Post # 1
My FI and I are currently discussing whether or not to move to Germany (he is German) long-term. My parents’ advice is to move back to the USA as soon as possible, because I would be put at a huge disadvantage in life long term (for starters, I would have to learn German) and would not have them to support me when I need them. They also say that it is “different for women” to be away from their families long-term.
So I’m just curious if any Bees out there have faced a similar choice or have chosen to live abroad long-term, or simply if any of you have opinions on the subject.
Post # 2
Germany is a great place to live – a very organized country and people are very friendly. Yes, you will have to learn German, but you can look at career possibilities with English – I am certain they exist. As for being away from family long-term: in my view it’s much tougher on men than it is on women. I love my family, but I am also quite happy about not living too close to them.
Post # 3
I can’t comment on moving abroad, but my FI and I did move a couple states away from all my friends and family. It was hard, but I don’t regret it. When getting married you are now a unit, meaning you have another person to take in consideration. If your DH is German and his family is over there why not move? It doesn’t mean it has to be forever. Try it out for 5 years then open up the discussion of staying longer. Yes, it will be a huge culture shock and a change, but isn’t it worth it to experience something new, while making the man you committed yourself to, happy? But you have to be willing to commit to it. If you aren’t willing to ingrain yourself in the culture and try and fit in, it’ll only make you both miserable. And you can find really good flight prices on momondo.com. Just because you are in another country doesn’t mean you will lose all contact with your family. There is Skype, emails, flights once a year, etc.
I say give it a chance!
Post # 4
- Wedding: August 2013 - Wynn Las Vegas
My DH moved from England to the USA when we were getting married. He is very happy! We visit them twice a year, and they visit us 1-2 times a year. They skype weekly! I know it is hard for him to not see his friends and family, but I don’t think he would change anything.
FWIW, I would have loved to have moved there, but it didn’t make sense for us. Germany is amazing, and what an adventure!
Post # 5
Thank you, blue_cat77, Ckasnoff, and whoa_its_ash for responding!
Germany IS a great place to live, for sure. I’ve lived there before briefly and enjoyed it a lot. Part of my worrying stems from the apprehension of finding out 10-30 years from now that my parents were right.
blue_cat77: – I would be interested in knowing more about why you think it’s harder on men to live far from their family. My parents are insistent that it is the opposite, and that with time I will regret living anywhere but in the US (which they argue is also generally better because it is a more dynamic place, my home country, near family & has better divorce laws should it come to that).
Ckasnoff: Thanks. I’m open to it. That being said, my FI has lived in the states and loved it there, and would also be open to moving back there. In the context in which we would move to Germany now, it would likely be a lifetime commitment (not that it would have to be, just that there would be high incentives to stay forever).
whoa_its_ash: Good to know! How long has he lived in the USA, and how long did it take to get “settled”, so to speak?
Post # 6
I think it’s all ridiculous to say that for a certain sex it is “different” to live away from their families. I see it as your parents don’t want you to leave, which is understandable. I don’t think it is harder or easier and some people can’t do it, that’s true. In the US I find that people rarely live near their families, they leave when they go to school and usually follow a job often across country.
I’ve lived abroad and in the US. I see positives and negatives.
Positives of living in Germany:
-easy to travel to other countries for vacation.
-not being part of society. (no matter how many firends I had, this one was huge, for me. Eventhough Europeans will not admit it, they are very nationalistic. If you aren’t generationally born/raised there you’re an outsider, and it is very frustrating. )
Eventhough some of the pros are really great and tempting for now we are in the US, but that may change, especially if we have children. Education in the US is a joke and I’m sure by they time they are college age it’ll be like 100000 a year.
Post # 7
I moved to the Netherlands, it was only temporary but I now WISH it was permanent. It took us a couple weeks to get used to everything and by 3-4 months we were settled. For some it takes longer, some shorter. My FI and I are actually looking for work in the Netherlands now so we can go back. Please don’t be put off by the language. I had never spoke a dutch/germanic language before and we took up Dutch lessons. Suprisingly you pick it up really quick when you live there and take lessons. At first you will only need the basics anyway. Not to mention that most of them speak good english.
As far as leaving family, that is harder but you get used to it. Skype is amazingly useful for this! I don’t think its any different for women than men to be honest though. Also even though you would plan for a permanent move, if you really hate it and miss your family too much, you can always leave and go back. Its tough with work but if you really do decide you want to move back you could arrange it. I would say jump at the opportunity, experience it and decide if it is right for you. You may love it, you may learn to love it, or you may hate it from day 1 and if that is the case then it is never too late to leave. If you don’t move, will you always look back and wish you had tried it? That is a question only the two of you can answer. Good luck whatever you decide!
Post # 8
- Wedding: August 2013 - Wynn Las Vegas
geneva2: I just realized that I was really unclear in who we were visiting and the skyping – I mean his parents and sister haha.
Anyway, he has lived in the US for almost 2 years now. He seemed to get settled in pretty fast…I would say he started to feel like he was “home” after a few months.
Post # 9
my fi and i moved to england for two years – and we freaking loved it – i’m now homesick for the uk.
germany is awesome – and the lifestyle is europe is so different, in a positive way. family time is protected, there aren’t widespread 50, 60 + workweeks like there are in north america. healthcare, education etc are fantastic and free/heavily subsidized and there are incredible cultural advantages (museums, history, travel).
for us, travel was HUGE. i can’t overstate how important that is to us – and it was ridiculously affordable. we went to scotland, morocco, germany, france, monaco, spain, italy…etc. in two years on student budgets. it’s a totally different way to live vs people taking one or two holidays a year. i would love to raise kids in europe – if it were me, i’d say ‘let’s go!’
what’s the worst that could happen? you try for a year or two, it doesn’t work and you come back. i would definitely try! what an adventure!
Post # 10
KateA17: Your pros/cons are fairly accurate to my experience. And about being an outsider – I haven’t lived abroad long enough to really feel what this means. Could you elaborate a bit on what that experience was like for you? My FI also tries to emphasize that I would be an outsider, but I don’t feel like I internally understand what it would mean.
One of the biggest reasons we are considering the move to Germany is that we want to start a family and have at least a couple brats (if not 4+). Not only would childcare/healthcare be taken care of, but his job there would allow him up to 1 year off per child at 80% of pay & complete job security. Insanity.
whoa_its_ash: Thanks for letting me know 🙂 I figured you meant family.. good to hear that he settled in so quickly. I’ve felt that I am “home” here in Geneva after probably 6 months, but have a long way to go before I learn the language here or in Germany enough to feel properly comfortable in my surroundings.
Post # 11
I’m French and we live in the US (DH is American). Being an expat is not easy and I will lie by saying that I’m never home sick. It took me a long time to feel “home”, and sometimes I still feel like an outsider. My close friends here are expats too married to Americans (one is from Scotland and the other one from Chile) and it definitely helps to have somebody you can vent to and who will understand the hassle of dealing with immigration, the isolation of not knowing anybody at first and the complete stupidity of certain American systems (don’t get me started on healthcare or education).
We moved here because it was a lot easier for me to adapt to life in the US than it would be for him to move to Europe. I have had to change a lot of life goals, my dreams, and make a lot of sacrifices and completely reinvent myself, and really embrace all of those changes in order to be happy here. This part of me is not coming back and I will never feel like I belong completely, and that’s something that I have had to accept. But I am not as much of a homebody than he is, I have travelled and lived abroad and I can adapt a lot more easily. I guess it was mostly a question of personality. No country is perfect, but some people, regardless of the sex, deal better with settling abroad than others. It’s not easy, and I really wish that DH would understand how much I left behind in order to be with him, but I am probably happier here than he would be there,
Now that I am pregnant and that we are planning our future, I really wish we could move back to Europe since it would be so much easier to raise a family there. So much more safety and protection!
No matter what, at the end of the day, one of you will have to leave home for good. I think the most important part in settling anywhere is to make your own friend circle a priority. The worse part for me was having a social life completely dependant to DH (his family, his friends, etc). Once I started making my own friends, it really was a game changer. Take classes, go out, take any opportunity to meet new people. It’s definitely easier in bigger cities, and there are a lot of expats from all over the world in Germany. Find new stuff that interest you, like travelling, hobbies, and so on. I think the most important is that your SO has to be very supportive of you. The one that stays has the easy part, and it’s easy to forget that the one who moved has to basically build him/herself over from scratch.
Post # 12
KateA17: Thanks for your response! In our case, both forks in the road involve adventure of different sorts, so no matter what we choose I am sure we will wonder about the other at some point in time. What do you like better about the Netherlands that is causing you two to look for work there? How do your families feel about it?
peonyinlove: Totally true. I’ve done so much traveling in the past year, and it’s all been wonderful. Granted, if we moved to Germany, it would be under the auspices of starting our own money, so travel would be less of a priority than it is now, but considering how much easier it is to travel to interesting places, it’s probably more possible than if we were in the USA.
Hirondelle: Thank you for your honest account of what it is like for you as a Frenchwoman in the US. I imagine a lot of my friends in Germany would also be expats of some sort or other. The biggest incentive for moving to Germany would be how easy it would be to securely begin a family there. But as you warn me, it’s a huge deal to have a life outside that for oneself, and I hope I can make that happen for myself. Luckily my FI is an incredibly supportive partner, who so far has been very gracious, patient and understanding with regards to the fact that I gave up so much to move with him here, and will continue to do so.
Post # 13
My cousin moved to Maldovia with her Maldovian husband after she got married. She also lived in South Korea for a while and knew absolutly no one. She had a hard time of it at first in Maldovia as she did not know the language at all, but she was able to keep teaching English to her South Korean students which kept money coming in for them. A lot of people in places like Germany and South Korea love getting lessons from an English speaking native even if they don’t know the native language. My cousin can’t speak to her Korean students in their native langauge, and they actually prefer it in a tudor as the language barrier forces them to use English. I bet it would be somewhat easy to make at least spare money as english translator/tudor.
That said, there will be a life style change, and at times it will be very hard. I don’t think it will be any less hard for a man transfering to Germany with a German wife than it would be for you as a women doing the same thing.
Post # 14
I understand how this can be hard for you. Germany is wonderful. You may be able to squeak by with just English for awhile if you mainly socialize/interact with younger generations – they tend to know enough English to be conversational (some even practically fluent). Have you considered the Netherlands at all? It is a quick train ride to Germany for your fiance, the language is a good “midpoint” between German and English, and virtually everyone speaks American English (vs. the British English spoken throughout much of Europe). There is a huge Expat community. When I was out there I was not thinking of children, but I know they are very concerned with social problems and preserving family dynamics – you may see good opportunities there similar to the perks of going to Germany. It will also be very easy for an American to get a work visa there if you do need to work (please feel free to PM me if you need specifics and I can explain the process) and there can be tax advantages if you plan carefully.
I was in Amsterdam for awhile and found it not more or less difficult than when I lived in NY (I am from California). I returned home just about as much and spoke with the family about as much as well. The main difference was I used Skype instead of calling from my mobile. I think moving away is moving away. Europe is very accessible from the US – so returning home or visiting should be relatively easy.
I hope that helped!
Post # 15
geneva2: I think a lot of things suprised me when we moved to the Netherlands. We just felt more like we belonged there (if that makes sense). Weve always had quite a European outlook.
1. the way they treat work and having a career in general. In the UK (where im from) we are very similar to the US, with money being a huge drive and people trying to get as high up in their career as possible, working overtime, taking little maternity leave etc. In the UK, what job you have is who you are. In the Netherlands, they (generally) see a job as just ‘ a job’, a means to live. They leave the office at 5pm sharp and will never leave later because ‘that would impose on family life’ haha. They keep their work and home life very seperate and don’t like to mix them.
2. There is also a much less of an income divide and they are very fair- most people live in similar sized houses. Everyone has access to good schools and healthcare etc..
3. People are discouraged from standing out or showing off- very different to the UK. This is obviously a negative to alot of people but I like to blend in so its a positive for me! I found when I lived there I hardly ever needed to wear make-up and people were very accepting, looking more at my personality than looks. They are very natural -I didn’t see a single girl with orange fake tan and drawn on eyebrows which was nice haha. Where as in the UK people can be very judgy based on your appearance. I never felt self-conscious in the Netherlands which was great.
4. I also just loved their healthier lifestyles- riding bikes everywhere etc…
Of course there are negatives as well for example dutch apartments rarely have oven/cookers – which is insanely annoying (How do I roast a chicken?!). Also their trains are SO SLOW (but always on time). But in general the positives outweigh the negatives for me and there are many aspects I prefer over living in England.
As far as family, they missed us but luckily the Netherlands isnt that far, and being part of the EU we can move freely so my parents even suggested following us there when they retire if we do move. But if they didn’t, there is always skype, and as long as we could fly back or they could fly to us for christmas we would be okay. I think people move away from their family all the time, even within the same country. Sometimes I realise I havn’t seen my Gran for about a year and she only lives 3 hours away, but when I do see her, it never feels that long ago!