Presently, I am a college student who loves new experiences, learning, and traveling. All of these were brought together over my summer experience studying abroad. I enjoyed touring the six countries I went to in Europe-- Belgium, France, Switzerland, Germany, Austria, and Italy. I came upon the revelation today that I would actually like to live there for a year or two either after college or for graduate school. I was wondering if anyone knew how difficult this would be to do and what things I would need to do prior to going (how I would find a place to live, how I would attain a job, and things of that nature). Any monetary figures that you may know off hand would be lovely (that may be a bit of an absurd thing to ask) such as living expenses compared to here in the US. As far as work goes, I am an English major...so I don't know what my options would be being that I know little from other languages.
Are there any exchange programs or work study programs I could possibly go though?
You could always get a WHV (working Holiday Visa) which allows you to work in a certain country temporarily. I am not sure what countries the US has WHV agreements with, however I have an American friend who got a 6 month Irish working visa, so it is doable. You could get ones for various countries and spend your two years working your way across Europe! I personally used SWAP when I first went, which is convenient because they have an orientation session which explains everything about getting a job, accomodation, etc, however they are a Canadian organization. I *think* the organization my American friend used was called BUNAC, or had something with a 'B' in it, but I also believe they had an orientation.
Hold on, I may have found it by accident when clicking on ads...
Anyway, check it out. Working abroad is also a very rewarding experience because you get to experience a country as a local, which is a different perspective than as a traveller.
Thanks so much for that information. I looked into that Burnac site, and I found it quite helpful!
Personally I would recommend that you look into studying in Europe.
The USA has no WHV agreements aside from the Bunac program, it can therefore be very difficult to get a work permit.
The easiest long-term visa to get would be a student visa. On a student visa you are usually allowed to work part-time. Plus if you graduate from a European university you are given a chance to find a job and get a work permit to go with it. For a young person doing a degree at a European university is the best chance to live and work in Europe long-term.
So look into studying abroad for a semester or into doing your masters in Europe. This costs approx. 700 EUR per month
in Germany, less in Eastern Europe and more in the UK. For studying abroad in Germany you can look at www.daad.de.
And with an English major I would look into getting a formal degree in teaching. Not just a puny little TEFL (teaching english as a foreign language), but a real degree that would help you find a job as English teacher in the USA, either at a college or a highschool. With that you got good chances of being employed as English teacher in Europe, not just at a language school but at a real school or a university (which means better pay and more job security).
- working at a USAF base, mainly in Germany
- hopping over to Germany, trying to find a job based upon your qualifications. US-citizens are privileged under German immigration law, they do not have to apply for a residency and work permit in advance. You have 3 months after arrival to process the necessary papers, so if you manage to find a job within 2 months for which no German or other EU citizen is qualified and available you got a decent chance of getting a work and residency permit. Just one tip: I would not try to live on teaching English as a foreign language in Berlin, there are far too many English-speakers without a word of German there already.