• Kyle Greely, 12 months ago

    Well, here is one topic I can actually speak on for a long time. I'll try to keep it short.

    I'm an American and I moved to France in 2016. I'm a UX Designer. I'll skip the long, personal version of this story and only talk about the professional stuff. I arrived in France with no plan or job lined up, just money in a savings account, some clothes, and a friend who let me stay with them. I applied to hundreds and hundreds of jobs and did probably around 60-80 interviews before I found a company willing to sponsor my visa and hire me. It took a year. It's very difficult to find (unless you're maybe at senior level and have very in demand skills), and at least here in Paris, knowing French is essential. There are English-speaking jobs, of course, but it's definitely the minority. If you're only willing to work in English, you will be dealing with a limited pool of potential jobs. I've been here nearly two years now and I've only just recently become fluent, so showing the willingness to learn is important.

    As for what you should expect, it's different for everyone as it depends on where you're from and what you're used to. The office politics are very different here. But I wouldn't go back to the US if you paid me. I love it here. 6 weeks of holiday per year, three times more than you get in the US even if you're lucky. Healthcare that is actually affordable and mostly paid for by the government and your company. Public transport and infrastructure that works. Work/life balance was my number one priority in coming here, and I can say that it is definitely better here. People know how to take a break, take weeks off work at a time, and understand that work =/= life.

    Advice: Learn as much as possible about your desired country beforehand, travel there beforehand and spend more than just a few days in the city you think you'd live in so you can see what it's really like to live there. Dedicate yourself to integration into the society. Don't be afraid to fuck up if you're speaking another language, just dive in and make mistakes, it's the fastest way to learn. Research the salaries of your profession/experience level, because in general the salaries are lower in Europe compared to places like London, New York, SF, etc. Be careful with your money, but don't be an uptight frugal bastard. You do need to spend money to properly explore a new country. Don't sit in your apartment all day and vegetate. Get out there.

    TL;DR - Give it a try. It doesn't work out for everyone, but it might for you, and if it does, it can change your life.

    3 points