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Thread: I want to ex-pat

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    marsatreus's Avatar
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    I want to ex-pat

    I have had a dream for the past several months about escaping America. I don't have a lot of money, I have some debt I am paying off, but really I just want to leave asap. I've read up on options such as teaching English overseas, but I have no degree. I'm also very afraid of what may happen if I don't succeed in finding a job or some way to stay in the other country and have to come back here with no job prospects. Are there any ex-pats on here that can advise me? I'm in the beginning stages of this and if anyone wanted to throw in their 2 cents I'd appreciate it very much.

    P.S. I'm not going overseas to find a foreign bride, I've pretty much committed to awalt.
    P.S.S mods if this is in the wrong spot feel free to move it

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    DaveB's Avatar
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    Jobs and their demand follow the same principles in all countries. What do you bring to the table that someone else does not? Finding a job in another country also adds, why would I hire a foreigner if a local person can do it and probably has better work habits and will not complain about the wage.

    I do not mean to be a party pooper, but the first question to ask yourself is what skills can you truly bring, and if they are not enough I would suggest research and looking for what skills will be valuable and learning some of them before leaving. Learning the local language will be a huge one...

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    You don't really tell us much...what are your skills? How old are you? Where do you want to go? Where are you from?

    There are basically three ways for someone to expat (well four actually, but since you aren't willing to marry a foreign bride we will leave that out)

    1.have enough money invested to live comfortably off your returns.
    2.find a job in your chosen country.
    3.identify a need and start your own business.

    You say you don't have any money so #1 is out, and that leaves you with option #2 or #3. Its not impossible to find a job working in foreign countries, but usually you will be paid the going wage there. I'm currently visiting in Nicaragua and I've met a number of foreigners working in bars and restaurants, usually as managers. The owners value the work ethic from the US and Europe. However, and without exception, every one of them has a strong command of the local language.

    Starting your own business requires capital. Which you said you don't have, plus a skill or resource not currently in the country. After spending time in whichever country you choose, it should be rather easy to identify what's missing and how to fill it.

    Not knowing if you've ever been outside your home country I would recommend the following:

    Get a job and save like crazy. Live as poor as possible to do so.
    Study and take an online course for a tefl certificate
    Study different countries you think you'd like to live in. Join expat forums and ask tons of questions. They won't mind.
    Once you have between $10, 000 and $15, 000 US saved up quit your job and travel to the country your least excited about. Spend a month or so living there. Try to get a job....continue through your list of countries until your money is gone or you find a place you like and can afford to live.

    Realize that not everyone can handle the culture shock and some end up going home.

    Also, and last bit of advice, if your not happy with who you are, or your life in general a change in location may not change your outlook.

    Good luck!
    Last edited by Grimjack; 10-07-13 at 05:10 PM. Reason: various typos due to using a tablet

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    marsatreus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Grimjack View Post
    You don't really tell us much...what are your skills? How old are you? Where do you want to go? Where are you from?

    There are basically three ways for someone to expat (well four actually, but since you aren't willing to marry a foreign bride we will leave that out)

    1.have enough money invested to live comfortably off your returns.
    2.find a job in your chosen country.
    3.identify a need and start your own business.

    You say you don't have any money so #1 is out, and that leaves you with option #2 or #3. Its not impossible to find a job working in foreign countries, but usually you will be paid the going wage there. I'm currently visiting in Nicaragua and I've met a number of foreigners working in bars and restaurants, usually as managers. The owners value the work ethic from the US and Europe. However, and without exception, every one of them has a strong command of the local language.

    Starting your own business requires capital. Which you said you don't have, plus a skill or resource not currently in the country. After spending time in whichever country you choose, it should be rather easy to identify what's missing and how to fill it.

    Not knowing if you've ever been outside your home country I would recommend the following:

    Get a job and save like crazy. Live as poor as possible to do so.
    Study and take an online course for a tefl certificate
    Study different countries you think you'd like to live in. Join expat forums and ask tons of questions. They won't mind.
    Once you have between $10, 000 and $15, 000 US saved up quit your job and travel to the country your least excited about. Spend a month or so living there. Try to get a job....continue through your list of countries until your money is gone or you find a place you like and can afford to live.

    Realize that not everyone can handle the culture shock and some end up going home.

    Also, and last bit of advice, if your not happy with who you are, or your life in general a change in location may not change your outlook.

    Good luck!
    You're right I was unintentionally vague.
    I learn new languages very quickly so I think that's a plus. I know and can read a little Russian so a place like the Ukraine wouldn't be too crazy, Ukranian is very similar.
    I have a basic grasp on Spanish so I could probably move to a South American country.
    I have been a retail manager for the past three years (I'm only poor because I had a live in girlfriend for most of that time).
    I'm not unhappy with myself at all, only the people around me I actually feel like maybe I'm too arrogant most of the time because I know I'm more intelligent then those around me.
    I'm just ready to leave and start my life somewhere for real. Thanks for the great advice I will have to think about how to accomplish this goal.
    I could always marry somewhere where there is no alimony just for citizenship but I don't know how I'd feel about being a green card husband.

  5. #5
    The Invisible Man's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by marsatreus View Post
    You're right I was unintentionally vague.
    I learn new languages very quickly so I think that's a plus. I know and can read a little Russian so a place like the Ukraine wouldn't be too crazy, Ukranian is very similar.
    I have a basic grasp on Spanish so I could probably move to a South American country.
    I have been a retail manager for the past three years (I'm only poor because I had a live in girlfriend for most of that time).
    I'm not unhappy with myself at all, only the people around me I actually feel like maybe I'm too arrogant most of the time because I know I'm more intelligent then those around me.
    I'm just ready to leave and start my life somewhere for real. Thanks for the great advice I will have to think about how to accomplish this goal.
    I could always marry somewhere where there is no alimony just for citizenship but I don't know how I'd feel about being a green card husband.
    I think you are ex-pating for all the wrong reasons. The grass is not greener on the other side. What exactly is it you think you are going to find overseas that you can't get here? Most ex-pats that are successful have a solid plan ahead of time and a boat load of money stashed up so they can find some small corner and not have to worry about competing in the rat race of that country. You are going to be competing in a foreign culture which will be entirely unfamiliar to you. Talk to Bem about this, he has lived in many other countries and he will tell you that they are not some sort of utopia for men or the promised land.

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    chainlightning's Avatar
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    To add to what the previous posters wrote:

    1. Pay off the debt.
    2. Self-assess what skills you currently have and if you plan to add more skills.
    3. Research what parts of the world need your skillset(s).
    4. If necessary, teach English overseas, particularly in countries where you are considering to expat.

  7. #7
    Eddie Willers's Avatar
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    I can't add anything beyond the sage advice of brother TiM - the grass isn't necessarily greener. I made that mistake in leaving the UK for Mexico and now Canada...things are tough all over and, as brother DaveB said, very pithily, "Jobs and their demand follow the same principles in all countries. What do you bring to the table that someone else does not?."

    Teaching English is always a good fallback (I did it for three years) and is an easy in if you have a TEFL certification - most ESL schools south of the Rio Grande love having native speakers of English as it gives them a USP in their local market.

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    The Ghost's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by marsatreus View Post
    I have had a dream for the past several months about escaping America. I don't have a lot of money, I have some debt I am paying off, but really I just want to leave asap. I've read up on options such as teaching English overseas, but I have no degree. I'm also very afraid of what may happen if I don't succeed in finding a job or some way to stay in the other country and have to come back here with no job prospects. Are there any ex-pats on here that can advise me? I'm in the beginning stages of this and if anyone wanted to throw in their 2 cents I'd appreciate it very much.

    P.S. I'm not going overseas to find a foreign bride, I've pretty much committed to awalt.
    P.S.S mods if this is in the wrong spot feel free to move it
    Here's the thing about teaching English or TEFLing as some call it. Since you have no degree, you can pretty much forget about going to the countries that pay a shit load of money for their English teachers. Teaching English is worth it in South Korea, Japan, Vietnam, and maybe China.

    South Korea, China, and Japan will not give you the time of day since you have no degree, and neither will the Middle East which also pays great. Mexico would require a degree and a TEFL certificate and preferably not one that is online because those do not give you experience. The online certificates are good for one who has experience, NOT for a NEWBIE like yourself.

    Plus, now in Mexico, you can no longer come here on a tourist visa, have a school hire and sponsor you and get your work visa for you. Now you have to be hired from your home country.

    Here's what I would do.

    Save some money. Check with some ship jobs in order to do this. You work on a ship and don't pay rent and they feed you. I will PM a website for you along with another website that is a forum for TEFLing.

    Try and get a TEFL certificate that is NOT online. Check with a community college.

    Research some countries. You can find EVERYTHING regarding this on the forum I will send you in a PM.

    If you are wanting to teach English, pick the country then contact some of the schools and see what the procedures are.

    Or you could do like a friend of mine does...he works on ships in the US for about 3 to 4 months. Saves up a HUGE cash wad by doing this. THEN he goes to Vietnam or some other country in Asia for about 4 to 6 months and lives like a king. Then he returns to the US and works on the ships again.

  9. #9
    bem's Avatar
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    There's been plenty of good advice given to you in this thread. I want to take the opportunity to emphasize the importance of having your shit together from Day One.

    I can't emphasize enough both the importance of having a detailed action plan in place (not just how you're going to get there, but what you'll do once you're there), and having enough money to handle anything that comes your way. In my case, I did my CELTA training at a school in Ecuador, with the intention of working in country once I had the certificate in hand. I knew that it would take time - weeks, maybe months - before I found a job that suited my interests, in a city I liked. After five weeks, I found the job/city combination, but I was prepared to live there, in job search mode, for six to nine months after receipt of the teaching certificate.

    Too many people go the TESL route with relatively little in cash reserves, and take the first offer that comes their way, no matter what the downsides of both the job and the location may be. In regards to the former, here's a good rule of thumb: Calculate the cost of living in your new country for one year, and then make certain that you have 1.5 to 2 times that amount available sitting in your bank account. This will not only give you the peace of mind you need while you're getting adjusted to the new country, but also be money on which you can fall back throughout your time in country. On top of all of that, it will give you the cushion you need while you're taking your time exploring additional income opportunities, because let me tell you, earning less than $10 per hour as a teacher gets old very quickly, no matter where in the world you find yourself.

    Following your heart has a certain romantic appeal to it, but reality is a cold and unforgiving preceptor. Case in point: I did my five-week TESL training at a converted beachfront resort on Ecuador's coast. For most of the time I was there, we had a twenty-something American with little money, and with more guts than brains, living in a three-foot-high, 100 square-foot storage space above the bar. When he left us towards the end of Week 4 - he got kicked out by the resort's caretaker, who was tired of having to put up with the shiftless squatter - he had no clear plan as to how he was going to make it back stateside. Sure, this is an extreme example, but the point is still there to be made:

    Don't be that guy. Don't even be close to being "that guy".

    Have a plan - a firm, detailed plan! - and work the plan.


    If you can keep your head when all about you
    Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
    If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
    But make allowance for their doubting too;
    If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
    Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
    Or being hated, don’t give way to hating,
    And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise:

    If you can dream—and not make dreams your master;
    If you can think—and not make thoughts your aim;
    If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
    And treat those two impostors just the same;
    If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
    Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
    Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
    And stoop and build ’em up with worn-out tools:

    If you can make one heap of all your winnings
    And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
    And lose, and start again at your beginnings
    And never breathe a word about your loss;
    If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
    To serve your turn long after they are gone,
    And so hold on when there is nothing in you
    Except the Will which says to them: ‘Hold on!’

    If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
    Or walk with Kings—nor lose the common touch,
    If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
    If all men count with you, but none too much;
    If you can fill the unforgiving minute
    With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,
    Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
    And—which is more—you’ll be a Man, my son!


    "If" by Rudyard Kipling : The Poetry Foundation

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    The Ghost's Avatar
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    Good point about making less than 10 bucks an hour getting old fast, BEM. The only schools that pay more than that here in Mexico City are some of the private ones. If one is lucky he/she can make around 15,000 to 20,000 PESOS before taxes. Still, most TEFLer's do NOT want those jobs even with the good pay and summers off because the kids are unruly and the rich parents are worse.

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    marsatreus's Avatar
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    Excellent advice. You guys are all right about needing to make sure I think this over. I will be giving rep to everyone
    I won't be acting to hastily and will give this months of thought at least.

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    Lord Humungus's Avatar
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    You could also look into online marketing, telecommuting and online freelancing to get your cashflow.

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    fairi5fair's Avatar
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    I'm planning to expat as a 5-10 year plan/goal. It involves learning the language, bringing a valuable skill, and doing some test traveling. I'm anxious enough to leave on the next flight out, but I'm not going until it's real.

    My advice: make it real first.

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    The Ghost's Avatar
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    Do your homework, save some money, and get a TEFLing certificate or the Certificate for English Language Teaching to Adults (CELTA), research the countries that you may be interested in, and go to a community college to see what language classes they offer through their continuing education dept.

    Be prepared and you'll be fine.

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    Quote Originally Posted by bem View Post
    There's been plenty of good advice given to you in this thread. I want to take the opportunity to emphasize the importance of having your shit together from Day One.

    I can't emphasize enough both the importance of having a detailed action plan in place (not just how you're going to get there, but what you'll do once you're there), and having enough money to handle anything that comes your way. In my case, I did my CELTA training at a school in Ecuador, with the intention of working in country once I had the certificate in hand. I knew that it would take time - weeks, maybe months - before I found a job that suited my interests, in a city I liked. After five weeks, I found the job/city combination, but I was prepared to live there, in job search mode, for six to nine months after receipt of the teaching certificate.

    Too many people go the TESL route with relatively little in cash reserves, and take the first offer that comes their way, no matter what the downsides of both the job and the location may be. In regards to the former, here's a good rule of thumb: Calculate the cost of living in your new country for one year, and then make certain that you have 1.5 to 2 times that amount available sitting in your bank account. This will not only give you the peace of mind you need while you're getting adjusted to the new country, but also be money on which you can fall back throughout your time in country. On top of all of that, it will give you the cushion you need while you're taking your time exploring additional income opportunities, because let me tell you, earning less than $10 per hour as a teacher gets old very quickly, no matter where in the world you find yourself.

    Following your heart has a certain romantic appeal to it, but reality is a cold and unforgiving preceptor. Case in point: I did my five-week TESL training at a converted beachfront resort on Ecuador's coast. For most of the time I was there, we had a twenty-something American with little money, and with more guts than brains, living in a three-foot-high, 100 square-foot storage space above the bar. When he left us towards the end of Week 4 - he got kicked out by the resort's caretaker, who was tired of having to put up with the shiftless squatter - he had no clear plan as to how he was going to make it back stateside. Sure, this is an extreme example, but the point is still there to be made:

    Don't be that guy. Don't even be close to being "that guy".

    Have a plan - a firm, detailed plan! - and work the plan.


    If you can keep your head when all about you
    Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
    If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
    But make allowance for their doubting too;
    If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
    Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
    Or being hated, don’t give way to hating,
    And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise:

    If you can dream—and not make dreams your master;
    If you can think—and not make thoughts your aim;
    If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
    And treat those two impostors just the same;
    If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
    Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
    Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
    And stoop and build ’em up with worn-out tools:

    If you can make one heap of all your winnings
    And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
    And lose, and start again at your beginnings
    And never breathe a word about your loss;
    If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
    To serve your turn long after they are gone,
    And so hold on when there is nothing in you
    Except the Will which says to them: ‘Hold on!’

    If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
    Or walk with Kings—nor lose the common touch,
    If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
    If all men count with you, but none too much;
    If you can fill the unforgiving minute
    With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,
    Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
    And—which is more—you’ll be a Man, my son!


    "If" by Rudyard Kipling : The Poetry Foundation
    Great and useful advice, bem! Rep for quoting "Stud for the Ages" Rudyard Kipling!

  16. #16
    Chopper's Avatar
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    Ex pat

    Quote Originally Posted by marsatreus View Post
    I have had a dream for the past several months about escaping America. I don't have a lot of money, I have some debt I am paying off, but really I just want to leave asap. I've read up on options such as teaching English overseas, but I have no degree. I'm also very afraid of what may happen if I don't succeed in finding a job or some way to stay in the other country and have to come back here with no job prospects. Are there any ex-pats on here that can advise me? I'm in the beginning stages of this and if anyone wanted to throw in their 2 cents I'd appreciate it very much.

    P.S. I'm not going overseas to find a foreign bride, I've pretty much committed to awalt.
    P.S.S mods if this is in the wrong spot feel free to move it
    I left the states at 44 but I had enough saved and a paid off house.
    I have run into other younger ex pats and the successful ones have Internet computer jobs or merchant marines that live in foreign counties between jobs or off- shore oil rig workers or Alaska fishermen. I have also met many English teachers in the Philippines and Mexico. They have all been happy with the life they have. I just returned from a vacation to the Philippines and it is very cheap to live there.
    I meet many people that want to move where I live , but the reality is it is very difficult to prosper in a foreign country.
    The typical , young expat does a bar tending job, English teacher or real estate sales and lives paycheck to paycheck just like in the USA , but the benefit is the more relaxed life and the women, my god the women. .
    One of the other things mentioned by a previous poster is, first do some traveling. Some people are not wired to leave the English speaking , convenient world of the USA. Try living without electricity in your house and no water for a day and eat peanut butter sandwiches with a glass of water for a week because you don't have any money and see how you do. Buying a new iPhone 5 here is $1200 , they are not subsidized like in the USA. But I would not go back to stay in the USA until I am in a small urn. Enjoy

  17. #17
    The Ghost's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chopper View Post
    I left the states at 44 but I had enough saved and a paid off house.
    I have run into other younger ex pats and the successful ones have Internet computer jobs or merchant marines that live in foreign counties between jobs or off- shore oil rig workers or Alaska fishermen. I have also met many English teachers in the Philippines and Mexico. They have all been happy with the life they have. I just returned from a vacation to the Philippines and it is very cheap to live there.
    I meet many people that want to move where I live , but the reality is it is very difficult to prosper in a foreign country.
    The typical , young expat does a bar tending job, English teacher or real estate sales and lives paycheck to paycheck just like in the USA , but the benefit is the more relaxed life and the women, my god the women. .
    One of the other things mentioned by a previous poster is, first do some traveling. Some people are not wired to leave the English speaking , convenient world of the USA. Try living without electricity in your house and no water for a day and eat peanut butter sandwiches with a glass of water for a week because you don't have any money and see how you do. Buying a new iPhone 5 here is $1200 , they are not subsidized like in the USA. But I would not go back to stay in the USA until I am in a small urn.
    Enjoy
    I won't go back to STAY even in an urn. While it is hard to make a living in a foreign country, the USSA is the same these days. Once one gets past the culture shock and learns a little of the local language...all is gold. The lifestyle is so much better outside of the USSA. I only go back to visit my sisters and mom occasionally, but I will never go back to STAY. Mexico has NO PC bullshit COMPARED to the USSA.

    Save some money brothers and then ESCAPE that PC, FEMNATZI country. The PC is so out of control that I would think the people in the USSA would be embarrassed.

  18. #18
    grenade001's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by fairi5fair View Post
    I'm planning to expat as a 5-10 year plan/goal. It involves learning the language, bringing a valuable skill, and doing some test traveling. I'm anxious enough to leave on the next flight out, but I'm not going until it's real.

    My advice: make it real first.
    As everyone else has said save up some cash first and have a plan for what you want to do when you are there. I plan to have about $50k as seed money before I jump ship and move overseas. I have a few ideas on how to make money, from importing electronics from China or teaching English. After I get my degree, I will be able to live cheaply, but well overseas and have a buffer to protect myself. There will not be any JIT (just in time) practices when it comes to finances. I have seen people in my travels who had to wait a week to get money from back home and only having $200 for that week (this was in London). Do not want situations like that!

    P.S. I saw a job offering in the paper to go to Japan and earn $40-$45k per year teaching English. Making me think about jumping ship.

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