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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So, it's gonna be the age-old question, the one everyone hates, especially from the newbies. So, I want to move somewhere else, I am not, however, running from anything, just....wanderlust, maybe? I don't have a degree, however, I do have receive monthly money of around 600 USD a month, for the foreseeable future. I am not particularly concerned with the 'same level of comfort' as I have in the US, likewise, I am not particularly concerned with specifically being around other expats, US people, English speakers, etc. Wherever I go, I plan to learn the language to a reasonable degree before going, and I can already speak and understand French because of my family. What I would like though, is someplace that is relatively easy to get a visa of the sort that I could stay for longer periods of time (at least 6 or more months) and maybe be able to rent a place, something that would let me get work of some sort would be nice, and a place that around 600 USD a month would be enough to keep my roof (one thing I would like). The only primary concern I would have would be safety, I have been to the Middle East, but quite a few parts of it aren't exactly safe, especially for folks like me.

I am asking here specifically (ExpatForum) because I would rather hear personal accounts, or knowledge, than just a bunch of bullet points that some blogger copied from some other blogger that copied from some news group that copied from some travel agency.

If this post is not ok, then I apologize, and *To any Mods feel free to delete it immediately.
 

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You've got the right idea, at least, about learning the language as you go along. However, an "income" of $600 a month isn't going to qualify you for a long-stay visa in most countries I'm familiar with. A visa that permits you to work often requires that you have found a job and have an employer who will run the initial work permit interference for you (not always the easiest thing to do).

For France, for instance, you could probably swing a student visa - provided you could get accepted for a program of some sort - even language learning. And, with a long stay student visa, you can at least do some part-time work on the side. You could look into some of the French overseas territories, but I'm not sure if they would have a lower threshold for financial support than for the mainland. Tahiti is nice (but I know a couple of French folks coming back from there after a year of trying to find employment so they could stay). Martinique or St. Martin or Réunion, too.

Maybe someone else will have some suggestions, but Europe is probably going to be a stretch on your current budget.
Cheers,
Bev
 

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The nation of Georgia routinely grants American tourists stay permission of up to one year upon entry, and no visa is required. You can do pretty well on US$600/month there -- the cost of living is quite low. You cannot legally work, though.

Working holiday visas are potentially available (at last report) for Australia, Canada, Ireland, New Zealand, Singapore, and South Korea. They range from 6 to 12 months, and you might be able to use a couple of those programs more or less back to back.
 

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US$600/month will not allow you a lifestyle you'd like in any place I've been to (and that includes some cheap third world locations many people dream of moving to, like Thailand, Indonesia, etc.).
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I really don't mean for this to sound combative or insulting, beppi, but I am afraid it will. And what is a lifestyle I would like? I said in my original post I am not particularly concerned with maintaining the same level of comfort I have, and I have lived, happily, in much less comfort than I currently have, and I am not too concerned with the 'dream' places, I could happily go to other places, like in Africa, or South America, Eurasia, etc. Thank you for replying though, Beppi, BBCwatcher, and Bevdeforges
 

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And what is a lifestyle I would like?
Exactly. I'm right with you there, Torbin12. We (collectively) make too many assumptions about lifestyle expectations.

For reference, though I cannot find the median household income (in gross U.S. dollars) for the nation of Georgia, I could find GDP per capita, and that's a decent proxy. At US$600/month your income would be nearly double the GDP per capita in Georgia. Sure, you wouldn't be living luxuriously in Georgia on such an income, but compared to most of the local population you'd be doing pretty well. So if your lifestyle expectation is consistent with that local Georgian experience (or even a bit higher), no problem.

Sure, for most Americans that's not true, but I've seen and met many Americans who would be (and are) perfectly happy in many countries on US$600/month. Some of them are "backpackers," and some are not. "It depends," and I wouldn't presume.
 

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As yet another option, have you considered Japan's JET Program? Or, since you mentioned French fluency, the French Foreign Legion (with its path to French citizenship, an EU citizenship)? (Yes, it still exists!) In both cases your $600/month can be saved instead of spent, and you'd even earn some money. Both are very good deals.

Another option is to pick a country in Europe with free universities and enroll in one of those, preferably in a lower cost area to stretch your $600/month. Some countries allow students to work part-time for the university and earn a bit of money. Norway, Sweden, and Germany are examples last time I checked, though (especially in the major cities) they're not particularly affordable places to live. But in student housing you might be able to get by. You could obtain a graduate degree that way, and some of them offer English language graduate degree programs.

I mentioned New Zealand's working holiday visa. New Zealand is one of the countries that (last I checked) offers a point-based immigration system, and young native English speakers start out with a lot of points and can generally qualify pretty easily for immigration. So that working holiday in New Zealand could be a viable, introductory path to true immigration into that country. There are a few other countries that have points-based systems that are relatively welcoming, but New Zealand is probably the best example (last I checked).
 

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I really don't mean for this to sound combative or insulting, beppi, but I am afraid it will. And what is a lifestyle I would like? I said in my original post I am not particularly concerned with maintaining the same level of comfort I have, and I have lived, happily, in much less comfort than I currently have, and I am not too concerned with the 'dream' places, I could happily go to other places, like in Africa, or South America, Eurasia, etc. Thank you for replying though, Beppi, BBCwatcher, and Bevdeforges
Well, yes, if you CAN live like the locals. In Thailand, which is one of the cheaper destinations for bumming-around types, this means living far from the sea, the capital or any tourist area, sharing a room with others, using public transport (universally signposted only in Thai script), no travel, eating what the locals eat at streetside foodstalls (which tastes great, really) and staying single. You'd also need some form of residence visa to avoid the cost of bribes and visa runs every three months.
I had a (large) room to myself in a faceless suburb of Bangkok, shared a car, ate in proper restaurants occasionally and travelled home to Singapore once a month (by budget flight), thus needed roughly double your budget. Others spend far more, especially those who like to drink, party and entertain local girls.
 

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For the record, Torbin hasn't mentioned either Thailand or visa shenanigans, Beppi. But thanks for (probably) confirming that Thailand shouldn't be on Torbin's short list.
 

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Actually, there's another interesting point being raised here: getting a visa.

While it may be possible to live in some places on $600 a month, that doesn't really help if there is a threshold income level higher than that for obtaining a visa or if you're required to show expensive private insurance or other "entry fees" for obtaining and/or renewing your residence permits.

Best place to start is to take a look at the Consulate websites for any places you're considering. It will also give you some idea how interested they are in issuing long-stay visas.
Cheers,
Bev
 

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All of the options I described are either visa free (e.g. Georgia, up to 12 months) or have a high likelihood of visa approval in the circumstances (e.g. JET Program). I'm already taking that factor into account in my suggestions.
 

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I'm not sure what to recommend to you particularly, but I can share a personal experience.

I was lucky, because I have a boyfriend who lives in Australia, and I was from Pennsylvania.

I came to visit him a few times on a holiday visa which cost me $21.50 (USD) and I filed on immi.gov.au. I didn't have to wait too long (24 hrs, maybe) before they e-mailed me and said "You're all set, visit for up to 3 months at a time :)"

Now, to move here to be with my boyfriend, I applied for a Working Holiday visa. It cost a bit more (400-something I think?) but it allowed me to stay in Australia for up to 12 months, and it allowed me to work with any employer for up to 6 months at a time. It made getting a job a bit more difficult? But it's still worth it, because there are tons of jobs you can get here that you can live off of. (Including fast-food. $22 something minimum wage if you're over 21... at least something like that....)

I DID NOT need to have a job set up before I came here, though for the months leading up to it, I applied for a couple of jobs on seek.com.au. It's good to include a note that describes your situation and the date you'll be arriving.

The tricky part would be getting a place to stay and having an income. If you set aside QUITE a bit of cash, you could probably find roommates and live for maybe a couple months off of that bit of cash while you're job hunting, but only if you have enough savings (and if it was me and I didn't know my boyfriend? I'd NEVER have had the savings, unfortunately).

There are quite a few conditions, but Australia is a beautiful place for visiting (despite what they tell you about the murderous wildlife). I highly recommend looking into it.
 
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