 posts
Bumble bee

We lived in Edinburgh for a year, a few years ago (before we were married). My DH’s father is English so Darling Husband has a British passport, so he didn’t have to worry about visas or anything. He got a decent job pretty easily (through a recruitment agency) and made some good friends (including one who ended up flying over here for our wedding to be a GM). I wasn’t quite as lucky but I got a working holiday visa since I was under 30. I did a bunch of different jobs, and got them all through recruitment agencies. Some were better than others but I made some good friends that way too, including one who also flew over here for our wedding!

The things we thought about before we went were the English (originally we wanted Italy but I didn’t think I’d have very good job prospects), and the size of the city (we’re small city folk and we’d been to London before, and knew we didn’t want to live there). I spent time looking at things like the Lonely Planet forum and Edinburgh kept coming up as a good choice, so that’s where we went. We both loved it and wish we’d stayed longer – when we left after about 9 months to go travelling, we were only just starting to feel really at home and comfortable and like we’d made a nice life for ourselves.

I’m so glad we did it and would do it again with children too. The work thing is tricky, especially for Americans I believe as you don’t have many agreements with other countries. So it will probably be more important to have work or interviews lined up first. Think about the job situation, what skills are in need, what industries are big in the region, etc. I know a guy living in Dusseldorf right now who’s working for Vodafone because they have their headquarters there. Also consider how their employment stats are at the moment. My sister is moving to Dublin later this year (with her DP who is Irish) and they are having to save A LOT of money because the job situation there is so awful – most Irish people their age are coming to Australia for work.

Lots of things to think about but when you get there it won’t seem like that big of a deal and you’ll be so glad you did it πŸ™‚

Post # 12
435 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: August 2012

I have lived in Asia for the past year and a half. We were sent here for my fiance’s job. My work is international as well so it worked out πŸ™‚

My fiance’s career is internationally-related, so we will be living abroad several more times. It has its ups and downs. I don’t think I want to be an expat forever (it’s such a bizarre world in some ways, especially when you are an expat on a US salary in a very poor country) but I do enjoy spending time in other cultures. 

To be honest I am not fully convinced about the value of raising kids overseas. Expat kids go to the best, international schools and (usually) live in the richest neighborhoods with other expats. The expat kids in our circle are very sheltered from what is around them- and I understand fully why parents do that. The education in local schools is terrible, disease and poor quality of water and sanitation is rampant. The international schools do have a diversity of children (mostly other expats and wealthy local familys) but the elitism is insane. Our neighbors are parents of children in the international schools and they really do not like the elitism that their children are being exposed to. Rather than being immersed in a rich, diverse, down-to-earth cultural experience, their kids are only exposed to the richest of the rich in that country- kids who have multiple nannies and maids, whose dads are CEOs of enormous companies. They would rather have a more authentic local experience, which unfortunately just isn’t possible in some countries. 

This is NOT to discourage you at all. My experiences are specifically in a developing country. If you live in Germany or another high or middle-income country, I would imagine there is a much smaller gap between expat kids and local kids in terms of experiences and ability to relate and interact. We have enjoyed our time abroad but it has given me a lot to think about in terms of our future and where we want to live, especialy when we have children! πŸ™‚

Post # 14
424 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: July 2012

I’ve lived overseas for the last 5 years.  I’m a teacher and just applied for an international job.  There’s schools all over the world so you have a lot of options of places to live.

I love it.  I’m a little sad that I didn’t get to live and teach in more places before settling where I am.

The experience is like no other.

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