Moving to Europe from Canada

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Aug 27th, 2012, 02:17 PM
  #1
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Moving to Europe from Canada

I'm not really sure where to start looking and have used this forum fo travel and gotten great advice so I'm hoping there are some tips I can get. My husband and I are both right @ 30 yrs old and are both teachers living in Western Canada. I have always dreamed of living in Europe and would like to seriously start investigating what this would take.

Of course I think the easiest thing would be for both of us to get teaching jobs but I don't really know where to start looking, especially since we need two jobs in the same area. We also don't know how to start looking into things like cost of living vs salary, quality of live, etc in different areas. I think we'd like to move there permanently but I'm worried that it seems like it's very difficult to get visas in Europe long term (or even at all). Any suggestions on where to start getting this information?

We are vaguely leaning toward Spain, France, or warmer parts of the UK (lol, if that exists), but really have no idea.

Lastly, this might sound odd, but we have 3 cats who are like children to us and we would be bringing them along. I'd really like to move somewhere where they will have quality of life and a very minimal trauma in the move (as in little to no quarantine period).

Any information is very much appreciated.
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Aug 27th, 2012, 02:27 PM
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There no longer is a quarantine for bringing animals to Europe if you follow the right rules and get microchips for the animals. You can find this information on the internet for each country.

You should go to the consulate of the country where you would like to move -- but first you need to decide where to go! Different countries have different needs and salaries and different costs.

You are lucky you are both teachers so you can take long vacations. Maybe a good idea would be to join programs where you get a place to stay in exchange for working on a farm or volunteer to teach English. That way you could get to know different countries.

http://www.travelchannel.com/interes...-intern-abroad
stracciatella is offline  
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Aug 27th, 2012, 03:04 PM
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Some things to think about....
Language skills.
schengen agreement. or work permits.
Job skills.
Spain and France will not be warm 360 days a year.
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Aug 27th, 2012, 03:24 PM
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Yes, deciding on the country is the hardest part I think. Factors important to us are:

-quality of life/cost of living (having a decent place to live, pet friendly, money left over to travel...)
-weather (we would prefer a relatively warm climate but are used to insanely brutal winters so our meaning of warm is a winter with mild temperatures like -10C or better. (we are used to at least -25C)
-my husband only speaks English, I speak some French (but when we were in France it was clear how much I've forgotten). However, international schools tend to teach in English as I understand so that would help. Also, we are totally open to learning a new language but of course that would take some time.
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Aug 27th, 2012, 05:13 PM
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Since you are both teachers you might look into the option of getting a certificate for teaching English without knowing the local languages (immersion). Many companies are hiring people to do this on a crash basis (students are forced to learn) however, the jobs often provide a place to live and a small stipend - or a VERY low salary. And typically this would be in former eastern bloc countries.

Teaching anything without being completely fluent in the local language almost any place in western europe would be an extremely hard sell (since you would be competing with all Schengen members who wold get preference over Canadians).
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Aug 27th, 2012, 05:40 PM
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You might consider central / eastern Europe rather than the Schengen countries - I know several people from Australia who have settled in Prague and Budapest with relative ease, and the Budapest person has a dual Canadian / Australian passport. She teaches English to kindergarten children. I also know someone who got teaching work in Ukraine for a while, pretty easily. She teaches English too.

Lavandula
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Aug 27th, 2012, 06:28 PM
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nicbur, you are going to get some ugly posts on this. Just be prepared to ignore those posters!

I've been "working" on moving to Italy for over 2 years, the last 6 months in earnest. I have been to the Italian consulate office in Houston and learned some things regarding the different visas offered, etc.

I agree with the poster that said you should start there. You can check out the consulate websites of the different countries you are thinking about. The rules for each might help you determine where you want to shoot for.

I have four cats that I plan on taking with me to Italy. My research resulted in finding out that the EU has no quarantine for animals coming from the US, but you will have to check out the rules for Canadians. Additionally, many companies offer a service of getting your pets from door to door. I've estimated (if I do it myself) a cost of about $1200 to get my four cats from Dallas to Rome. I have also heard that (lucky for you!) Air Canada has one of the best reputations/records for moving pets overseas! Air France also has good blog. If you go with a service, be prepared to pay about 4x what it would cost you to do it yourself.

You might also want to find out if standard apartment rentals in the country you are looking at charge more for pets. I've had a number of "locals" in Italy explain that Italians do not ask about your pets nor do they have a fee to bring pets into your apartment. But I cannot account for any country other than Italy.

For jobs overseas, check Monster.com and LinkedIn.com.

I say go for your dreams!! There is no time like the present! Forget the nay-sayers who will post here. I'm behind you 100%!

Good luck!!!!
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Aug 27th, 2012, 07:45 PM
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Thanks sarge56!! I'm preparing for a long, drawn out process but praying we can make it happen This is probably a dumb question to those of you who mentioned that not knowing the local language could be an issue but here goes anyway: I was under the impression that international schools teach all subjects in English. Is that wrong? Or is it just difficult for foreigners to get jobs at internation schools?

Thanks for this great info so far! Everything helps!

Oh, the only issue about the consulate comments - we live in a small city (by US standards we're more like a small town) so we don't have any consulates here. The closest for most would be Toronto or Vancouver which are both a full day and costly plane ride(s) away so we couldn't visit them unfortunately. Do they usually give info over the phone?
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Aug 27th, 2012, 08:57 PM
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I don't know if all international schools teach in English or not, but you won't be able to make much headway living anywhere in Europe without a really decent command of the local language.

Yes, you can call the consulates (but why would you do that - consulates are where the embassy people live. Call the embassies!)
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Aug 27th, 2012, 09:45 PM
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OK, to be blunt, there is a lot of erroneous information in this thread. As experienced teachers, you have it a bit easier than other professionals. Most of the international schools´ teachers we know were hired through international recruitment fairs and January - February is a very busy time. Do a search on them. Here is one in Canada and I know that there is a very large one in NY. http://educ.queensu.ca/careers/torf.html

I would also recommend doing a search on international school reviews as those sites have forums where the international teachers congregate.

Also, when we hired a new director, we used a headhunter that specialized in overseas teaching opportunities. The schools will organize the visas and there is no need to learn the local language in advance.

Many of the international schools hire couples. I think at ours currently, there are probably at least 4 couples that work either in the elementary, Jr High or Senior, or any mix.

Look at ecis.org for listings of schools by city. Then, look at the schools' websites which generally have employment sections. Most will be a bit scant now as the hiring season has passed.

Finally, don´t be too choosy on where you go. Cultivate an attitude of adventure and have an open mind. Most teachers get a 3 year contract (roughly) and country/continent hop. Obviously, the competition would be stiffer for something like Paris, yet the quality of life could be much higher in Budapest (just examples). Also, don´t be too invested in a specific system. Think American, British or IB...many schools like a variety of nationalities teaching. I know the parents do!
good luck!
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Aug 28th, 2012, 01:24 AM
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Great advice from Slojan2, international schools are always on the lookout for teachers not just in Europe.

You definitely do not need to have a command of the local language and you can contact the consulates of countries if they are nearer to where you live rather than their Embassies or High Commissions
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Aug 28th, 2012, 01:35 AM
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Also as you say you are both 30, here's website that shows a lot of countries that provide 12 month work permits for Canadians

http://www.anyworkanywhere.com/whvcacit.html
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Aug 28th, 2012, 04:14 AM
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Whilst your job/working environment could/will be in English do not forget that everything esle will be in the local language. Things like tax returns, housing contracts, utility contracts etc. France does seem like your best bet given your language skills.
Reading Geordie’s post above and your age you have to act fast as there are age limits to obtaining a working visa.
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Aug 28th, 2012, 04:23 AM
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ribeirasacra, you are being too restrictive. The typical scenario is for the new teacher to take the local language lessons 2x/week on arrival. There is translation help available at the school for those times when more advanced skills are needed. This has been the norm in the six European countries I have lived in.
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Aug 28th, 2012, 04:27 AM
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In addition, I would guess that France is highly sought after and so, it may be more difficult to find a position than in a less popular spot. If nicbur really wants to go abroad, a wider net would probably be more efficient.
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Aug 28th, 2012, 05:58 AM
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Having just helped an English speaking neighbour with very little French find out about, and deal with her husband's probably pancreatic cancer, I HIGHLY recommend that you have language skills. Not everyone will speak English in most European countries, and there are always things that come up that need understanding of the local language.

Obviously translation help at an international school would be useful, but you may not always want to involve someone else in your personal life. (And as someone who brought 2 cats from Canada to France, I can assure you that not all vets speak English either.) Start studying as soon as you decide where you want to head. Community colleges, high schools, universities, all usually offer language classes, although for us, knowing we wanted to come to France, the Alliance Francaise was far and away the best - although also the most expensive.
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Aug 28th, 2012, 05:58 AM
  #18
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Thanks Slojan2! Very helpful advice and encouraging. This is something we want to potentially do long term so I certainly hope age won't be a factor in visas.
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Aug 28th, 2012, 06:04 AM
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What about a Fullbright teaching exchange for a year? Several friends have done that and loved it. Takes about a year for the process.
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Aug 28th, 2012, 06:08 AM
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I don't think you need to narrow down which country before you start research. Maybe there's places with great opportunities that you haven't even thought of.

I'd start first with looking into international teaching jobs to see what's out there. I'm no expert but can't you find basics like this on the internet or at the public library?

I have a friend of a friend who teaches in Egypt on renewable 2 year contracts. She took her cat when she moved and lives in a great apartment (seen photos). So certainly it can be done.

This is a sweepingly generalized statement, but you will have an easier time getting your paperwork for entry into the country if there is an employer who already is there wanting to hire you and guarantee work. Way different/better than trying to go as individuals planning to take up permanent residence without employment.
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