The fireworks are over, no more champagne in the fridge and the next week business will go (finally) as usual, if not already started. Many might rely on their New Year’s resolutions trying to develop and improve their relationships, professional experience and travel memories.
I just returned from a lovely trip to Luxembourg (the pictures I post now are from there) with some good feelings about my next travel moves and moderate expectations – remember my life motto: ‘No expectations, no disappointments’. One of my modest plans is to see as much as possible from Europe, especially those countries that I didn’t have the chance to visit yet. I am still fascinated by this continent, both as a historian and political scientist, and I hope to have the chance of more (pleasant) discoveries soon.
From this perspective, I found out 10 reasons why moving to Europe – at least for a while. I know that the definition of Europe is a complicated issue in itself and I don’t want to enter into a long excursus about it. For this present article, Europe means the socio-political structure of EU, but also countries like Ukraine and Republic of Moldova that share an important part of European history. And yes, Turkey, at least its Western part, belongs to Europe as well.
Here are my reasons for a successful relocation to Europe:
1. The health care system is very good and Europe has one of the biggest hospitals and experts in a variety of domains. You may need to pay a little bit more than usually, but if you really need a good care and successful recovery this is where you will find the best possibilities.
2. If you have a valid EU visa, you can travel all over the Schengen space as a free butterfly. Especially if you drive by car, there are no passport checking lines and if not careful to the signs on the highway, you may not even feel that you crossed three countries in less than one hour.
3. You may discover that you are not the only one that chose Europe for living as an expat. Here you can meet people from all over the world and according to the cultural medicine, it is good for your perspective on life and also for the education of your children. As for the question of how much tolerance is in Europe, I would address it in a different post. Or better not.
4. One of the main things I love about living in Europe is the great culture and arts that you can encounter even in the most remote parts of it. As I did a lot of travel around Germany for my project 100 Places to See in Germany, I was surprised to discover impressive art collections and extraordinary histories in every single little place I went to. For everyone, it is a back to school experience, without taking exams and paying impressive fees.
5. As for the costs of life, in the majority of European countries – but especially in some parts of Germany, especially Berlin – life is cheap. Food mostly is under-priced and with 100 EUR. you may buy the supplies for a single persons for more than one week. You can even keep some part of this amount for a great meal at a restaurant once in a while.
6. Transportation network is developed and the alternatives abound. By train, water, airplane, highway or bus, you can reach great places within hours. If you are smart enough and you make the reservations in due time – at least one month in advance is the best, you can pay ridiculous prices – like 50 EUR. for a two-way trip from Berlin to Luxembourg by bus.
7. Holidays are holy and longer than anywhere else – except in places where it is no available work at all. And, surprise, the holidays are paid and paid well. Don’t wonder why so many Americans feel blessed to enjoy your non-working time in the old Europe!
8. Europe is a children-oriented part of the world. The public schools are good enough and free, the children receive pretty good money from the state and paternal leaves are more and more widespread practices. As a mother, you can spend up to one year – or even more – with your child and you can even take your job back – or work from home and continue making money.
9. European countries continue to be safe, compared to the rest of the world: no frequent terrorist attacks, no conflicts, not too many are officially carrying guns.
10. Europe is the best place to be if you love learning languages. All big capital cities have a lively community of expats and international people ready to share their language and to learn something from the host culture as well. The European schools have an extensive program of language learning. For instance, in Germany, children start learning English in primary school and continue with a new language – sometimes intensive program – in high-school (especially in Gymnasium). At the end of the school years, an average European children was exposed to at least 3 foreign languages. Also, due to the intricate histories of the European countries, in the border areas, people are naturally language speakers. When we went to the Netherlands the last summer, we were helped to get directions in French, German and English, by teenagers living in the border area with Germany.
I wish everyone a year of travels in 2014! I will start sharing my experiences very soon!