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Thread: Living in Europe

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    Just Joined OPTIMUS PRIME's Avatar
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    Living in Europe

    Hi, my name is OPTIMUS PRIME. With a name like this, you probably can figure I fence epee and have extraordinary Autobot powers.

    I've decided to move a European country for fencing. It will be my first time making a living outside of the United States.

    I would like to know if there are any other board members/lurkers who have left the country to train with Eurofencers. I will be gone overseas for a period of 1-2 years. I hope to fence as much as humanly possible.

    My plan is to gain TEFL certification (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) and make some money this way. Other than that, I will live on the edge in the cheapest place I can find. Can any fencers out there reading this who have such experience help me, OPTIMUS PRIME, in my mission? I am particularly looking for advice about any 'cultural' differences between fencing clubs in European countries and the United States, if there are any. I wouldn't want to make a bad impression. Please, tell me your experience.
    Heroes never die. I, Optimus Prime, can never be conquered.

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    It rains frequently in most parts of Europe. Be sure not to rust.

    When you say you intend to teach English, surely you need some command of the native language of your students too, right? It will be cheaper to live in post-Communist countries like Poland, Hungary, etc. It is less likely you'll have experience with their languages than German or French, however.

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    Optimus! Before you transform and roll out, you should recognize that fencing clubs and "club culture" varies in different countries.

    Similarly, job opportunities vary as well.

    Where are you looking to go?

    I trained for about 4 years in Poland. I went with the US Peace Corps--teaching English--and stayed, once my 2-year PC stint was over, still living off the fruits of my linguistic excellence.

    KD5MDK is incorrect--you do not need to be able to speak the native language in order to get a teaching position. However, knowing the local language will open up more opportunities for you in terms of jobs, housing, the ladies, etc.

  4. #4
    Senior Member nahouw's Avatar
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    I know a few people who have, and an important point about working in foreign countries: you can't just up and go to live there -- there is a process, which you have to follow. Tourist visas are generally good for only 90 days, so you have to get a work visa. First step is to find a job and then obtain the work permit. Then you can have the longer term visa, and then apply for resident permit.

    EU countries will tend to want to employ there own people then other EU nations then US citizens, so this will be a hard process for you. Most I know went on student visas, being enrolled in a foreign program (and the easiest solution)

    One of the things that you will need to show on your applications is that you have sufficient funds to support yourself and health coverage. Most US policies only cover you in the US, so you will have to find addional health coverage.

    Your first step would be to get your TEFL certification, and then correspond with different countries to locate employment and see if they will sponsor you.

    Or, if you rather shoe-string it, theoretically you can go to any country for 90 days on a tourist visa, leave for a couple of weeks and then come back in on a another 90 day tourist visa until somebody notices.

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    Senior Member veeco's Avatar
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    I haven't really done what you want to do, but I have done the opposite. I moved to the US, with 2 suit cases, and an internship offer. I found a fencing club close by, and fenced there.

    After a few years, I moved back to Europe (France) and fenced there.

    Now, I am in Switzerland, and about to go back the US.

    I highly recommend you do this. It's a great experience and you will learn so much about fencing, but also about how people live outside of your world, you might even pick up a few language skills on the way.

    As an advice, I must say, most fencers I have met are the nicest people and will stick with you if you are in trouble, so don't hesitate to research the clubs where you are going to live, and see with someone there if you can crash on their couch for a couple of weeks when you arrive.

    But one thing is certain: you will need a visa. Some countries are easier than others, but the quality of fencing might not be up to your standards.
    • Epee is the Louis Vuitton bag of fencing: only the best can get it, and the rest of the masses must content themselves with cheap knockoffs (sabre, foil)
    • To not recognize the power of the French grip is to be in denial

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    Senior Member RITFencing's Avatar
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    I would also visit the area before you take the plunge... make sure you are really ok with living and working there.
    "If I were ever to challenge you to a duel, your best bet would be battle axes in a very dark basement." Misquoted from The Prisoner

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    Senior Member RoninX's Avatar
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    Be adventurous... there is always "more than meets the eye" to living abroad
    "I cannot ensure success, I can only endeavor to deserve it" - Capt. John Paul Jones

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    Just Joined OPTIMUS PRIME's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RoninX
    Be adventurous... there is always "more than meets the eye" to living abroad
    Yeah tell me about it. The babes look 6-10 years older than they really are sometimes.
    Phew...that was a close call for OPTIMUS....
    Heroes never die. I, Optimus Prime, can never be conquered.

  9. #9
    Senior Member RoninX's Avatar
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    They don't call them "decepti-cons" for nothing!!
    "I cannot ensure success, I can only endeavor to deserve it" - Capt. John Paul Jones

  10. #10
    Needs to get Outside Inquartata's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nahouw
    Tourist visas are generally good for only 90 days, so you have to get a work visa.
    What if one is rich enough either to live there without having to work or to spend an extended time vacationing there? It seems very inconvenient to be limited to 3 months if neither a work nor a student visa is applicable...
    Use the Shift key, people! Keyboard manufacturers everywhere are ineffably saddened when you ignore what they made just for you!

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    Senior Member sabreur's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Inquartata
    What if one is rich enough either to live there without having to work or to spend an extended time vacationing there? It seems very inconvenient to be limited to 3 months if neither a work nor a student visa is applicable...
    I assume this is a purely rhetorical question, or have you come into an unexpected inheritance or hit the lottery?

    When you request permission for an extended stay, you are asked to show proof that a) you will be working and you have the necessary work permits or b) you have the means to support yourself without working.

    Very few countries would turn down a request from someone who is wealthy enough not to have to work to come and distribute some of his/her pelf among the locals.
    Why sabre? Because you don't take heads with the point.

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    Needs to get Outside Inquartata's Avatar
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    That's what I was wondering about. It would seem counterproductive economically to expel "cash cows" after 3 months...
    Use the Shift key, people! Keyboard manufacturers everywhere are ineffably saddened when you ignore what they made just for you!

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    Senior Member TrainingDummy's Avatar
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    Have you heard the movie theme for the original transformers movie by hair-metal band Lion? Priceless!
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    Senior Member LUDICROUS's Avatar
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    Have you heard the Transformers version of Metallica's "One" ? That owns.
    I am he
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    The fallen angel watching you..

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    Needs to get Outside Inquartata's Avatar
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    Methinks I am missing something about this poster's name. Is it a company that manufactures transformers? A band? What?
    Use the Shift key, people! Keyboard manufacturers everywhere are ineffably saddened when you ignore what they made just for you!

  16. #16
    Senior Member LUDICROUS's Avatar
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    Wow, you're old.

    Transformers is a cult cartoon featuring machines that transform into Fighting machines from cars/trucks/etc.

    Autobots vs Deciptocons, OPTIMUS PRIME versus Megatron.
    I am he
    The bornless one
    The fallen angel watching you..

  17. #17
    Senior Member wrdbrn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by OPTIMUS PRIME
    I've decided to move a European country for fencing. It will be my first time making a living outside of the United States.
    There was a NPR show I caught part of about moving to Europe. Their advice was try before you buy.... and be sure your first extended stay of 3 months or so is in the very worst weather cycle...

    Good Luck!
    ""Challenge is a dragon with a gift in its mouth... Tame the dragon and the gift is yours."- Noela Evans

  18. #18
    Needs to get Outside Inquartata's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by LUDICROUS
    Wow, you're old.
    You say that like it's a BAD thing.

    Thanks for cluing me in. Although....well...before I didn't know, now I just don't care.
    Use the Shift key, people! Keyboard manufacturers everywhere are ineffably saddened when you ignore what they made just for you!

  19. #19
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    Remarkably, this is the first time in a long time I've heard of someone missing an 80s reference because they're too old. All the other ones have been from people too young to get them.

  20. #20
    Senior Member I_luv_saber's Avatar
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    My plan is to gain TEFL certification (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) and make some money this way.
    I'd like any information anyone can offer on this as well, as I was considering doing this to support myself when I move to Budapest, at least as a plan B or until I can get a job closer to what I'd like.
    What I know (or think I do) so far:

    1) I have heard jobs in Hungary are quite good for TEFL positions, as there is a big push there now to learn English... not sure if this is actually true or not, just hearsay.
    2) This has been said, but I have also heard jobs in Western Europe can be a bit tricky to get if your American, as there are plenty from Britain or other EU countries to fill this need, without as much red tape. As an American, your better bet is Centeral/Eastern Europe, or elsewhere if you don't have your heart set on Europe.
    3) Don't expect to be making gobs of money, but you can support yourself and not be worried about how to pay next months rent (again, this is all stuff I've heard, someone with experience in the matter would be great!). Pay can vary majorly depending on a few things. Firstly, where you go. Again, for an American, just about anywhere but the EU is okay (Aside from those in Centeral or Eastern Europe). Second, if you get a job before you go, you have the security, but usually less pay as the employers have not had a chance for a live interview. But, going without a job is a bit of a risk, so that's your call. Third, experience and schools. If you have your TEFL through a more famous school or program or some good experience, you should be paid more.
    4) Pick a TEFL program that offers job placement, even if it's a bit more expensive, it's normally cheaper than a headhunter. Sometimes the more expensive programs will also either cover your flight, or offer a discount as they cut deals with the airlines.
    Here are two I've looked at:

    www.oxfordseminars.com
    www.teflcorp.com

    But really, just google TEFL courses. If you aren't near a location, there are online courses, but make sure it's longer than 40 hours (I believe most employers like 100-140 hour course time). This is all the info I have, and ALL is just hearsay from TEFL teachers and some of the programs. Any real info from someone who knows would be great!
    Last edited by I_luv_saber; 09-08-2006 at 12:27 AM.
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