I’ve received a bunch of questions, both here on the blog and in person, related to our decision to leave Switzerland for yet another expat adventure. Below are some of the most common. Think of this post as a serial expat FAQ.
Why do you keep moving? Don’t you want to settle down?
I always assumed I’d get the urge to settle down sooner or later, but so far that just hasn’t happened. If anything, the opposite has become true – each new city reinforces my love of living in new places. Daily life becomes an adventure when you’re somewhere new – new foods, shops, languages, restaurants, streets, and so on and so on. Yes, there are some negative aspects to a move (leaving behind friends, move logistics, etc.), but to me the stress is more than worth it for the chance to intimately get to know another new city and country. I’ve very, very lucky that my husband feels the same way.
Why leave? What’s wrong with Switzerland?
It’s not that there’s anything particularly wrong with Switzerland. Life here has its share of good points and bad points, just like anywhere else. We’re not leaving because of some intolerable situation, but more out of a desire to move on to something else. Overall we’ve really enjoyed our time in Switzerland, and it will always have a place in our heart. (Is that the sappiest thing I have ever said? I think it might be…)
How is it that you can work in Europe? Aren’t work permits hard to get?
Getting a job in a foreign country is not as hard as many people think, especially if you have certain qualifications (such as a degree in something useful – for example my husband is an engineer, and I have an MBA in international management) and are willing to be flexible. The legal process for an American looking to work in Europe is usually pretty painless*, as long as you can find a company that wants to hire you enough.
I could never live in a foreign country.** I have kids/ a gerbil/ rabies/ acute xenophobia/ lives to save/ asses to scratch/ something important going on in my life that you obviously don’t have.
Nobody’s asking you to move. You don’t have to tell me your reasons or excuses. Really, it’s perfectly fine for you to make different life choices than I do. [I know this one isn’t actually a question, but it’s something I hear all the time.]
So, any more questions?
* With the exception of Italy. Anything involving Italian bureaucracy is by default extremely painful.
** If you really, really wanted to, I bet you could. I don’t think I’ve ever heard a legitimate excuse from someone as to why they can’t.