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Old 04-07-2012, 01:41 PM
 
29 posts, read 29,656 times
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Hi all. My situation is a bit complex but I'll try to make it short: I work for an American IT company based in California. My job is in sales and I deal only with European customers. Communications with Europe, considering the 9-hour time difference, are difficult, and that's why my company might ship me there by the end of the year.

All the work will be done through email/phone, so my location wouldn't really matter, as long as I'm in Europe. My boss could push for England and Germany, simply because they're our largest markets and because I speak their languages (well I'm not fluent in German but I'm currently studying it and my boss knows about it).

This prompts me to the question: where to live? I'll list a few requirements, in order of importance:
  • excellent broadband and phone service
  • reasonable cost of living (my salary is pretty decent but it won't go as far when converted to Euros or other currencies)
  • relatively sunny climate (I don't mind cold temperatures or snow every now and then, as long as it's not cloudy/rainy everyday, and that's why I would take England, Ireland, and northern Europe out of the question)
  • medium to big city
  • close to a medium/big airport as I may have to travel and visit customers every now and then

Which place do you recommend? This might start as temporary (6 months there, 6 months in California) and then become permanent if successful.

Most likely I will have the last word on where to go. All my work will be done remotely and in English so I'm sure my boss won't care much where I am.

I was born and raised in a European country. I won't mention which one because I don't want to influence your recommendations. Of course I wouldn't mind going back there but I'd rather live in a new place for now.
I'm a 26-year old white male, single, straight. Night-life and ease of finding new friends will definitely be two aspects to consider.

Thanks a lot for your help and advices.

Last edited by marione; 04-07-2012 at 01:55 PM..
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Old 04-07-2012, 02:57 PM
 
697 posts, read 657,190 times
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London sounds like it's going to be too expensive, although it is a major IT hub. Paris is cheaper but still expensive, whilst Berlin is a bit too far north. Other viable options in terms of medium size cities include Frankfurt, Brussels, Zurich, Bern, Geneva, Vienna, Barcelona and Madrid. All very nice cities with nearby airports and good communications.
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Old 04-07-2012, 03:04 PM
 
Location: San Antonio/Houston
21,589 posts, read 23,714,857 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by marione View Post
(my salary is pretty decent but it won't go as far when converted to Euros or other currencies
I am afraid that every city already mentioned will be too expensive to live ( what your company is going to cover? housing? anything? )
I think Central Europe would be a better choice and more money when converted.
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Old 04-07-2012, 03:11 PM
 
2,679 posts, read 2,120,108 times
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just a comment, since you know what makes sense for you. The weather does not meet your stated desires most of the year, although it is beautiful. Just isn't California sunshine But am sure you can adjust. I did, and I am a southern girl but by my last year in Germany I was ready to buy a fur coat to cut that cold damp wind.

If you got somewhere Mediterranean that might meet your climate concerns and it would fit time zone wise, but if you have to travel - could the distance be an issue? Guess depends upon how you do business and your business needs.

But good luck, sounds like you have a great boss and a good opportunity.
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Old 04-07-2012, 03:12 PM
 
Location: God's Gift to Mankind for flying anything
3,464 posts, read 5,053,051 times
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Based in California, makes it clear that you are used to a large town environment.
Since you opted out of the British Isles area, I suggest Frankfurt as a start.

You have the freedom to move about at will, due to your work environment situation, so you can move somewhere else at any time.

With so many European clients, I am surprised your company does not have already a European satellite, unless you will be the one creating it.

For a more scenic location, still in Germany, I would choose somewhere around Munich.

Where are the majority of your *clients* located ?
Traveling in Europe, due to its *individual country size* and proximity of towns, is often easier by car, then by air.
We lived in Bavaria (near Munich), and had a client near Zuerich, Switzerland. It was actually faster to go by car than to go by air ...
So ... , living about centered between *all* you clients would be efficient.

When you do get there, contact me privately on how to change your American Drivers permit into a German one the easy way !
Do not think, you can live in Europe without a car in your situation.

Your German language study will speed up when you get there !
Internet connections in Europe are on the average way better than some areas in the USA.

What about moving to The Netherlands ?
I would stay away form North Germany.
Flat, windy and rainy ...
Ruhr Area = Too industrialised (bad air quality)

Just make sure you are not too far from a major airport !
We lived 50 Km from Munich and in 8 plus years only had twice a problem of getting to Munich due to snow conditions. I was *on the road* three days a week, on the average.

Legal stuff.
- Anybody at your company familiar with *European* (which country ?) tax laws ?
Some countries have agreements with USA tax situations like Social Security etc.
- Health Insurance ?
Way better than in the USA !! Remember the letters AOK.
- Car Insurance ?
Get insurance first, then get the car ! In Germany, no license unless you have insurance proof.
Owning a BMW or Mercedes is like owning a mid end GM car in the USA.
Most all taxicabs there are Mercedes !!!
Learn about *VollKasko*.
USAA, does have a European counter part.
Same people who will insure your car insurance are also OK for private Home Insurance (Renters Insurance).

Good luck, and have fun living and working there.
You have a lot of Homework to do still !

One last thing:
Make sure you have a clause in your Work Contract that you can return to the USA (all expenses paid) if you *hate it there* !!!
Never say never !!!

Last edited by irman; 04-07-2012 at 03:31 PM..
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Old 04-07-2012, 03:19 PM
 
29 posts, read 29,656 times
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Thanks for your prompt replies. I may be asking too much, but could you please specify the reason of your recommendation(s)?

Also I'd like to clarify that money shouldn't be a big problem. I'm pretty sure I can live quite comfortably almost everywhere in Europe.
Keep in mind that I'm young and single, so I don't need a big house. Actually I will be happy with just a room in a house share, which is what I'm doing now. That's what everyone does here to be honest, even those who make six figures.

Yet I'm asking for a relatively affordable place because I know everyday expenses will be much higher in Europe. Also things like gas, clothing, eating out, electronics are significantly cheaper here so I'm budgeting accordingly.

Last edited by marione; 04-07-2012 at 03:40 PM..
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Old 04-07-2012, 03:30 PM
 
29 posts, read 29,656 times
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@theoldnorthstate & irman
I'm definitely considering Germany for its central location, its importance to our business, and the fact that I could get better with my German. However that's a big country and I still wouldn't know where to head.

The company I work for is pretty small - that's why we have no presence in Europe. I may be the one who will facilitate the opening of a new office, who knows.

Nobody familiar with European laws here but they'll definitely consult with an attorney at the right time. I don't really expect any benefits like car or housing. Meetings will clients will only happen sporadically so I won't need a car for work. And this would really be my choice to move to Europe. I've been the one initiating this to my boss, so I'm not in the position to ask for "relocation incentives".
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Old 04-07-2012, 03:56 PM
 
Location: God's Gift to Mankind for flying anything
3,464 posts, read 5,053,051 times
Reputation: 2232
Comments inserted

Quote:
Originally Posted by marione View Post
@theoldnorthstate & irman
I'm definitely considering Germany for its central location, its importance to our business, and the fact that I could get better with my German. However that's a big country and I still wouldn't know where to head.

I gave you two locations as a start. Frankfurt or Munich due to the presence of a large Airport in both cases.

The company I work for is pretty small - that's why we have no presence in Europe. I may be the one who will facilitate the opening of a new office, who knows.

Definitively a very good reason to get in touch with a lawyer, very familiar with European laws ! You are not *just visiting*, but conducting a *Business Venture*!

Nobody familiar with European laws here but they'll definitely consult with an attorney at the right time.

I don't really expect any benefits like car or housing. Meetings will clients will only happen sporadically so I won't need a car for work.

The last thing you want to do, is being *couped up* in your place of abode. You WILL want to explore Europe, and this is THE chance to do it at your leisure. Getting a car is not that big of a hassle in Germany. Just a few rules to adhere to and you are set. Unless your company provides you with transportation, they are not benefits per sť. Do NOT *lease* a car there !! But if you want to drive somewhere once and a while, then rent one !
True, the public transportation system is not half bad in Germany, but still, a car is a nice thing to have, to move about at will.

And this would really be my choice to move to Europe. I've been the one initiating this to my boss, so I'm not in the position to ask for "relocation incentives".

I do NOT mean initial relocation incentives, but I am speaking of getting stuck there, when you want to get back, just in case ...
So if you do not get some guarantee, then make sure you have sufficient funds to get back home. I said *never say never* ...

Have a passport already ? If not, do also get the wallet card one. If you loose your *book* type, easy to get a new one with the wallet card (again, never say never ...)

When ready to go, make copies of *all* your required legal documents, you *may* need, to prove who you are (like birth certificate), health conditions, prescriptions you rely on, etc.

Need more info ? DM if you like to.
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Old 04-07-2012, 05:18 PM
 
29 posts, read 29,656 times
Reputation: 10
thanks a lot irman. very helpful inputs.
The legal aspect does not worry me. My company will definitely get all the legal advise needed.
I'm considering northern Germany a bit more than southern Germany as I know the German they speak down there could be quite difficult to understand, even for natives, let alone for me. I believe the German spoken in Berlin or Frankfurt would be easier to understand and with less dialect influence.
Additionally while my work is in sales, my studies focused on finance, and Frankfurt is one of the world's most important financial hubs. Like you said, never say never.

I have a passport and I'm still a citizen of a European country. Glad I won't have to worry about that part.

You mentioned you lived near Munich. Are you still in Germany? Are you German to begin with?
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Old 04-07-2012, 06:02 PM
 
1,651 posts, read 683,366 times
Reputation: 286
Alright I might be a little biased here but what I am saying is true. If you are in the whole technology or you do something involving the internet then you might be put in Dublin as Dublin is the fastest growing European city for major internet and technology companies. Facebook, Google, Twitter etc... You can get a nice house or apartment in the city or you could go for a country house in the country and work in the city. Its what a lot of people do. The broadband and phone here is getting better and better as the months go on. I am on 35 mb on my internet and living in the city. Dublin airport is a lovely airport with its new terminal and everything and it has a lot of potential. Where would you have to go for business. It is about 2 hours from Berlin, 50 minutes from London, 2:30 minutes from Barcelona and then its the closet international airport to the US on the continent of Europe. All the high tech cities in Europe are in the northern Europe and you are not going to get California sort of weather anywhere in north Europe. Paris is a kip. London is a huge city which can get very cold. Dublin is a medium sized city with a lot of parks and Berlin is a big city with a lot of parks. Brussels is nice too. Hope this helps. If you have any questions just ask
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