Living Abroad - Who's done it?

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IthinkICan
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Living Abroad - Who's done it?

Post by IthinkICan » Wed Jun 13, 2018 10:33 am

I don't know why, but I've always wanted to live in another country, at least for a few years. At the same time, I feel afraid to go for it. My husband is up for it, and I recently got the go-ahead from my company to work remotely (may require a pay adjustment).

Reasons for wanting to do it:
  • Becoming truly fluent in another language. I've been studying Spanish off and on for years.
  • Learning how another culture works
  • Learning more about myself
  • Having access to outings (visits to ruins, other historical sites, outdoor activities) that would be a long trip from where I live today
  • Depending on where, enjoying a mild climate
Things holding me back:
  • Aging parents. I have two siblings who live in the same city. Both parents are healthy, but I feel a bit of guilt about going somewhere far away from them.
  • Figuring out what to do with our house. I love our house and neighborhood. We're in one of the only walkable neighborhoods in our city. Every time a house near us sells, a flipper adds tons of sqft and sells for a huge ncrease. If we sell, I doubt we could (or would want to afford) to buy back in. At the same time, I think it could be a headache to manage it as a rental from abroad.
  • I know I'll miss my friends, and it'll take time to make friends in a new place
Have any of you done this? I feel like I'm at an age where, if I don't do it now, I'll never do it. Moving could be a big mistake, but it could also be a big regret if I don't go for it.

FoolMeOnce
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Re: Living Abroad - Who's done it?

Post by FoolMeOnce » Wed Jun 13, 2018 12:03 pm

I have not and I regret not doing it. My career path to this point hasn't really allowed it, and now with a wife who loves her job and two young kids, it is not a possibility.

About a couple of the things holding you back:
IthinkICan wrote:
Wed Jun 13, 2018 10:33 am
Things holding me back:
  • Aging parents. I have two siblings who live in the same city. Both parents are healthy, but I feel a bit of guilt about going somewhere far away from them.
If your parents are healthy now, don't delay! If you keep debating this for a few years, you might finally be ready to go just when their health declines. Also, have you talked to your siblings or parents about this?
IthinkICan wrote:
Wed Jun 13, 2018 10:33 am
  • Figuring out what to do with our house. I love our house and neighborhood. We're in one of the only walkable neighborhoods in our city. Every time a house near us sells, a flipper adds tons of sqft and sells for a huge ncrease. If we sell, I doubt we could (or would want to afford) to buy back in. At the same time, I think it could be a headache to manage it as a rental from abroad.
Look into the cost of hiring a management company. Even if it eats all the rental profits, it might be worth it to have the house you want upon your return, or at least to keep that option available.

scooterdog
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Re: Living Abroad - Who's done it?

Post by scooterdog » Wed Jun 13, 2018 12:14 pm

I did this (for almost 2 years) but I was single and did own a house.

One of the best decisions of my life, I say this 20 years later, in hindsight.

Rented out the house, at that time to friends, and afterwards (they moved out while abroad, long story) sibling helped in finding another renter. Sounds like you have siblings and are from the area, so lining up help isn't an issue (handyman, other repair and service people).

Yes it's scary, you have no idea what the US is like until you have lived abroad and see it as an expat. And while abroad you need to actively avoid hanging out in an expat 'bubble' - it is altogether too easy especially if its popular among American expats.

Of course start right away with the language, it can only help the adjustment, and don't be afraid that your friendships and other relationships with people stateside will be put on 'hold' - they'll still be here whenever you return!

ResearchMed
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Re: Living Abroad - Who's done it?

Post by ResearchMed » Wed Jun 13, 2018 12:21 pm

FoolMeOnce wrote:
Wed Jun 13, 2018 12:03 pm
I have not and I regret not doing it. My career path to this point hasn't really allowed it, and now with a wife who loves her job and two young kids, it is not a possibility.

About a couple of the things holding you back:
IthinkICan wrote:
Wed Jun 13, 2018 10:33 am
Things holding me back:
  • Aging parents. I have two siblings who live in the same city. Both parents are healthy, but I feel a bit of guilt about going somewhere far away from them.
If your parents are healthy now, don't delay! If you keep debating this for a few years, you might finally be ready to go just when their health declines. Also, have you talked to your siblings or parents about this?
IthinkICan wrote:
Wed Jun 13, 2018 10:33 am
  • Figuring out what to do with our house. I love our house and neighborhood. We're in one of the only walkable neighborhoods in our city. Every time a house near us sells, a flipper adds tons of sqft and sells for a huge ncrease. If we sell, I doubt we could (or would want to afford) to buy back in. At the same time, I think it could be a headache to manage it as a rental from abroad.
Look into the cost of hiring a management company. Even if it eats all the rental profits, it might be worth it to have the house you want upon your return, or at least to keep that option available.
I'd agree with this.

I did a post-doc in the UK several decades ago, and it was one of the best and most memorable years of my life.
I was there as a single parent of young children, so that added some complications.

I have always regretted that I didn't do more to try to stay there, although I did flirt with the idea just a bit a few times over the next few years.
(And anyway, it did help my career here in the states.)

I also used that time to spend a few weeks driving around France (so many special memories!), and I also went back for vacations frequently, and even recently, although less frequently.

Air travel is relatively quick, in terms of getting back, and in some cases, even closer than "across country" in the USA.

Will there be a "better time"?
Good luck!

RM
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Globalviewer58
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Re: Living Abroad - Who's done it?

Post by Globalviewer58 » Wed Jun 13, 2018 12:24 pm

Yes, lived in Germany, for about 3 years. One of the best times of my life. Learned to speak casual German while living there but strongly suggest having some fluency in the local language and it seems you have Spanish so that should guide your search.

If you and your spouse are in agreement then make a plan. Life goes on without you in the old neighborhood but tools today like Skype allow you to stay in contact with those that need to see and hear from you.

FireProof
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Re: Living Abroad - Who's done it?

Post by FireProof » Wed Jun 13, 2018 12:25 pm

I don't see any major practical impediments. Travel is just so cheap nowadays that distance isn't so important for things like renting from abroad or getting back to your currently-healthy parents in the unlikely case of an emergency (which your siblings can deal with in its first moments). Hell, when I was a kid, my parents not only managed the rental of their own house from abroad, but also eight other rental properties (and travel and communications are MUCH easier nowadays).

And, not the OP, but having two young kids wouldn't be either - that's exactly what my parents had, and it was a great time for us to learn a foreign language and broaden our horizons. The native-level French I learned was not only useful in itself, but allowed me later to learn fluent Spanish (as another Romance language) and accentless German (due to having the French "r" and 'u" sounds.) Maybe on the negative side from my parents' perspective, it broadened my horizons so much that I later lived far away from them!

Of course, that doesn't mean you'll actually like it - my sister came to live in Berlin when I lived there, and despite it theoretically checking all her boxes in terms of culture, vibe and entertainment, she missed home and felt isolated, with friendships and social networks developing too slowly and too superficially for her taste (despite living with a college roommate, living a few blocks from one of her closest childhood friends, and a 20 minute walk from her brother... there are a lot of Californians in Berlin!) She was able to just up and leave, but If you are renting houses and getting forwarded by your job, it might be a little more of a commitment.

ResearchMed
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Re: Living Abroad - Who's done it?

Post by ResearchMed » Wed Jun 13, 2018 12:26 pm

ADDED:

Oh, DH also spent a few years as a post-doc, in Germany.
(We didn't know each other then.)

He feels the same way about it being a great decision, in so many ways.

RM
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Isabelle77
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Re: Living Abroad - Who's done it?

Post by Isabelle77 » Wed Jun 13, 2018 12:34 pm

I grew up as an American in Canada and France, my parents also lived in Spain after I was in college. Do you have a connection to another country that will allow you to live and work there? Will your company sponsor you hopefully with tax assistance? If not it will be more difficult and you may not be able to stay for very long. If you have all of that worked out then go for it!

I loved my wandering childhood (we lived in several US states as well) and highly recommend it. Good luck!

nova1968
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Re: Living Abroad - Who's done it?

Post by nova1968 » Wed Jun 13, 2018 12:40 pm

I worked overseas for over 10 years in Kwajalein, Marshal islands, Helsinki, Finland and Baku, Azerbaijan. Its a great experience living in another culture vs going on vacation for a week. The best benefit was free housing, no taxes on the first 80K, (Its probably a different figure by now) or auto expenses. I was in my 20s and early 30s at the time, 95% of my earnings went into investment portfolios. its a not only a great opportunity to seek adventure but a great place to build a nest egg.

WhiteMaxima
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Re: Living Abroad - Who's done it?

Post by WhiteMaxima » Wed Jun 13, 2018 12:49 pm

World is big and wonderful. Sell everything and enjoy traveling. You can save a lot of money too.

CascadiaSoonish
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Re: Living Abroad - Who's done it?

Post by CascadiaSoonish » Wed Jun 13, 2018 12:59 pm

My partner and I spent a year living in the Netherlands (we're Americans) about 15 years ago while I got a master's degree. I have no reservations whatsoever in saying "do it" as it was an amazing experience. Travel and distance to family isn't a big deal, hop on a plane when you need to. Now that we have kids and they are getting into their middle school years I'm tempted to find a way to have another stint abroad again, even though the logistics would be a lot tougher.

Edit: I'll also acknowledge that there was significant financial cost involved. But if we're all thinking that money is ultimately a tool to enable to live our lives with freedom and to experience a life lived well, I can't think of a better example of a worthwhile expenditure.
Last edited by CascadiaSoonish on Wed Jun 13, 2018 1:03 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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M_to_the_G
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Re: Living Abroad - Who's done it?

Post by M_to_the_G » Wed Jun 13, 2018 1:00 pm

Member of the Foreign Service here. I have lived long-term (for one year or longer) in Germany, France, the Netherlands, Taiwan, China, Iraq, and Afghanistan -- a total of 13 years spent abroad. The planning itself will be an adventure, and -- as others have intimated above, including yourself -- if you don’t do it, you might regret it later. Frankly, your situation sounds almost ideal. Money and partners tend to be the things that hold people back. You have a job that will travel with you and a spouse who is game. As for whether you might do a little better or a little worse with the house, in my humble opinion that’s making a mountain out of a molehill.

I could give you all sorts of caveats and advice, but that would be describing a tiger to someone who has never seen one. I definitely think it’s possible that some of your assumptions of what you stand to gain could be tempered by the reality of the experience. For example, you may not really become fluent in the local language, you may find yourself hanging out with other expats much more than you thought you would, you may find yourself loving everything for the first few weeks or months and then hating everything for a period of time, you may find that you miss your family even more than you thought you would, etc. But that’s normal.

The people who have a truly bad experience with living abroad, in my humble opinion -- besides those who struggle financially or who have to deal with a reluctant and resentful partner -- tend to be those “escaping” from something, those who are unhappy in their lives and think their salvation lies in a mystical, perfect place “over there.” It doesn’t seem that you are that type. And you have a job that will travel with you. And you have a game partner. And so based on only what you’ve written here, I’d say the iron is hot.
"It’s basically the plot of 'Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.' If you stick around, doing nothing, while everyone around you ****s up, you’re going to win big." - John Oliver

ResearchMed
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Re: Living Abroad - Who's done it?

Post by ResearchMed » Wed Jun 13, 2018 1:12 pm

M_to_the_G wrote:
Wed Jun 13, 2018 1:00 pm
Member of the Foreign Service here. I have lived long-term (for one year or longer) in Germany, France, the Netherlands, Taiwan, China, Iraq, and Afghanistan -- a total of 13 years spent abroad. The planning itself will be an adventure, and -- as others have intimated above, including yourself -- if you don’t do it, you might regret it later. Frankly, your situation sounds almost ideal. Money and partners tend to be the things that hold people back. You have a job that will travel with you and a spouse who is game. As for whether you might do a little better or a little worse with the house, in my humble opinion that’s making a mountain out of a molehill.

I could give you all sorts of caveats and advice, but that would be describing a tiger to someone who has never seen one. I definitely think it’s possible that some of your assumptions of what you stand to gain could be tempered by the reality of the experience. For example, you may not really become fluent in the local language, you may find yourself hanging out with other expats much more than you thought you would, you may find yourself loving everything for the first few weeks or months and then hating everything for a period of time, you may find that you miss your family even more than you thought you would, etc. But that’s normal.

The people who have a truly bad experience with living abroad, in my humble opinion -- besides those who struggle financially or who have to deal with a reluctant and resentful partner -- tend to be those “escaping” from something, those who are unhappy in their lives and think their salvation lies in a mystical, perfect place “over there.” It doesn’t seem that you are that type. And you have a job that will travel with you. And you have a game partner. And so based on only what you’ve written here, I’d say the iron is hot.
As to downsides, however slight...

I found that there were a few recipes for which I simply could not find the right ingredients. (Probably much less likely nowadays.)

So I had occasional care packages with a few things.

And back then (this was a loooong time ago), any publications/articles/journals that I wanted, were not only not scanned and emailed, they were sent by SHIP.
I think 2 or 3 times, I insisted that I really, truly needed a reference fast, and had it sent "airmail".
Those were the days :happy

I purchased a car on the Overseas Delivery plan, and kept it for a bit over 11 months (12 months was the max), and then had a "new" car back at home later.
It was definitely the most cost effective ways to have a car there, and again back at home.

I was still living in student family housing, so I put my personal stuff in my office (smallest bedroom), and rented the rest of my fully furnished apartment - in a prime location on campus - to a couple whom I had known previously as an undergrad, who also moved to where I had already moved for grad school.
That was a lot easier, because of "campus maintenance", etc.

You've got me now thinking that when we decide to sell this house (which we love, but ... the stairs...) and downsize, perhaps we'll use that time to take a last minute sabbatical, and then move into independent living when we return.
We'd both LOVE to spend some serious time abroad again, and DH has real reason to do that, instead of separate trips, etc.

Do it!
And thanks for mentioning it!! :D

RM
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dcabler
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Re: Living Abroad - Who's done it?

Post by dcabler » Wed Jun 13, 2018 1:23 pm

I lived in Dresden, Germany for 2 years as an expat and spent a summer in Austria for another company. Now as a company sponsored expat, we were a little insulated from "real life", at least at the beginning. The company did the groundwork to get our visas. We had people helping us get a bank account. The apartment was directly billed to the company but we worked with an agent to find it. The company provided a leased car and gave us a gas card. Once we were set up, though, except for paying bills in Germany, we were pretty much on our own. In many countries, though, there are companies and organizations that help expats, if you're on your own. When we were in Austria, though, we were on our own. I had to find a flat, get a long term rental car, etc. But having done the 2 year stint in Dresden years earlier made this so much easier!

My wife and I really enjoyed it and would have stayed even longer if they had let us! We took language classes twice a week and within a few months could get around well enough. My wife really got much better at the language because she lived in the real world all day long. Whereas, all of my German colleagues wanted to speak English at work.

Always smooth? No. The medical system there was quite different. When we had an issue, we had to self-pay and were then reimbursed. But it was so cheap! My wife hurt her hand and the X-ray cost about $5. And she got the head of radiology to review it (he wanted to practice his English skills). :D And we used to joke that any time you went to the doctor, you usually got the magic "white cream" no matter what the issue was.

Dentistry was even more different. It seemed that everybody I worked with had some sort of bridgework, no matter how young. They didn't really have the concept of a dental hygienist there - so no teeth cleaning. Their own insurance didn't pay for novacane, so you had to ask for it as most of their patients didn't bother. And I remember the dental chair not having arm rests, of all things to remember.

Overall, life was a little different. Language became less and less a factor the longer we stayed as did just daily life. If you're a reasonably flexible person, you just get accustomed to things. There was always somebody nearby who spoke English if we got hung up. After a while, you just stop saying "wow, that's different than the US". Besides, everybody gets tired of hearing that pretty quickly. :D

Some of our other expat friends had a tougher time of it. There were several wives who seem to go back to the US once every couple of months to "decompress". Meaning they never really got the hang of life outside of the US, not really. We also had a couple of people who had to leave early for serious health issues. On the other hand, the wife of one of my expat friends had a baby while over there. No complications, but a 10 day hospital stay was the norm. She likened it to "spa time".

At the end of the day, so far it has been the biggest adventure of my life! To be realistic, I think we would have done well in just about any city in Europe. At the end of the day, if you choose to look at it that way, there are a lot of cultural similarities. I can easily see how it might have been more difficult if we had done this somewhere in the far east, but I know people who do that as well.

In short, I think it is well worth it. Hope to have the chance again post-employment!

tesuzuki2002
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Re: Living Abroad - Who's done it?

Post by tesuzuki2002 » Wed Jun 13, 2018 1:43 pm

FoolMeOnce wrote:
Wed Jun 13, 2018 12:03 pm
I have not and I regret not doing it. My career path to this point hasn't really allowed it, and now with a wife who loves her job and two young kids, it is not a possibility.

About a couple of the things holding you back:
IthinkICan wrote:
Wed Jun 13, 2018 10:33 am
Things holding me back:
  • Aging parents. I have two siblings who live in the same city. Both parents are healthy, but I feel a bit of guilt about going somewhere far away from them.
If your parents are healthy now, don't delay! If you keep debating this for a few years, you might finally be ready to go just when their health declines. Also, have you talked to your siblings or parents about this?
IthinkICan wrote:
Wed Jun 13, 2018 10:33 am
  • Figuring out what to do with our house. I love our house and neighborhood. We're in one of the only walkable neighborhoods in our city. Every time a house near us sells, a flipper adds tons of sqft and sells for a huge ncrease. If we sell, I doubt we could (or would want to afford) to buy back in. At the same time, I think it could be a headache to manage it as a rental from abroad.
Look into the cost of hiring a management company. Even if it eats all the rental profits, it might be worth it to have the house you want upon your return, or at least to keep that option available.


I second vote both of these!! Even with hiring a property manager who is really good. Just look at it a cost of keeping your home. Don't plan on making any money. maximize your losses where you can and it should benefit you in the end.

livesoft
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Re: Living Abroad - Who's done it?

Post by livesoft » Wed Jun 13, 2018 1:47 pm

Didn't read all the responses since I've done it. I don't see any long-term downsides and only long-term upsides.

My spouse did not know the local language, but took classes and eventually got a job as an administrative assistant where English-as-mother-tongue was a requirement.

Other friends of ours had their kids while abroad before the kids entered kindergarten. Other friends of ours had older kids.

Basically, I don't think it matters what age one first goes nor does it matter what else is going on in your life.
Last edited by livesoft on Wed Jun 13, 2018 1:51 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Freefun
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Re: Living Abroad - Who's done it?

Post by Freefun » Wed Jun 13, 2018 1:48 pm

Spent a good portion of my adult life living in South America, Europe, Africa and Asia. I could list many things that were negatives but I'd do it again in a heartbeat - adventures for a lifetime. I will try it again when I retire. If I decide I don't like it I can always move back. I'd rather try something and not like it, than regret not giving it a go.
Remember when you wanted what you currently have?

IthinkICan
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Re: Living Abroad - Who's done it?

Post by IthinkICan » Wed Jun 13, 2018 3:38 pm

Thanks so much for all the replies! We've been contemplating this for years, and as we've become more serious, we've started to notice things we like here that would be different or hard to get in South America or Spain. I'm sure there are loads of things that we'd never think of until we get there.

We have other challenges to solve with actually moving - what to take? how to move it? how to get our dog moved safely (she's 10)?

I feel lucky that my job can go with me. We do have a decent amount of savings that could get us temporary residency if necessary. I'm not sure that my company could sponsor me to be there. We don't operate in any Spanish speaking countries. But now that I think about it, we do have employees in the EU. Hmmm :)

Yes, we have talked with our families about this. I don't think it would come as a surprise. Both of our fathers are up beat about it. Our moms are less excited and fearful about what could go wrong. I think our siblings, cousins, etc. look forward to visiting ad having a free place to stay and a local tour guide.

I am loving reading your advice and stories!

jebmke
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Re: Living Abroad - Who's done it?

Post by jebmke » Wed Jun 13, 2018 3:54 pm

We lived in Belgium for about 4 years. I didn't have time for language lessons. My spouse spoke reasonable French when she got there and was quite fluent by the time we left. It was a great experience. We still keep in touch with quite a few people we knew there. More than half of my staff was in Rotterdam so I spent a lot of time in the Netherlands. I'd go back in a heartbeat if the situation arose. I'm retired now so that is less likely.

We had moved a few times (actually, I moved probably 20+ times in my lifetime) so while the logistics of putting stuff in storage and moving were a bit more complicated, it wasn't like we hadn't gone through much of the drill before.
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BC_Doc
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Re: Living Abroad - Who's done it?

Post by BC_Doc » Thu Jun 14, 2018 2:48 am

I moved temporarily to Montreal in my mid-20s to attend medical school. Four years in Quebec became almost a decade then we decided to try out western Canada. We’re now coming up on a quarter century “abroad” with no regrets.

I would say go for it. Life is an adventure and you don’t get re-rides.

Quebec was a great place to live. I used my high school and university French as a base to become fluent during our time there. Housing was and still is inexpensive there— Montreal is a great city to rent in. Finally, Montreal is a great foody city— both restaurants and farmers markets.

Exit105
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Re: Living Abroad - Who's done it?

Post by Exit105 » Thu Jun 14, 2018 5:16 am

"life begins at the edge of your comfort zone." Do it. We did and never looked back. Been back 5 years now and the memories are still fresh in our minds. Endless travel, experiences, memories to last a lifetime.

As an alternative, could you swing keeping your home in the U.S. and going overseas for short stints, 2-3 months at a shot and come back home for equal amounts of time before doing it again? Advantages would be ability to change locations, locate near public transport (no car needed), frequent visits with family at home, no "visa" or "resident" type issues, just be a tourist.

Yukon
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Re: Living Abroad - Who's done it?

Post by Yukon » Thu Jun 14, 2018 5:33 am

Have not lived abroad but have always wanted to. Still on the bucket list but with 3 kids under 10 it's become more complicated. Especially with spouse luke warm on the consideration.

Just go for 12 months as anything longer gets more complicated and you'll be paralyzed by analyzation. Take a few months to screen for the perfect 12 month tenant and you'll be halfway there.
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HongKonger
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Re: Living Abroad - Who's done it?

Post by HongKonger » Thu Jun 14, 2018 5:37 am

Yes - 4 countries for the last 20 odd years. Don't envisage myself ever returning to the country of my birth.

Nowhere in the world is more than 24 hours flying time away. Just go for it, you will be glad you did. You will be too busy to miss people and if you do, you can webcam.

AlohaJoe
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Re: Living Abroad - Who's done it?

Post by AlohaJoe » Thu Jun 14, 2018 5:40 am

The US State Department estimates there are 9 million Americans living abroad. By population, that is bigger than 39 states. It is like the entire population of New Jersey.

And that's just the ones currently living abroad. I expect there's a pretty large number who lived abroad at one point and then moved back to the US. So -- at a guess - that's probably something like 15 million people who have done it.

A lot of people have done it, so it clearly isn't exactly hard in the grand scheme of things. All the hurdles are surmountable. You can do it :D

gd
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Re: Living Abroad - Who's done it?

Post by gd » Thu Jun 14, 2018 5:52 am

Some excellent comments. One piece of advice tucked into the replies I'd reiterate is to be wary of getting sucked too deeply into the American expat community. Don't know about nowadays, but decades past it was easy (for me, at least) to find Americans unhappy and with an attitude. They're poison to the experience, and even today when I visit the country I became attached to, I shy away from Americans. This might be a challenge if you do not have a structure to your stay (e.g. local job) and go somewhere popular.

BTW, one way of getting started is to initially attend a local immersion language school, or later a night school teaching the local language, often to refugees and immigrants. Having a minimum ability in the local language really is essential anywhere for the experience of local life. Don't expect fluency. One of the epiphanies for me was realizing that I was a stupid foreigner, would always be a stupid foreigner, was going to make a fool of myself every time I opened my mouth, so why not relax and make the most of it. I'm finding the skill transfers well to old age, too. :D

palaheel
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Re: Living Abroad - Who's done it?

Post by palaheel » Thu Jun 14, 2018 7:40 am

Is there something special about your destination? Or is it just a change?

DW and I did a year in England in the early 80s, and (with kid) almost 3 in France in the mid-90s. Both were on Megacorp's dime, which "helps...." For us, getting closer to the history and culture of Western Civilization was the big draw. Walking through a podunk little village and seeing "1679" on a house fascinated me. That wasn't the oldest building by far; it was just when they started putting dates on them.

Both stays were incredible experiences. That's not to say we enjoyed every minute of it, but it changed our outlooks. Being a 20's couple in England was the best year of our lives.

Some of our American friends hated being there. I think the difference was that, while we were all Americans, and would always be Americans, those of us who became as British or as French as we could be, loved it. Those who stayed as American as they were, hated it. If you go, embrace the locale.
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Jeff Albertson
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Re: Living Abroad - Who's done it?

Post by Jeff Albertson » Thu Jun 14, 2018 8:02 am

You should look for ex-pat forums for the locations you're interested in. For example, here's one for Germany -

IthinkICan
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Re: Living Abroad - Who's done it?

Post by IthinkICan » Thu Jun 14, 2018 8:59 am

Exit105 wrote:
Thu Jun 14, 2018 5:16 am
"life begins at the edge of your comfort zone." Do it. We did and never looked back. Been back 5 years now and the memories are still fresh in our minds. Endless travel, experiences, memories to last a lifetime.
We'd love to do this, but we also want to take our pets with us. We have a young cat and 50lb senior dog. I figure a 1 year stay would be the minimum. I'd feel bad having the dog in cargo multiple times per year.
Last edited by IthinkICan on Thu Jun 14, 2018 9:15 am, edited 1 time in total.

IthinkICan
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Re: Living Abroad - Who's done it?

Post by IthinkICan » Thu Jun 14, 2018 9:14 am

palaheel wrote:
Thu Jun 14, 2018 7:40 am
Is there something special about your destination? Or is it just a change?
Both of the places we're looking at have lovely 16th century (or older) architecture and are in the mountains. We enjoyed the people we met, the climate, and the walkability in both. One would keep us in the same time zone, making it easier to work remotely for my employer. Both have a good amout of fine arts and community activities, especially for the size of the cities. Also, they have access to pretty outdoor nature activities and historical sites. Part of me wants to spend a couple of years in both. One is in Spain, the other is in Ecuador.

ResearchMed
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Re: Living Abroad - Who's done it?

Post by ResearchMed » Thu Jun 14, 2018 10:02 am

IthinkICan wrote:
Thu Jun 14, 2018 8:59 am
Exit105 wrote:
Thu Jun 14, 2018 5:16 am
"life begins at the edge of your comfort zone." Do it. We did and never looked back. Been back 5 years now and the memories are still fresh in our minds. Endless travel, experiences, memories to last a lifetime.
We'd love to do this, but we also want to take our pets with us. We have a young cat and 50lb senior dog. I figure a 1 year stay would be the minimum. I'd feel bad having the dog in cargo multiple times per year.
Take Cunard's QM2 ship; they have a serious kennel on board, and you can visit your pet(s) as you please.
I understand the kennels can fill up *far* in advance of the people cabin reservations.

If you are flying home for short visits, you might want to have a petsitter or kennel care for the older dog, especially, rather than putting it through cargo, etc.

And do make sure you are on track for any vaccinations, exams, paperwork, or possible quarantines (less common these days).

RM
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Re: Living Abroad - Who's done it?

Post by UpperNwGuy » Thu Jun 14, 2018 10:49 am

I am retired and have thought often about moving to Spain. What’s holding me back are: a 96 year old father, two young grandchildren, Medicare not being available abroad, and the bureaucratic hassles of getting established in a new country.

-buzz-
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Re: Living Abroad - Who's done it?

Post by -buzz- » Thu Jun 14, 2018 10:57 am

Here is one of my favorite Mark Twain quotes:

“Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one's lifetime.”


We lived in Switzerland for 5 years. Absolutely one of the best experiences of our lives. Those years forever changed the way we view ourselves and the US in general. We got to travel to places that we would never have otherwise been able to experience. We also had children while living abroad and moved back to the US with babies/toddlers.

We were on an expat assignment with Megacorp, so we had some relocation resources that wouldn't be readily available if you were DIY. It would have been extremely difficult to live in such a HCOL area on a US payscale. Going DIY would require that you choose wisely in terms of cost of living.
M_to_the_G wrote:
Wed Jun 13, 2018 1:00 pm
I could give you all sorts of caveats and advice, but that would be describing a tiger to someone who has never seen one. I definitely think it’s possible that some of your assumptions of what you stand to gain could be tempered by the reality of the experience. For example, you may not really become fluent in the local language, you may find yourself hanging out with other expats much more than you thought you would, you may find yourself loving everything for the first few weeks or months and then hating everything for a period of time, you may find that you miss your family even more than you thought you would, etc. But that’s normal.
I love the analogy of describing a tiger! It is absolutely true. Living in a place is so different than vacationing. You have to figure out how to live a life in your new home which includes the mundane things like having your car fixed, getting a haircut, dealing with the postal service, interacting with health care, paying your bills, etc.

Once the excitement and novelty of the honeymoon period wears off, a cycle starts where you progress from emotional peaks to valleys. When you move as a couple, there will be a time when you are on a high peak and your partner is in a deep valley or vice versa. That is a big learning experience in itself of learning to communicate better with your partner. Those tough times made our marriage even stronger, but it can also tear down a relationship.
IthinkICan wrote:
Wed Jun 13, 2018 10:33 am
Things holding me back:
  • Aging parents. I have two siblings who live in the same city. Both parents are healthy, but I feel a bit of guilt about going somewhere far away from them.
  • Figuring out what to do with our house. I love our house and neighborhood. We're in one of the only walkable neighborhoods in our city. Every time a house near us sells, a flipper adds tons of sqft and sells for a huge ncrease. If we sell, I doubt we could (or would want to afford) to buy back in. At the same time, I think it could be a headache to manage it as a rental from abroad.
  • I know I'll miss my friends, and it'll take time to make friends in a new place
I can tell you've thought this through because those are all valid concerns.

In my mind, the key questions on renting vs selling the house are:

1) Do you have the means to weather significant gap in rental income? For example, if your renters stopped paying, it could take a few months to evict them, get the house refreshed, and get new paying renters in there. If you can afford to set aside a rental emergency fund equal to six months of payments plus $5,000 (total guess) to cover legal and repair costs, then you are probably fine. If a rental issue would jeopardize your finances to the extent that you would have to move back, then it is too much risk to keep. Just sell it.

2) If you stayed put instead of going abroad, what is the likelihood you would still be living in the same house 10 years from now? In other words, you have to assess whether any expected life changes (having kids, parent moving in) or your own preferences (bigger/smaller yard/house) would cause you to move. You already said you love the house & location, so if you believe that you would want to move back to the same city and this house is suitable long-term, then I'd probably want to keep it as a rental. That would give you a little more progress on the mortgage (assuming there is one) and keep you from having to purchase again at future price levels. If you feel like you would move within 5-10 years anyway, then I'd favor selling it.

We chose to sell our house. The Megacorp relocation benefits at the time were less attractive for keeping the house as a rental and we wanted to go the more simple path. That was an okay choice since we ended up moving back to a different city when we returned to the US. The downside is that we moved to a higher cost of living city when we returned. It was much more expensive to purchase in a hot real estate market, especially when we had lost 5 years of equity growth.

Best wishes on whatever you decide!

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Re: Living Abroad - Who's done it?

Post by c1over8 » Thu Jun 14, 2018 12:27 pm

I recommend you check out expatforum and consider posting there for country specific advice. I know they have a dedicated forum for Spain, not sure about Ecuador.

I haven't lived abroad long term myself, but I think its a great idea if it is logistically possible in your desired countries. Some logistical things to consider to see if its possible and desireable to live in a given foreign country:

How will you be able to live in the country for over a year? (i.e., what kind of visa is required and how long will you be permitted to stay)

What will you do for medical insurance? You may be required to obtain and provide proof of medical coverage in the new country.

Will you be a tax resident of the country you are moving to and thus have to file taxes in both the new country and the US? (Don't assume that because you are telecommuting for a U.S. company that you won't owe income taxes on that income in the new country. Your work may be taxable in the new country based on the fact you are physically located there while doing the work.)

Will you residence for estate purposes change? Some countries have forced heirship rules (i.e., certain amount must be left to kids) and estate taxes that kick in at much lower levels. Double check what rules apply and make sure you have appropriate documents in place in case either of you passes during your time abroad.

What other complications will working remotely for a US company create? (for example is working permissible on your type of visa, will you have register your employment, will your employer be required to do anything?)

Will you have to prove a certain amount of income/savings that you will be able to use to sustain yourselves during your stay?

Good luck!

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Re: Living Abroad - Who's done it?

Post by Coato » Thu Jun 14, 2018 10:07 pm

We did 5 years in Italy and 2 in Brazil.

Most of the advice here is great. Each time we moved we only did it with a few suitcases. Closets are tiny outside of the US, and people in Europe seem to wear better made, more basic clothes. Our friends in Ecuador loved the mountains, but that is an ex-pat experience several orders of magnitude greater than Europe.

The travel in SA is a million times more challenging than in Europe, so that should factor in. If you are in Ecuador and want to go to the less touristy destinations (Jericoacoara, Fernando de Noronha) you could end up flying Quito-San Paulo, San Paulo-Recife, Recife-Fernando de Noronha... it just takes a long time. But when you get there SA feels remote like nowhere in Europe. Europe has better artisinal stuff by a million miles. SA has better beaches, rivers and jungles. So the type of travel you will do matters.

The pets will be tough in the EU, not sure about Ecuador. There was a quarantine period in Italy.

I liked the Ex-pat communities in both places, but they were “foreign posting” places more than cheap retirement types so probably a different crowd. No bitterness certainly.

Keeping an address and phone so our CCs and mutual funds weren’t liquidated was a pain.

I’d check the tax treaties. Brazil wanted to tax us on concurrent US income. Italy no.

I’d say our Italy experience was more rich precisely because there was no way to stay connected. Now with vpns, FaceTime, TMobile international, streaming, etc. you can basically live a US life in your ex-pat home. We were disciplined on vacation, but our day-to-day was far less local with the tech.

You will live like a king for nothing in Ecuador. Good food and wine will seem cheap in Spain but woe is you if you need to purchase any tech.

Anyway, we loved both times and are going back out in 5 years.

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Re: Living Abroad - Who's done it?

Post by M_to_the_G » Fri Jun 15, 2018 12:58 am

ResearchMed wrote:
Wed Jun 13, 2018 1:12 pm
You've got me now thinking that when we decide to sell this house (which we love, but ... the stairs...) and downsize, perhaps we'll use that time to take a last minute sabbatical, and then move into independent living when we return.
We'd both LOVE to spend some serious time abroad again, and DH has real reason to do that, instead of separate trips, etc.

Why not? :beer
-buzz- wrote:
Thu Jun 14, 2018 10:57 am
We lived in Switzerland for 5 years. Absolutely one of the best experiences of our lives.
...
Once the excitement and novelty of the honeymoon period wears off, a cycle starts where you progress from emotional peaks to valleys.
Funny thing, I was in Geneva a few months ago and was talking to an Englishman in the middle of a low point of culture shock. He was describing how his landlords had "stolen" his bicycle due to some loophole in Swiss regulations. He bitterly claimed the authorities were protecting them because they were Swiss and he was British, and then launched from there into a general criticism of Swiss society. I asked him how long he had been living in Switzerland, and he said he had been there for about six months. That sounded about right. :)
"It’s basically the plot of 'Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.' If you stick around, doing nothing, while everyone around you ****s up, you’re going to win big." - John Oliver

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Escape Velocity
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Re: Living Abroad - Who's done it?

Post by Escape Velocity » Fri Jun 15, 2018 4:02 am

BLUF: Find a way to do this. We've done it twice, with kids, and without. And the whole family would say it was a very rewarding experience. It is a completely different situation being a local resident and traveling (frequently, but casually), than being on a pack-everything-in vacation.

I went through a mid-life crisis of sorts (the good kind, not the sports car/trophy wife kind), regarding my career and whether I was truly happy doing my current job following a reorganization. And so, we decided to try to make an overseas assignment possible. And after a couple of false starts, we did.

If you have any way to make this move with the support of your current job -- finding a win-win situation for you and the company -- that would be ideal. In the end that is what we were able to do, and it made a big difference (help with moving, work arrangements, etc.)

We rented out our house in the US, because like you, wanted to hold onto it since we love it and our neighbors. In fact, I made arrangements for our next-door neighbor to be our property manager (for pay, of course, but less than a property management firm would take). If you go that route, obviously the biggest factor is finding an excellent tenant. We have some experience with rental property so this was not hard -- but is probably the biggest challenge for a first-time landlord.

The kids loved it, as hard as it was for them to leave their friends at home. They both have remarked many times it was a wonderful international exposure for them, and it shifted their worldview greatly.

And here was the biggest thing that I noticed: We went from living in a big house with a beautiful yard in the US, to renting a pretty small apartment in a lovely German town near Stuttgart. All of a sudden, we had every weekend free to enjoy our new location! I never realized just how much time I was spending maintaining the house and yard. And it was a revelation!

Anyways, I could go on and on. But again, bottom line, find a way to make it happen, and if you have support from your company, you will have a grand adventure!

Prost and Bon Voyage, EV :sharebeer

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Re: Living Abroad - Who's done it?

Post by HongKonger » Fri Jun 15, 2018 4:36 am

M_to_the_G wrote:
Fri Jun 15, 2018 12:58 am
ResearchMed wrote:
Wed Jun 13, 2018 1:12 pm
You've got me now thinking that when we decide to sell this house (which we love, but ... the stairs...) and downsize, perhaps we'll use that time to take a last minute sabbatical, and then move into independent living when we return.
We'd both LOVE to spend some serious time abroad again, and DH has real reason to do that, instead of separate trips, etc.

Why not? :beer
-buzz- wrote:
Thu Jun 14, 2018 10:57 am
We lived in Switzerland for 5 years. Absolutely one of the best experiences of our lives.
...
Once the excitement and novelty of the honeymoon period wears off, a cycle starts where you progress from emotional peaks to valleys.
Funny thing, I was in Geneva a few months ago and was talking to an Englishman in the middle of a low point of culture shock. He was describing how his landlords had "stolen" his bicycle due to some loophole in Swiss regulations. He bitterly claimed the authorities were protecting them because they were Swiss and he was British, and then launched from there into a general criticism of Swiss society. I asked him how long he had been living in Switzerland, and he said he had been there for about six months. That sounded about right. :)
There are Brits Abroad, and then there are expats. The gentlemen you reference was the former. Culture shock - within Europe, purlease. Living in other countries certainly isn't for everyone but you know pretty quickly if it suits you or not.

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Kitty Telltales
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Re: Living Abroad - Who's done it?

Post by Kitty Telltales » Fri Jun 15, 2018 6:15 am

I've been doing it for 12 years now. We live in a German university town so I've met quite a few Americans living abroad. It's a former East German part so there is a smaller American community as compared to near military bases further west, which I appreciate.

I've noticed a difference between the folks staying here for a shorter time finishing a degree or doing a sabbatical and others who have moved here for what they feel is permanently, especially if they are raising children. However everyone benefits from the experience and are changed forever.
Also there is a difference between single people and couples. Singles tend become more immersed by making friends, learning the language more effectively by living with roommates, and generally soaking up more of the culture etc. While many American couples tend to live their lives abroad mostly in the same style they lived at home due to a lack of exposure to the local ways in their own homes. For example they spend too much time searching for ingredients for their American recipes. :wink: I've been guilty of this myself, but now less and less so. Of course, I do read site partly to remain in touch with what is happening back in the States.

I loved the quote from Mark Twain above!! So true. The most rewarding thing for me has been getting to know the people, hearing their stories and opinions. I realize that the stereotypes I imagined of a whole population from a distance, doesn't exist. Everyone is so different from each other here. And one thinks before going abroad that it is about living in the beautiful towns and seeing the sites, however, when you arrive, it's only about the people and the surroundings just become normal.

One last point is you should know that it does take some time to feel good in your own skin while living abroad. After some time though, perhaps even years, it does come and you would eventually feel very much at home. If you love the people, it's a really wonderful thing.

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backofbeyond
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Re: Living Abroad - Who's done it?

Post by backofbeyond » Fri Jun 15, 2018 10:06 am

I'm a Civil Servant, with 28 years under my belt, more than half of it overseas. Lived in the UK (5 years), Germany (4 years), Okinawa (2 years), Canada (2 years) and New Zealand (4 years). Married a British wife and our daughter lived longer abroad than in the US. When asked where she is from, her answer: The World.

All but Okinawa we lived among the natives. Don't believe what you may hear, most people love Americans. They find us a very curious lot and love to show off their culture. The language barrier wasn't an issue at all in Germany and Japan. Most places you can find someone that speaks English. We did have the luxury in Germany and Japan to have access to military installations (groceries, gas). But our daughter went to school on the economy where ever we lived and love it. She is fluent in German, French and can hold her own in Japanese.

The pain in the butt is taxes. Again, because we worked for Uncle Sam, we got paid in dollars and paid US taxes, but if you work on the economy, you have to find out about local laws and international tax agreements between your host country and the US.

I feel VERY blessed for the opportunities I had. Highly recommend it!

I'm currently on the short list for a job in Crete. Fingers crossed.
The question isn't at what age I want to retire, it is at what income. - George Foreman

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Re: Living Abroad - Who's done it?

Post by jlawrence01 » Fri Jun 15, 2018 10:22 am

I guess that I would take the contrary position. I did NOT accept an overseas assignment when I had opportunities to relocate to Wales or Mexico.

One major issue that I encountered was that my wife would not be able to work in the new country which would cut into our income quite substantially. Also, since the mega-corp did NOT offer an "exit plan" - that is, a guaranteed assignment back in the United States at the conclusion of a fixed period of time, repatriation could very well be out of pocket and it would probably be substantial.

Do I have regrets? Absolutely not. The positions offered probably would not have been a good career progression and in both cases, were turnaround situations that did not go well.

If I would have accepted those positions, I doubt that I would have been in a position to retire at age 53.

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Re: Living Abroad - Who's done it?

Post by gotester2000 » Fri Jun 15, 2018 11:01 am

OP,

Go ahead and live in a foreign country - the experience is life changing and aid your personal growth. Do not feel guilty about parents - the other side of it is not being able to do things one wishes to do(in a good way) as one ages.
On another note, if you spend some time in a third world country you will appreciate all things that life has provided you.

frugalprof
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Re: Living Abroad - Who's done it?

Post by frugalprof » Fri Jun 15, 2018 2:19 pm

Yes, took my family for my sabbatical in 2016. You can read about the decision making process I went through here: viewtopic.php?t=159898

It was an amazing experience. We were able to rent out our house while we were gone and a neighbor collected our mail for us. We left one of our cars with my parents and the other one at a dealership for free (we knew the owner). The one thing I would consider carefully is access to bank accounts. We had some problems with accessing our US bank accounts from overseas that had to do with the security protocols of the school system we were using. I eventually had to contact my parents and have them access our accounts. Something to think about.

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M_to_the_G
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Re: Living Abroad - Who's done it?

Post by M_to_the_G » Sat Jun 16, 2018 5:07 am

HongKonger wrote:
Fri Jun 15, 2018 4:36 am
There are Brits Abroad, and then there are expats. The gentlemen you reference was the former. Culture shock - within Europe, purlease. Living in other countries certainly isn't for everyone but you know pretty quickly if it suits you or not.
In fact, one can experience culture shock in one's own country, never mind continent. I don't agree that one necessarily will know quickly if living abroad suits one or not; some people experience an initial hump but tough it out and eventually find their new environs grow on them tremendously.
"It’s basically the plot of 'Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.' If you stick around, doing nothing, while everyone around you ****s up, you’re going to win big." - John Oliver

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Re: Living Abroad - Who's done it?

Post by HongKonger » Sat Jun 16, 2018 9:21 am

M_to_the_G wrote:
Sat Jun 16, 2018 5:07 am
HongKonger wrote:
Fri Jun 15, 2018 4:36 am
There are Brits Abroad, and then there are expats. The gentlemen you reference was the former. Culture shock - within Europe, purlease. Living in other countries certainly isn't for everyone but you know pretty quickly if it suits you or not.
In fact, one can experience culture shock in one's own country, never mind continent. I don't agree that one necessarily will know quickly if living abroad suits one or not; some people experience an initial hump but tough it out and eventually find their new environs grow on them tremendously.
Cultural variations, yes. But lets please reserve the shock for full on unrecognisability. By quickly, I mean if you desperately want to visit ''home'' before even a year is up (I don't term a year as really living somewhere - its more of an extended holiday). Maybe for those on a defined term posting it is different though, I move to other countries without anything, including work, predetermined as have done all the long term expats who make up my friends. But I also don't have a concept of home or affinity with any particular place - there is simply the place where I currently reside, and those I have resided in previously.

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M_to_the_G
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Re: Living Abroad - Who's done it?

Post by M_to_the_G » Sat Jun 16, 2018 11:10 am

HongKonger wrote:Cultural variations, yes. But lets please reserve the shock for full on unrecognisability.
What you're thinking of isn't culture shock -- perhaps you mean outright shock. Culture shock is a longer-term process and usually begins with a "honeymoon" period, and it doesn't have to involve a place radically different from your home.
HongKonger wrote:By quickly, I mean if you desperately want to visit ''home'' before even a year is up (I don't term a year as really living somewhere - its more of an extended holiday).
You are describing the vast majority of people who have lived abroad long-term. Most of them end up having a positive experience after some initial difficulty and adjusting. I agree that one year isn't really "long-term." It's much more than a vacation, though.
HongKonger wrote:Maybe for those on a defined term posting it is different though, I move to other countries without anything, including work, predetermined as have done all the long term expats who make up my friends.
You are describing a small minority of people who have lived abroad long-term. Most people do not normally pick up and move to another country for an indeterminate amount of time with nothing settled in advance. I admit, I admire such people on some level and, in fact, know many myself. They tend to be interesting people, so I don't blame you for the proclivity.
HongKonger wrote:But I also don't have a concept of home or affinity with any particular place - there is simply the place where I currently reside, and those I have resided in previously.
Not Hong Kong?
"It’s basically the plot of 'Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.' If you stick around, doing nothing, while everyone around you ****s up, you’re going to win big." - John Oliver

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GerryL
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Re: Living Abroad - Who's done it?

Post by GerryL » Sat Jun 16, 2018 3:36 pm

I spent most of my youth pretty footloose. Worked as an au pair in Paris a couple of time for almost two years. Five years in Air Force ending up in Germany and transitioning to another au pair post near Munich. Then to Hawaii to finish college and from there a couple of years living in Japan. Didn't really "settle down" with a steady job until I was well into my 30s.

Now that I'm retired I'm enjoying lots of travel but also returning to my cozy, paid-off house. I'm looking forward to my 3rd month-long trip to France in four years. I have thought about moving to France, which is even on some lists of "great places to retire to," but have decided that I don't really want to "start over" in a new location. So I have been giving some thought to a long-term stay, say 3-6 months, if I can find something compelling to do while there.

If you've never done it before and plan as well as you can for the negative as well as the positive aspects of the experience, I would encourage you to take the leap -- with your eyes wide open.

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Re: Living Abroad - Who's done it?

Post by killjoy2012 » Sat Jun 16, 2018 5:09 pm

If you can pull it off, I'd do it. Beware that even if you can work remote, Spain is +6 hours from EST, so I'd assume you'd need to be willing to work 2-11pm or something like that. South America would be easier from a time zone perspective. You also need to thoroughly check out the immigration rules, esp since it sounds like your company doesn't have a presence in your destination country and therefore cannot sponsor you. Many countries have very strict immigration rules for non-company sponsored expats...

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Rocco Sampler
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Re: Living Abroad - Who's done it?

Post by Rocco Sampler » Sat Jun 16, 2018 6:28 pm

There is no other experience to match living in another country. I have been on extended trips to many countries, lived in another country for two years and have a home in South America that I visit frequently. The friendships I have with “foreigners” have been some of the best of my life. I adopted all the different ways of doing and seeing things that are superior. I learned to not make judgements quickly because there are other points of view and experiences. I appreciate other types of music and food and when I see Africans, Canadians, Spaniards or Colombians on TV or in person I feel kinship and trust. When gone, I sometimes lost my sense of American-ness and was awestruck by the might and capability of the US when reading about a space shuttle launch, an aircraft carrier, or a craft landing on Mars. I also had my faith in humanity bolstered by the pure decency and charity of some of the poorest I encountered. And many other things.

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Re: Living Abroad - Who's done it?

Post by IthinkICan » Sat Jun 16, 2018 9:37 pm

I just have to say again how much I've enjoyed reading these responses!

Excellent points about legal immigration processes/costs, foreign taxes, extra paperwork for US taxes, banking complications, etc. We've been following immigration requirements for the locations we're considering along with import rules for new residents. They seem to change a little every year. Spain would be the most expensive both for immigration and taxes. They tax world wide income. I do think working the US TZ from there would be a challenge. Maybe as we sock more money away, we could live there someday and not have to work at all.

I checked with the broker that holds the bulk of our savings. As long as we remain US citizens, we can continue to invest with them from several countries. I think keeping credit cards and a US bank account could be more of a challenge. This needs some research.

I've heard there can be a chicken and egg thing with getting health insurance in the country and getting temporary residency status. The expat forums have all recommended working with an attorney or gestor to help things move along more smoothly. They also recommended the same before signing a lease.

As for moving again in the future, we're lucky that we have a decent amount of savings and could afford to move on if needed.

HongKonger
Posts: 1079
Joined: Tue Jun 21, 2011 10:35 am
Location: Deep in the Balkans

Re: Living Abroad - Who's done it?

Post by HongKonger » Sun Jun 17, 2018 4:14 am

M_to_the_G wrote:
Sat Jun 16, 2018 11:10 am
HongKonger wrote:Cultural variations, yes. But lets please reserve the shock for full on unrecognisability.
What you're thinking of isn't culture shock -- perhaps you mean outright shock. Culture shock is a longer-term process and usually begins with a "honeymoon" period, and it doesn't have to involve a place radically different from your home.
HongKonger wrote:By quickly, I mean if you desperately want to visit ''home'' before even a year is up (I don't term a year as really living somewhere - its more of an extended holiday).
You are describing the vast majority of people who have lived abroad long-term. Most of them end up having a positive experience after some initial difficulty and adjusting. I agree that one year isn't really "long-term." It's much more than a vacation, though.
HongKonger wrote:Maybe for those on a defined term posting it is different though, I move to other countries without anything, including work, predetermined as have done all the long term expats who make up my friends.
You are describing a small minority of people who have lived abroad long-term. Most people do not normally pick up and move to another country for an indeterminate amount of time with nothing settled in advance. I admit, I admire such people on some level and, in fact, know many myself. They tend to be interesting people, so I don't blame you for the proclivity.
HongKonger wrote:But I also don't have a concept of home or affinity with any particular place - there is simply the place where I currently reside, and those I have resided in previously.
Not Hong Kong?
No - not Hong Kong. That was the country I resided in when I joined Bogleheads :happy Its not where I reside now and it isn't where I was born. What's funny is I'm not at all into travelling, never had itchy feet and hate change, lol.

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