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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My heart has always been overseas; but once I had my children, I put that dream aside and carried on with my life in a country that doesn't suit us. We've recently decided that it would be possible for us to be an expat family, at least in our opinions. I'm actively working toward my degree (but still at a point where I can change majors and choose something that would make me more marketable, if necessary) and my husband has worked in the automotive & parts sector the last 20 years. Everyone with whom I've discussed this option seems to think that we're nuts for even considering this. I'd appreciate open and honest opinions as to whether it's feasible for a family of 6 to be expats. Most of the stories I've read aren't from families... I know it won't be easy, but I'm up to the challenge. Logistically, would anyone hire either one of us though? Honestly, I'd like to eventually make our forever home in a new country, but I'm not settled on any one specific place at this point.

Just beginning the research phase and looking at 4-5 years down the road...feel free to ask any ?'s- I'm open!
 

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Hi Kapple,

Welcome to the forum.

When it comes to moving country think about what languages you speak - how old are your children since I think it's easier to learn languages when you're younger.

Then we thought about visas since we had to make sure that we could get in - which is where your degree may come in handy.

Have a look around the specific forums (if you haven't already done so) since they have loads of info on moving to that particular country.

Regards,
Karen
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks for your prompt response, Karen!

I can speak French conversationally, but I'm planning add'l language studies b/c I enjoy it. I have a fair understanding of Spanish and Italian b/c I find them to be so similar to spoken French, but I can't really speak either yet...

My girls are now 11, 6, 4 and almost 2. The world is an open book to them. The only one that I fear might have more of a challenge learning a new language would be my husband... I'm planning to begin teaching them as soon as I'm more comfortable with my own knowledge. (The old if you don't use it, you lose it phenomena-)

I'm very much a lurker, and this forum is terrific! I just don't have anything much to contribute yet, which is why I haven't posted. I have been reading everything on which I can get my hands re: living abroad and expat life.

Re: the degree, which positions are more desirable, or more readily available to expats in your experiences? I'm contemplating a BSN, but I don't want to limit opportunities.

Schooling for the girls is very important (and one of the reasons I'm interested in leaving the states-) so that's of the utmost concerns when it comes to choosing a location. I'd like to live in a single place for at least a year (with the option to stay if possible in case we love it-)

If you were in my shoes, at which countries would you first look? Which ones would you immediately nix from the list b/c living there permanently isn't an option?

Thanks again for your input! I truly appreciate it!
 

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Certainly for most European countries these days, you're better off with some profession where you have significant experience, rather than a brand new degree. It's the young people with little or no experience who are having the most trouble finding jobs in Europe these days. Five or ten years experience in a field should give you a better chance at finding work - especially if you have something "unique" in your experience that is not available in the work force in the country you're looking to move to.

If BSN is a degree in nursing, I'd think again. It can be difficult to nearly impossible to have a nursing qualification recognized outside of the country where you got it. There used to be an association here in France of US nurses who couldn't work in France due to their degrees not being recognized here. Evidently due to the reciprocity agreements within the EU, it has become rather difficult to have some medical qualifications from elsewhere recognized.

As for your husband, it kind of depends what sort of job he has. The automotive sector is in difficulty most places as it's estimated there is gross overcapacity on a worldwide level. As a manager, he could probably transition into any number of industries, but in any profession too closely tied with the industry, he may have more difficulty.

One other issue to consider is that if either of you succeeds in getting a working visa, chances are the other will have to be satisfied as a "trailing spouse" for a few years. A working visa for one partner usually assures a dependent visa for the other - but without work privileges. If both partners manage to get separate work visas, you have to remember that if one job goes away for any reason, so does the visa - and it can be difficult to change visa types once you're in country.

One approach is to start doing some international travel and use your "holidays" abroad to start collecting information regarding job potential and lifestyle in the countries you visit.
Cheers,
Bev
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks, Bev!

I was in the business workforce (insurance industry- lots of experience, just getting the degree to round things out since the economy is so bad-) for many years prior to being a SAHM and now a student again. I thought there might be limitations w/a BSN degree, which is why I want to keep my options open. Thanks for the input. From what I've read, teaching isn't as popular an option as it used to be either. Is that true?

I'd heard about the "trailing spouse" issue. Is that the case with most countries? My husband is management... I guess who would work from the beginning would depend on who could get a better position... definitely something to consider. Thanks for the reminder!

From my travel experiences, I know I would be quite happy living in many places; however, it's these pesky laws regulating who can stay and for how long that are prohibitive. lol!
 

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It's not that teaching isn't "popular" - it's simply that there are all that many jobs available these days. Teaching English is usually looked at as a fallback option, but you're competing with plenty of native English speakers from the UK who have the right to work anywhere in Europe, and thus come ahead of you for any job opening. Getting into the public school system can be next to impossible in countries where teaching is a "civil service" job.

Insurance can be tricky as national laws vary quite a bit - and in much of Europe, "life insurance" is an investment vehicle rather than "insurance" as we know it.

The trailing spouse thing seems to be pretty much the case universally, at least throughout Europe. There may be some ways around it, depending on the line of work of the trailing spouse and if he or she can find an employer interested in hiring them after the family has settled into their new home.

The job situation right now is dodgy in just about all fields, but hopefully something will free up in the 4 or 5 year time frame you're considering.
Cheers,
Bev
 

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We narrowed down our options by thinking about which countries we had really enjoyed when we had travelled on our holidays, and then wrote down the pros and cons of each.

That's the way we decided on Australia and then came the visa investigation to see whether we could actually get in - which we could!

I don't have kids so didn't have to think about their education - just the lifestyle that myself and my husband wanted.

Not sure if that helps... :)

Karen
 
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