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  #1  
Old 08-19-2012, 08:36 PM
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Chunkaway Chunkaway is offline
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Default Anyone Have Any Experience With Living/Working Overseas?

So my wife and I are elementary school teachers in the U.S. and are considering moving overseas (destination unknown at this time, as we are trying to determine where/if we want to go) to teach at an international school. I'd like to get some insights regarding the pros and cons from people (preferably Americans, but I'd love to hear from anyone) about their experiences with working/living overseas.

FYI- We have one daughter who turns 5 in October. (Oh, and we have two dogs that would go with us.) My wife lived in France for about a year while in college. We have also traveled through Europe and into Israel on a couple of occasions.

Thanks!

Last edited by Chunkaway; 08-20-2012 at 07:00 PM.
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Old 08-19-2012, 09:18 PM
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Default Re: Anyone Have Any Experience With Living/Working Overseas?

I have worked extensively in many parts of the world, & lived in a few places too, but I can't really give you any specific advice from a US citizen POV. All I can tell you is this; There's no such thing as a "best" place to live, just some places where the mix of pros & cons suit you more than others. Never judge a people by the actions of their government, & proceed with humility & grace. You have one mouth & two ears, use them in that ratio :)
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Old 08-19-2012, 09:24 PM
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Default Re: Anyone Have Any Experience With Living/Working Overseas?

Check with the State Dept. to see who may be hiring for the schools teaching the US Military overseas. They also may be able to help with English as a second language programs.


http://www.state.gov/m/dghr/flo/c21946.htm
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Old 08-19-2012, 09:31 PM
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Default Re: Anyone Have Any Experience With Living/Working Overseas?

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Originally Posted by keep it simple View Post
I have worked extensively in many parts of the world, & lived in a few places too, but I can't really give you any specific advice from a US citizen POV. All I can tell you is this; There's no such thing as a "best" place to live, just some places where the mix of pros & cons suit you more than others. Never judge a people by the actions of their government, & proceed with humility & grace. You have one mouth & two ears, use them in that ratio :)

Very, very good advice! Where have you lived?
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Old 08-19-2012, 09:32 PM
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Default Re: Anyone Have Any Experience With Living/Working Overseas?

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Originally Posted by GRUNTERSDAD View Post
Check with the State Dept. to see who may be hiring for the schools teaching the US Military overseas. They also may be able to help with English as a second language programs.


http://www.state.gov/m/dghr/flo/c21946.htm
Thank you very much for that info. The State Dept. actually doesn't pay nearly as well as most of the international schools we have looked at, which is a shame. Still, it is worth considering going that route.

(By the way, I have another surgery tomorrow, so I hope to be able to take care of the drum head soon.)
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Old 08-20-2012, 03:09 PM
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Default Re: Anyone Have Any Experience With Living/Working Overseas?

Quote:
Originally Posted by keep it simple View Post
I have worked extensively in many parts of the world, & lived in a few places too, but I can't really give you any specific advice from a US citizen POV. All I can tell you is this; There's no such thing as a "best" place to live, just some places where the mix of pros & cons suit you more than others. Never judge a people by the actions of their government, & proceed with humility & grace. You have one mouth & two ears, use them in that ratio :)
A huge +1, I lived a similar life and experience, your post sums it very well indeed :)
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Old 08-20-2012, 03:12 PM
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Default Re: Anyone Have Any Experience With Living/Working Overseas?

I moved from U.S. to Germany, and I would say that, depending on where you're thinking of heading, you should have work ironed out first. Here, for example, it would likely be more difficult for someone to establish themselves based on their temporary status in the country, so the road could be a lot longer.
But if you come with a job lined up, chances are paperwork, legal stuff, would go somewhat easier.
A lot of people do things like offer private tutoring to people wanting to learn english as a second language as a way to make money while they go through the immigration process.

But a lot depends on where you're going.
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Old 08-20-2012, 04:28 PM
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Default Re: Anyone Have Any Experience With Living/Working Overseas?

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Originally Posted by mikeyhanson View Post
I moved from U.S. to Germany, and I would say that, depending on where you're thinking of heading, you should have work ironed out first. Here, for example, it would likely be more difficult for someone to establish themselves based on their temporary status in the country, so the road could be a lot longer.
But if you come with a job lined up, chances are paperwork, legal stuff, would go somewhat easier.
A lot of people do things like offer private tutoring to people wanting to learn english as a second language as a way to make money while they go through the immigration process.

But a lot depends on where you're going.
Thanks for the tips. We would definitely have jobs before we went anywhere. We are looking at international schools, which hire months before the school year starts. (We are thinking about the 2013-2014 school year.) Supposedly they take care of most of the legal/paperwork for the new hires.

Really, I'm wondering about the pros and cons of the experience. We have a young daughter, so that factors into the equation as well.
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Old 08-20-2012, 04:52 PM
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Default Re: Anyone Have Any Experience With Living/Working Overseas?

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Originally Posted by Chunkaway View Post
Really, I'm wondering about the pros and cons of the experience. We have a young daughter, so that factors into the equation as well.
Given that everyone's experiences would be different, mine has been great. Sure, there are things to get used to, as there will be anywhere outside of the country that you moved. For me, things like getting used to stores being closed on Sundays, or figuring out that there isn't usually any form of an Emergency Room triage center in hospitals like there are in the U.S.. Things like that.
Other experiences I've had: many people speak English, as they usually had it in school [w/exceptions], although the government is strictly Deutsch speaking [as is their paperwork]. Be wary of any foods attempting to be "your area" -style. They'll always let you down.
Be prepared, depending on where you're moving, to miss your favorite foods. I've tasted things claiming to be Mexican that Anthony Bourdain wouldn't even eat. If you're into sports, prepare to miss that too. Sure, there's the internet, but it's the distance. There are, however, sports here that are interesting.
With your daughter, if you're moving to a city that's large enough that has a good percent of regular english speakers in it [Berlin, Munich, Cologne], the transition might be a little easier for her. The hardest part for her might be missing her friends back home, if that's the case.

This only applies to my experiences in Germany. I'm sure others have had others. And because every place is so different, requirements and the like are. And so are the tradeoffs.
If you're doing it to have a life-changing experience and try to live in a place you've always dreamed of, well, those are two great reasons to do it. I wish you luck!
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  #10  
Old 08-20-2012, 05:08 PM
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Chunkaway Chunkaway is offline
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Default Re: Anyone Have Any Experience With Living/Working Overseas?

Quote:
Originally Posted by mikeyhanson View Post
Given that everyone's experiences would be different, mine has been great. Sure, there are things to get used to, as there will be anywhere outside of the country that you moved. For me, things like getting used to stores being closed on Sundays, or figuring out that there isn't usually any form of an Emergency Room triage center in hospitals like there are in the U.S.. Things like that.
Other experiences I've had: many people speak English, as they usually had it in school [w/exceptions], although the government is strictly Deutsch speaking [as is their paperwork]. Be wary of any foods attempting to be "your area" -style. They'll always let you down.
Be prepared, depending on where you're moving, to miss your favorite foods. I've tasted things claiming to be Mexican that Anthony Bourdain wouldn't even eat. If you're into sports, prepare to miss that too. Sure, there's the internet, but it's the distance. There are, however, sports here that are interesting.
With your daughter, if you're moving to a city that's large enough that has a good percent of regular english speakers in it [Berlin, Munich, Cologne], the transition might be a little easier for her. The hardest part for her might be missing her friends back home, if that's the case.

This only applies to my experiences in Germany. I'm sure others have had others. And because every place is so different, requirements and the like are. And so are the tradeoffs.
If you're doing it to have a life-changing experience and try to live in a place you've always dreamed of, well, those are two great reasons to do it. I wish you luck!
Thank you very much for the insights. Lots to think about, but all of these comments help with the process.

Thanks again!
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  #11  
Old 08-20-2012, 06:41 PM
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Skulmoski Skulmoski is offline
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Default Re: Anyone Have Any Experience With Living/Working Overseas?

The expat life can be great but it is not for everyone. This is our 11th year in Abu Dhabi and most days are pretty good. Our daughter was born here and she is having a great upbringing. The salary and benefits can be very attractive. We have met very interesting people from around the world. And we have a place to stay in many countries as we have had good friends return to their own countries. There is lots of info online (e.g. Expatforum.com or Expatwomen.com).

Best wishes with your move. My advice is to try it; for most people it is a working holiday providing lifelong memories.

GJS
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  #12  
Old 08-20-2012, 07:46 PM
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Chunkaway Chunkaway is offline
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Default Re: Anyone Have Any Experience With Living/Working Overseas?

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Originally Posted by Skulmoski View Post
The expat life can be great but it is not for everyone. This is our 11th year in Abu Dhabi and most days are pretty good. Our daughter was born here and she is having a great upbringing. The salary and benefits can be very attractive. We have met very interesting people from around the world. And we have a place to stay in many countries as we have had good friends return to their own countries. There is lots of info online (e.g. Expatforum.com or Expatwomen.com).

Best wishes with your move. My advice is to try it; for most people it is a working holiday providing lifelong memories.

GJS
Thank you for the information, especially those websites. What would you say are the drawbacks?
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Old 08-20-2012, 08:31 PM
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Default Re: Anyone Have Any Experience With Living/Working Overseas?

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Originally Posted by Chunkaway View Post
We have one daughter who turns 5 in October.
Living abroad will enrich your daughter’s life in ways just not possible otherwise. She’ll come out of it with language skills and social/cultural comprehension far beyond those of her peers back home.
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  #14  
Old 08-20-2012, 11:10 PM
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Default Re: Anyone Have Any Experience With Living/Working Overseas?

I've never lived abroad but my tenure in the military brought me to over 20 countries. There was one consistency through it all, a positive, humble demeanor will get you places. Cities in Europe (generally speaking) are much like a small town in America. People were always quick to help and lend a hand if you approach them kindly and respectfully.

The only advice I have is (and I'm not saying you won't/aren't planning on it) but learn the culture and nuances of where you'll be living. People will appreciate you taking the time to learn their way of life and appreciate you for it.
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  #15  
Old 08-30-2012, 07:08 PM
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Chunkaway Chunkaway is offline
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Default Re: Anyone Have Any Experience With Living/Working Overseas?

Anybody ever lived in Singapore? We may have a connection at a school there, and we would like some insights/info.
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