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Should I move my family abroad? Where?
December 19, 2003 7:10 AM   Subscribe

Round 2 - On Wednesday I posted a question asking about living outside the US. In the responses, I got scolded for not providing enough background for people to offer good advice. Here's the original question: "I've been thinking about exposing myself and the family to the salutory benefits of living overseas (we live in the US now). The key question, of course, is where? I've heard some people speak reverently of New Zealand, but have never been there myself. Your suggestions and reasoning behind them would be welcome...
"
with the crucial [more inside] tag

We aren't independently wealthy, so making the doubloons is an issue. I have been a naval officer and a web developer/config manager/project sheperd, although I am considering a return to university to pick up either a GIS degree or a Forestry degree, possibly both. Neither of us speak a foreign language fluently, although a long time ago my Spanish was passable. As far as climate goes, we live in mid-atlantic region of the US, and we like having 4 seasons. I think we're prolly limited to 1st world since we've got kids and would be worried about medical care.

As far as reasons go, I guess I am thinking about perspective. I've lived here in the US all my life, and haven't travelled all that much. I like to think that there are many good qualities the US has, but also have recently been deeply disappointed in my government and (as I see it) a creeping tendency towards facism (I know that's overstating the case, and I dont want to start any political fights, but I do worry about this kind of thing). I think it would be good to live somewhere else for a while to provide some concrete examples by which to compare the nation of my birth. Ditto for my kids.

As an aside, do you think there is an optimal age range for the kids - ours are young 2 and 6, and I want them to remember this and for it to be a useful part of their upbringing. Since my wife and I are both talking about going back to the university for retreading, it might be a couple of years before this can come together. If it takes us 6 years to get us both through school, the kids'll be 8 and 12, which seems like a good time to me.
posted by Irontom to Human Relations (6 answers total)
 
Avoid Ireland, our infrastructure is poor, cost of living is high, property prices insane, 'culture' sadly alco-centric...... sense of community is dying, 10 years ago I would have been singing its praises, but since the ecomony expanded in the last decade it has lost its charm.

Sorry for using your question as an excuse to rant but, I think you should rule the Emerald Isle out ..... begosh and begorrah!
posted by kenaman at 7:41 AM on December 19, 2003


Perhaps the Netherlands - the people are among the most tolerant in the world, in the major cities and in the workplace most people speak english, yet you can learn Dutch or other languages. It is a great jumping off point for you to begin your next stage of life as an expat. Having lived and worked there for almost a year (and also lived & worked in England, France, and Greece), I can recommend it highly. The Dutch also have sort of values that I would want to teach my (theoretical) children.
posted by zia at 8:33 AM on December 19, 2003


Zia, for those of us us who don't speak Netherland-ese or Dutch, how severe is the language barrier?
posted by theora55 at 12:19 PM on December 19, 2003


it took me two years to learn (-ish) it, without attending more than 6 classes. I was a slow learner, my Norweigian colleague picked it up in 10 months flat on her own. English people that I knew there didn't speak dutch after many years, one had lived there for 13 and didn't know a word. "why should I bother? I don't need to learn it." he figured.
posted by dabitch at 12:56 PM on December 19, 2003


I'm told by Dutch colleagues that the attitudes of people in Amsterdam can vary strongly from those elsewhere in the Netherlands, and that non-amsterdammers are much less laid back/liberal. Does anyone have experience of this.
As I mentioned in the other thread English is very common in Amsterdam.
posted by biffa at 3:47 AM on December 20, 2003


Sounds to me like Western Europe is your best bet; I'm not sure how much it matters where exactly you live (except in details of red tape &c), because once you're there you can get anywhere else quickly and easily. (My brother and his wife life in Vienna and seem to spend half their time in France, Italy, and Spain.) I'd recommend somewhere other than England so that your kids can pick up another language, one of the best gifts you can give them -- not to mention the whole experience of growing up with more than one perspective on the world. That's how I grew up (though on the other side of the world), and I'm grateful for it every day. Keep us posted on your decision! (You can start an AskMeFi thread "We've decided to move to City; anybody know how to find a good apartment?")
posted by languagehat at 12:05 PM on December 21, 2003


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