Living & Working in Europe: 2007
Actually living and working in Europe can be a great form of travel. But how do you find a good job overseas? Do you know of any helpful books or websites for Americans who want to live or work in Europe? Share your thoughts here.
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work and healthcare in Italy
I actually agree with JJ. What happens is that most people, at least in Italy, Spain and France, take home only about 40% to 50% of what they earn. However, many people get paid 15 months for 12 months of work, in Italy 30 days holiday. All of my meds are free as are doctor visits unless I chose to see a private doctor. I have never had long waits either. However, while the maternity leave is great for women, it is true that when a woman goes on leave, other workers pick up the slack, OR a young person is offered a terrible short term contract. As well, for women in their 30s it is DIFFICULT to find work for a good company, because even though it is illegal for employers to ask about family life and your marital status, they will often discriminate against women in this age group based on the fear of hiring a person and them leaving the minute they get their contract. the problem in Italy is that many people really abuse the system, making it bad for people who actually work. I live and work in Italy, but I am married, so I dont have to do all the illegal jobs like teaching english andf tour guiding. It doesnt matter anyway, at least for tour guiding here. It is run by the Mafia and they dont recognize American Univeristy degrees since the EU passed a law saying the tour licence in Italy was not standard to the EU, and that EU members with the appropriate degree have the right to work as guides(I mean in Art History, Archeology, or the classics) Italy is really one of the most corrupt places. So unless you are young and just want an adventure, I suggest avoiding the place. Most people between 25-40 make about 1200-1500 a month yet living expenses are very high.
florence, LO ITALY Tue 01/01/2008
I disagree with JJ also. With my experience of the health care in the UK and with friends that live in the UK. My husband and daughter both had to be seen at a hospital (different trips) and we have never paid one cent. Our British friends say they don't have to pay doctor, hospital and only pay for certain meds.
USA Sat 12/29/2007
to JJ about health care in Europe
I don't agree with you JJ, or i just agree partially. In Europe they pay about 3-4% of the salary to the healthcare system, but then when they go to the doctor is FREE.Som of the meds are also free. In the US we pay big bucks for the insurance which in many cases doesn't cover 100%.You might have deductable, or not inclused service. A good movie about this is SICKO
Cleveland, OH USA Mon 12/17/2007
Working in Europe
For recent college grads it is possible to be placed as an English language assistant in a European secondary school. The program is one of several sponsored by the U.S. gov't under the auspices of the Fulbright Commission. For example, my daughter had a great year in France, teaching 12 hours/week, getting an apartment (shared), and a stipend. She was also able to take classes for free at a local university. Google Fulbright programs to find out exact details.
USA Tue 12/11/2007
Has anyone done the wwoof program (www.wwoof.org)? You work for room and board in organic farms around the world. I have been contemplating trying this in France but I'm skeptic of going to the middle of nowhere where I might find myself incommunicated, and wonder if this is a scam as well.
Or do you recommend any other program for someone willing to take some risk.
USA Sat 12/08/2007
I know several teachers who have gotten jobs working as civilians in the DODDS schools on military bases in Europe and Asia. The military will pay to move you over, you get an ID card so you have access to shopping and the post office on the base, and you get to live overseas while working. The downside is that you're making dollars and traveling on Euros but if you travel economically it can be done.
Mannheim, Germany Tue 11/06/2007
Work Adventures in Europe!
When I got to Greece and started volunteering at a Wildlife Sanctuary (on the island of Paros, where I stayed for free!!), it was the 6th country Id worked in if you include the USA, and when I returned home 7 months later after venturing through the rest of Europe, Id also worked in Italy and Spain too. The problem for Americans is that youre probably not gonna be able to make money and work the legal way in Europe unless you posess some sort of EU passport, or are part of the commonwealth of Candada, Australia, and New Zealand. But there are sooo many (I could sit here forever typing and typing about all of them) work adventures ALL OVER EUROPE where you can have a blast living and working with them for free, with your room and board completely covered. In Europe alone, I stayed on two Greek islands working: one at an amazing wildlife sanctuary, and another at this crazy backpacker party resort. In Italy, I stayed in the most picturesque mountain village built into the hills, overlooking the lights of Nice and Monnaco at night, while helping to maintain the village during the day. I also worked on an organic farm right in the heart of gorgeous Tuscany, where I was really able to find innerpeace, learn about wine, dream away the day inside the grape vineyards, etc. And then in Spain, I participatd in a one-week Engish language for Spaniards program where we had a blast and did nothing but speak English, play games, etc., while staying in this beautiful (and free) Spanish villa way out in the hills. Theres so much to see and do in life and people spend too much time worrying how to make money doing it. Just get out there and live your passions, even if you have to go broke doing it!
Monroe, WA USA Wed 10/17/2007
I did live and work in europe for a little while. It was a great experience however there are misconceptions such as that europe has "free" healthcare. After paying the taxes, the healthcare is not free but quite expensive, just like the US. You just pay a different way, that's all. Also, while long vacations and year long maternity/paternity leaves for both men/women sound good, the people left behind have to do the extra work. Just something to think about.
USA Tue 10/16/2007
If you're uncertain about working in Europe, try a TEFL course on for size. Because you're living in a city and are constantly busy on the course, you can get a feel for life outside of the tourist realm. I taught English in Prague and loved it, although Kate is right - the taxes are higher, although this depends on the school at which you teach. If you're like me, though, and traveled abroad without health insurance, finding a school that offers Czech health insurance was important. For example, all of my blood tests were free and I got a three-month prescription filled for 40 cents.
My parents did the TEFL course in Prague, as well, and stayed for three months. What a great chance to see a fabulous city from a completely different lens!
Try teflworldwideprague.com for a great TEFL course.
TN USA Sun 10/07/2007
There are a lot of good reasons to work in Europe. It's a different life and not for everyone, but has a lot to recommend it. Taxes are higher, but you get a lot for them even if you aren't a citizen. Long term benefits like pensions and free education can sometimes only be earned after a set period of residence, but most benefits are available to all legal residents - citizens or not. Where medical care is socialized, it's almost always available free to all residents. Other benefits accrue once you've been resident long enough to qualify for permanent residence and/or a passport.
And work benefits are generally much better in Europe - often you start with twice as much vacation time as a comparable job in the US, there's guaranteed maternity leave of up to a year depending on the country (and usually two weeks or more for the father) and average working hours are shorter.
Scotland Mon 08/27/2007
work in europe?
anyone from the U.S. who wants to work in europe needs to have their head examined. 50-70% total tax rates? anyone who fogs a mirror qualifies for some sort of welfare givaway (except you, the non-citizen of course).
Retire there or at least spend time there in retirement on and off. Maybe. But work (and pay their taxes)? no thanks.
USA Thu 08/16/2007
I would NOT overstay a tourist visa. These days with increased security issues, immigration is getting very strict and the penalty for getting caught can be very severe. It could prevent you from ever being allowed to enter the EU again.
Your passport IS scanned each time you enter (and sometimes exit) from the EU and/or Schengen Union, and they will stop you if you've overstayed. Most countries are also requiring biometric passports and visas, so it's very easy to spot people who overstay after entering on a legal passport.
Ditto for working illegally. Doing so not only flouts the law, it harms those of us who spend time and money working/studying legally - the more money they have to spend taking care of overstayers and illegal workers, the more they raise the fees for persons on legal visas. And we do resent having to pay for selfish people who can't be bothered to obey the law.
As to entering or leaving the EU/Schengen Union - after 3 (or 6 months in some countries) you must leave the whole Schengen Union for, I think, at least 180 days before entering again.
UK Thu 08/02/2007
Working in France
First of all I beleive in being 103% researched and approach the whole thing with: If I do find a job, cool! If I dont, meh! I read about so many people who just sell everthing and head off to Europe thinking they will wing it when they get there. If you have less than 6 mos. I would look for work but not rely on it. Gone are the days when "english" was needed and working in the black was done (see note below). Now with many a willing Britons flocking over and not to mention immigration problems and competition, most employers, even small foreign ones don't want the hassle or the worry about hiring an illeagal foreigner. That being said, it is still being done, and it is the way I have worked and traveled for the last 11 years. A couple of notes though:
1. I am assuming that most reading this are a.)American and b.) not looking for a job transfer with a professional company (that really is the best way.)
2. Psst.. I didn't tell you this but don't worry about your tourist visa. I lived in France for 2 years on tourist Visa, no one ever cared I mean who are they to know if you crossed the border or not. Yes you need a l.t. visa for finding a house officially but it's just as easier to find a sublet or room to share. 5 Years of working and living in France and I never needed a visa.
3. Can you interview in the language, No, then unless you are working for English speakers in a business for english speakers don't plan on finding a normal job. and Bi-lingual means Fluent/native speakers.
4. Scrungy backpackers need not apply, even in their grubbies Europeans dress better than your average 20-30 year old so keep that in mind.
5. Teaching English is sketchy at best. If you do land a true job it won't pay the rent, and you probably will be forced to shell out a lot for expences. In western Europe English is taught in grade school, it's possible but don't rely on it.
That being said here is(from my experience, mostly France) some of your best bets.
* Are you a true club scener? Can you network and talk your way into any situation, situations with tight social circles and that rely on networking is a good way to get your foot in the door.
*Small entrepreneurship, start your own business. Lawn care, weeding, dog walking, cooking, scrapbooking, courier, web page building, personal shopper; you name it. Babysitting and teaching English are over saturated. But if you have a unique skill use it.
*Go to where there are large conclaves of English speakers the community there will probably have more contacts.
*Hospitality industry - private yachts (my start), barge crew, chalet hosts etc.. (Keep in mind that this is a very competitive industry and requires some sort of training and certification (which can be obtained for a fee)
*Networking within the trades - Once when i was staying in Paris I approached some good restaurants saying that I wanted to swap conversation English/French about food ( I am a chef). I had a couple of takers and really improved my professional French. Well then I got into a P___g contest, as chefs are wont to do, and next thing you know I was proving that I could cook, despite being a woman and an american. Next thing, I was being asked to cover this shift, help with prep here, then there. etc....
*Last but not least marriage/PACS-ing. Even then it is not immediate. You have to apply for a work visa (in most countries). I have been told on other boards by several people that you can get a work visat(in France) with a PACS. I have no first hand knowledge of that.
I am sure that many people will have contradictory experiences and knowledge. Hopefully this provides one view.
Olympia, WA USA Sun 07/15/2007
After your 3 months are up on a tourist's visa can't you just leave the country for a weekend or so and get it renewed on the way back in, or does it have to be a longer period of time than a couple of days?
CA USA Sat 07/14/2007
If you are a full-time teacher, k thru community college, you may be eligible for a Fulbright Exchange, sponsored by the U.S. government. Exchanges are for six weeks, a semester, or a full year. Most of the positions are in Europe; but there some in Africa and Latin America, as well. For a booklet giving all the details, e-mail: email@example.com. My husband and I agree that we never had a more enjoyable year than the one we spent in London when I did an exchange there.
Berkeley, CA USA Fri 07/13/2007
I emigrated to Czech
I am Ukrainian and just emigrated to Czech Republic. Its great!!! I studied Czech language for 3 months on language courses 5 hours each day and then found a job as receptionist in hotel. Really happy. if you have any questions write me to firstname.lastname@example.org
Praha, Columb USA Tue 06/12/2007
I don't think your plans are going to work. As a tourist, you are limited to 3 months within the Schengen Union (basically Western Europe except the UK and Ireland) - your passport is stamped and swiped at your 'port' of entry, so they can tell if you overstay. After that you must leave for set period of time (several months I think). You can do 6 months in the UK and possibly six months in another EU country if you get an extended tourist visa before you leave.
Any job MUST be secured before you go to Europe because work permits have to applied for by the employer, and often then an additional residency permit secured, before you leave the US (the cost of which can be $500-1000). In addition, employers cannot give you a job unless there is no EU citizen who can fill the job. Which means that you have to have specialized skills and be worth the extra hassle- any entry level jobs will go to EU citizens without a doubt. Working without a work permit is illegal and these days the punishments can be very strict. There are programs for students just out of university, but you don't always have a lot of choice as to where your placement will be.
As to expense - especially if you are on an extended tourist visa, since you cannot work, you will be expected to show a proof of enough money to cover all living, medical, food etc. expenses for the duration of your trip. Remember that the dollar is very weak in Europe - you'd need to check with someone living in the country you intend to live in to find out about living expenses and the ease of getting housing/bank account.
Thus I think you will need to re-consider your plans. Depending on where you friend will be (Italy? France?), 3 months is probably going to be the longest you can live there, and only if you have a fair amount of savings.
Scotland Sat 05/26/2007
Working In Europe
You can apply on the www.usajobs.com website for US Government jobs overseas. Myself, I was in the US Army and spent over 3 years in Europe.
Mountain Top, PA USA Thu 05/10/2007
some advice please...
ok...I have a friend that is going to europe for basketball(We are from the states). My friends and I are going to do the entourage thing and live with him, ect. I have some quick questions if anyone can help. 1)What do you recommend on work permit? 2)How long is my passport good for in the EU? 3) If i am going for about 6-7 months..How much money will I need?
OC, CA USA Wed 05/09/2007
I would point out that almost all the opportunities on www.liveworkplay.com are for temporary working holiday visas for Australian/NZ citizens under the age of 30.
There are few such opportunities for Americans or for people looking for permanent work permit type work.
Scotland Wed 04/04/2007
How about volunteer work? World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms (WWOOF) allows people from all over the world to work on a farm in exchange for free room and board. Check out their website: www.wwoof.org
Oakland, CA USA Sat 03/24/2007
Military Spouse Employment
FOr military spouses stationed abroad the rules for employment vary by country. In Italy you may purchase a work visa prior to entering the country. The traditional no-fee visa used by military spouses (Entering/Living in Italy) will enable the ability to work ONLY in US government jobs. Employment in the local economy is not allowed without the purchase of a standard work visa. To find US Government jobs for military spouses you can go to http://usajobs.gov.
Italy Mon 03/19/2007
Living & Working in Europe
I found a great website www.liveworkplay.com that has a visa section advising who can obtain a working holiday visa in which European countries.
USA Sun 03/18/2007
For any work permit (working visa), you will have to check with country in which you want to work for the regulations. Most countries have very informative websites.
At least in the UK - and I presume in most countries - the company for which you are working must apply for the work permit - you can't do that on your own. So work permits are tied to a specific job and are for the length of the contract.
And as a non-EU citizen, you will only be considered if no EU applicant has the right skills for the job. Thus you're starting off at a disadvantage, but the level of that disadvatage depends on your professional skills and the needs of various countries.
So first you need to find a job...and unfortunately until you find someone who will hire you and get the work permit, there's not much you can do. Thus the best way to begin is to research where you want to live, then start looking for job ads and apply for jobs.
Scotland Wed 01/17/2007
Working visa - if you have a UK passport (i.e. you are a UK citizen), you can work in any EU country. However, I don't know whether there are additional steps if you aren't a UK resident, in particular with regards to medical coverage. If you've not lived in the UK, you don't qualify for NHS health coverage, and thus I don't think for reciprocal care in other countries. All of us who live here can request EU Medical cards to show if we need medical care in the EU outside the UK, but I think you have to be resident in an EU country to request one since your home country reimburses the cost. So you might want to inquire about your eligibility/coverage in the EU and whether Australia has reciprocal arrangements with any countries - I'm pretty sure the do for at least the UK and Denmark.
Long trip -- As posted on the main forum, you can only stay within the Schengen Region (all the EU except UK & Ireland) for three months total. It certainly is possible to arrange to be in the UK or Eastern Europe for a period of time (not sure how long you have to leave) for one month out of four to stay within the regulations. It's vital to make sure that your passport is stamped when you first enter the Schengen region and when you leave the Schengen region so you have proof of the dates.
You can stay in the UK for up to six months on a US passport, but if you are going to be in Europe for at least three months, I think you would be well advised to find out whether you should get entry clearance (i.e. tourist visa) for the first country prior to leaving the US. You might also want to check the specific regulations for each countries because they do vary a bit.
Also, you will definately need to show very clear proof (bank statement) that you have enough funds to cover food, lodging, expenses and medical expenses for your entire trip. Especially for the UK, where they are very wary of what they call 'medical tourism', you should have proof of private medical insurance and if you have a pre-existing condition, proof of sufficient funds to cover any medication/treatment you will need.
It's also a very good idea to have your ticket home as proof when you will be leaving and that you will be leaving.
Have fun ya'll!
Scotland Tue 01/09/2007
hey all, just a quick question. if i have a dual australian/uk passport, does that mean i am elligable to work in EU countries or just the UK? i am hoping to live and work in Europe for about a year. cheers, in advance!
australia Mon 01/08/2007
Long Term Tourist Visa?
I'm a bit confused and haven't read all the down, but my husband and I are planning a multi-country trip to Europe lasting about 4 months. If we are only staying in a specific country for less than one month each, do we have to still apply for a long-term tourist visa?
Charlotte, NC USA Mon 01/08/2007