Living in another country?


By American in Japan   Follow   Wed, 23 Feb 2011, 7:36am   7,855 views   60 comments
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This is the "living in another country" post. Who lives outside of the US or has lived outside of the US. For those living in the US now, have you considered living in another country? Which one(s)?
What have you learned from living there?

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  1. FortWayne


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    1   7:46am Wed 23 Feb 2011   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like (1)   Dislike  

    My wife and I have considered a few different (English speaking) countries. We have relatives all over the world so that makes it much easier.

    Great Britain, Canada were a few biggest considerations which are still on the table.

    Japan is a bit too tough, language barrier.

  2. American in Japan


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    2   8:48am Wed 23 Feb 2011   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike  

    @SF ace

    I must admit I do like Singapore, even though I have ties here in Japan. One thing I envy about living in Singapura, is there are quite a few inexpensive 2-3 day getaway trips possible to a variety of countries via Air Asia. I have been there 3 times...

  3. jvolstad


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    3   8:57am Wed 23 Feb 2011   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like (1)   Dislike (1)  

    My last gig was in London. Loved it!

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/jvolstad/sets/72157600399996216/

    I wish I was still there but our contract got cut short.

    Is the San Francisco Bay Area considered a foreign country? :-)

    I would love to work in China. There is some HP Nonstop (servers) in country, but not much.

  4. bob2356


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    4   10:52am Wed 23 Feb 2011   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like (1)   Dislike  

    I've lived in France (pre EU), Canada (hard to consider that another country), Costa Rica, and currently in New Zealand. Why are you curious? Which country you would consider moving to depends totally on your life situation and why you would consider moving abroad. Someone retiring has totally different requirements from someone looking for opportunity.

    Everyone should seriously consider multiple citizenships. Trusting your entire life to one government is just totally crazy if you have any type of substantial assets. The vast majority of Americans have absolutely no idea how freely mobile the rest of the world is or how isolated and insular America really is.

    Living abroad as an American is a total PIA from a paperwork perspective by the way. Unlike every other country on earth the US taxes your income worldwide even if you are living overseas. They want an accounting of every dime you have and where it came from. Not only that but there are currency controls starting to come on line also that will be even more of a pain. It gets much worse every year. Not only are you required to know all the rule changes, all the forms to file to comply with the rule changes, but the fines if you miss filing any form are so high you would have to give up your citizenship if you make any errors. For example failure to report the existence of a foreign bank account (even your checking account) results in penalties of 50% of the value of the account for every year not reported for up to 6 years (so a unreported 10,000 dollar account balance could have penalties of 30,000) , a 250,000 fine (that's not a typo), five years in prison (which can be doubled to 500k and 10 years if you fail to report 2 accounts). This is not penalties for tax evasion, just not reporting the fact you have an account at all. There are lots of similar draconian laws in effect. Oh by the way if you ask the IRS about these things and they give you the wrong information (they frequently do) it's just too bad.

  5. jvolstad


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    5   12:47pm Wed 23 Feb 2011   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike (1)  

    @bob2356 I thought about becoming a British citizen as well as my American citizenship. I was on a 4-5 year contact with the NHS in London. It would have made sense to do that. I also had to hire a tax accountant when I was working in London. The taxes were a nightmare.

  6. pkennedy


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    6   1:49pm Wed 23 Feb 2011   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike  

    The US is in a different situation. People flock to the US to get passports. They do so because it helps them everywhere they are in the world, it also gives them a safe haven no matter what, and they get all the benefits of being a US citizen. Not many people flock to the US or Canada for a "backup passport" People get secondary passports for other reasons, but not as an upgrade or a security feature. Citizenship is really for those who want to live in a country and be part of it. The US has so many people coming here, getting citizenship, buggering off for 30 years and coming back when it suits them best. Not only that, the US has some of the easiest immigration standards around the world.

    As a former CEO said to me once, "I ended up with a tax nightmare while working in the UK, but really it's a small price to pay. If I'm ever stuck anywhere in the world, I know who I'll call to get me out of it."

    How many governments will bend over backwards to rescue a citizen in another country? Or put pressure on a government to help citizens in another country?

    If someone is unhappy with the situation, simply relinquish US citizenship.

  7. bob2356


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    7   2:47pm Wed 23 Feb 2011   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like (2)   Dislike (1)  

    pkennedy says

    The US is in a different situation. People flock to the US to get passports. They do so because it helps them everywhere they are in the world, it also gives them a safe haven no matter what, and they get all the benefits of being a US citizen. Not many people flock to the US or Canada for a “backup passport” People get secondary passports for other reasons, but not as an upgrade or a security feature. Citizenship is really for those who want to live in a country and be part of it. The US has so many people coming here, getting citizenship, buggering off for 30 years and coming back when it suits them best. Not only that, the US has some of the easiest immigration standards around the world.

    By the US are you actually referring to the United States of America having some of the easiest immigration standards in the world? Do you live in the same United States as I did? Immigration visa's for the USA are just about the toughest in the world to obtain. Even work and student visa's are very hard to get.

    Who are all these people who breeze into the USA, get citizenship and leave for 30 years? I'd like to see documentation on that.

    I don't travel on my US passport any more other than coming to the US. The attitude toward Americans has changed dramatically in the last 10 years. People around the world really used to like Americans almost everywhere. They would tell you endlessly that they hated our policies, but they really would be friendly. That has changed. The Iraq war badly tarnished America's image around the world.

    If you really think the consulate is going to bend over backwards for you then I would highly recommend not getting into trouble overseas. It ain't going to happen the majority of the time. Consulates are dumping grounds for people owed favors by politicians. Their first priority is maintaining their very comfortable expat colonialist lifestyle and not rocking the boat. Just getting to talk to someone at a consulate is usually about like making a state visit to the king of England. There some hard working dedicated consulate employees, but arrogance and incompetence is more the norm.

    The larger question is who is doing the flocking? I keep reading here and other places about the 'rich foreigners" who are standing around waiting to move to America and to buy up high end properties. Why in the world would a successful foreign person do that? The second they get permanent residency their entire world wide income becomes taxable in the US. Why would a high earner in Singapore, Hong Kong, Manila, Shanghai, or where ever trade a 10% tax rate for a 33% tax rate? They would also be subject to estate taxes on their world wide assets when they die, they would be subject to a huge exit tax if they decide to leave America, if they were a high enough earner they could end up owing US income tax for life even if they renounced their US citizenship later on. In 20 years of traveling I've never met a successful person/high earner overseas that had any plans at all for getting permanent residency or citizenship in America. The people that are interested in America are the people on their way up the ladder from the first rung or two. Entry level engineers, medical residents, fresh grads of business schools, etc.. People who don't have assets for the IRS to suck up.

  8. pkennedy


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    8   3:01pm Wed 23 Feb 2011   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike  

    Have you tried to get visas to other countries?

    People always bitch and complain about the US process, but it's one of the most stream lined I've encountered. The US allows for more immigration visas than any other country in the world.

    Why does the US have a bad reputation? Because people who don't get it bitch and complain. Those are the ones that everyone hears about it.

    Everyone complains about US politics, they all say they hate it, and then if you ask "Do you have a green card application?" they all say "yes! it's taking forever...". If there wasn't a huge rush on US immigration right now, we would be hearing about how "easy it was to get into the US today, as there are no other people in line! no one wants to come here, they're all leaving in troves" that isn't true. We hear about the people who are rejected and upset over it. The US allows in some million people per year.

    Check out other countries and how many they allow in, or their restrictions.

    The super rich don't have an incentive to move, as they live like kings elsewhere, but the average earner/small business owner has plenty to gain. Especially if they can fly into the country easily.

    Look at the hordes of people who wished to stay during the lebanon war a few years ago. Do you think your average tourist is sticking it out? No, they're people who moved ot the US, got their green card and headed home.

  9. bob2356


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    9   4:08am Thu 24 Feb 2011   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like (1)   Dislike  

    pkennedy says

    Have you tried to get visas to other countries?

    People always bitch and complain about the US process, but it’s one of the most stream lined I’ve encountered. The US allows for more immigration visas than any other country in the world.

    I have permanent residency in 2 other countries and citizenship in 1 other country (soon to be 2) so I like to think I have a little knowledge on the subject. Trust me, I've walked people through the US process and it is NOT the most streamlined I've ever encountered by a long shot.

    The US allows for more immigration visa's than any other country in the world? Really? The US is also the third largest country in the world. Reliable immigration figures for China and India aren't available so it's hard to look at them. Here are some countries that there are figures for, although the year of the numbers varies. The columns are country name, permanent entry visa's, population, percentage of population. I did this fast, there may be some calculation errors.

    Us 1 million 310 million .32
    Canada 238,000 34 million .669
    Australia 123,000 22 million .55
    Germany 579,000 81 million .7
    Austria 68,000 8 million .68
    France 140,000 65 million .21
    Spain 700,000 46 million 1.52
    UK 143,000 61 million .23
    Norway 99,000 5 million 1.98
    NZ 45,000 4 million 1.25

    So if you adjust for population the US far from the most liberal with immigration visa's.

    Who the heck are these hordes of people that pop in for a green card (a process that usually takes at least 1 year and can take up to 10 years) then flit off again. I'll ask again, can you document this? I really think you're confusing visitor visa's with immigration visa's.

  10. pkennedy


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    10   9:27am Thu 24 Feb 2011   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike (1)  

    The difference is the number of people immigrating to the US vs visiting. Many countries allow in visitors more freely than the US, but then they lock up jobs more securely to prevent illegals from working, while the US has more strict visitor, but easier work permits in general.

    Yes, I've seen many people immigrate to the US on a 5 year plan, then leave. Actually far more than I would have ever suspected, usually illegal becomes legal, or parents got it and their children are then pulled over by their parents to get it, even though they don't have any intention of living here, just having it is good enough.

    With the 80K expat foreign income allowance, most people don't have to worry about US taxes abroad.

  11. pkennedy


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    11   9:33am Thu 24 Feb 2011   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like (1)   Dislike (1)  

    Hordes isn't the correct word to use for people doing this. I said the hordes who were in lebanon and stayed, they had some 25,000 living there. You don't visit there, find yourself in a war and then just stay, you stay because your life is there. People living there most likely had ties. It's not a typical tropical destination for expats.

    Many come here to work and live. Those usually have to go through employees etc. When they get a "free citizen ship card", such as parents and/or spouse, they take it, but don't necessarily stay either.

  12. American in Japan


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    12   5:43pm Thu 24 Feb 2011   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike (1)  

    @pkennedy

    >Many countries allow in visitors more freely than the US, but then they lock up jobs more securely to prevent illegals from working, while the US has more strict visitor, but easier work permits in general.

    Well said.

  13. bob2356


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    13   6:43pm Thu 24 Feb 2011   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike  

    pkennedy says

    The difference is the number of people immigrating to the US vs visiting. Many countries allow in visitors more freely than the US, but then they lock up jobs more securely to prevent illegals from working, while the US has more strict visitor, but easier work permits in general.

    All the numbers I gave were immigration visas, not visitors visas. Who are these "many countries"? I only looked at first world, since that's where most people want to immigrate to. There are quite a number of other countries around the world that have strong immigration also. Singapore and Hong Kong have 4 times as many immigrants on a percentage basis as the USA (12% for the US), most of the middle east is 40%-70% immigrants or higher. Côte d'Ivoire, Gabon, Gambia, and Libya in Africa are higher than the US, as is lot of eastern Europe. A number of countries, especially in central and south America don't have a large number of immigrants but are heavily encouraging them at this time. Chile, Panama, Costa Rica, Ecuador come to mind.

    pkennedy says

    Yes, I’ve seen many people immigrate to the US on a 5 year plan, then leave. Actually far more than I would have ever suspected, usually illegal becomes legal, or parents got it and their children are then pulled over by their parents to get it, even though they don’t have any intention of living here, just having it is good enough.

    You have seen many people come a 5 year plan? What exactly is that? Are you talking about 5 years to apply for citizenship? You seem confused on the difference between people who come for a specific time limited job (hint, the don't become citizens, they don't get a passport) vs people who plan to stay and become citizens.

    How exactly do children get pulled over without any intention of living here? Where do the kids live? They kind of have to show up to do the paperwork. Do they get shipped back to grandma in Mexico after they have their green cards? They can't do that, they will lose their green card after 12 months. Otherwise they have to say 5 years and become citizens. How do the kids know they have no intention of living here unless they are almost an adult at the time? After living in the US since they were say 5, are they going back to Mexico when they turn 18? Not very likely. The same applies to parents, they have to stay 5 years, apply for citizenship and pass the test. The sponsor has to prove they have the financial means of support for their charge for the 5 years by the way. Can you explain this mish mosh of a paragraph?

    What do you mean illegals? This entire discussion has been about visas. By definition illegals have nothing to do with visas. You keep wandering into uncharted territory.

    pkennedy says

    Many come here to work and live. Those usually have to go through employees etc. When they get a “free citizen ship card”, such as parents and/or spouse, they take it, but don’t necessarily stay either

    I'm assuming you meant to type "such as FOR parents and/or spouse". You are aware that if a permanent resident lives outside the US for more than 12 months they lose their "free citizenship card" have to go through the entire visa process again aren't you? The only way the people with a "free citizenship card" can leave for extended periods of time is to live in the US for 5 years then obtain US citizenship.

    Once more unto the breach, dear friends, once more. Can you document somehow the large numbers of people "flocking" (your word) to get citizenship then leaving after spending 5+ years living and working here to get it? You keep talking about it but I don't see your evidence. What are the numbers?

    I have no clue what you are talking about in your discussion of tourists or expats or people who want to be tourists or people who were expats or whoever the group is you are trying to talk about that was in Lebanon. What's your point and how does it relate in any way shape or form to the discussion about the ease or difficulty of obtaining residency in the USA?

  14. American in Japan


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    14   11:06pm Thu 31 Mar 2011   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike (1)  

    I think Bob2356 lives in New Zealand. It is a wonderful country in my opinion. I have been there once.

    Has anyone lived in a SE Asian country?

  15. Done!


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    15   6:25am Thu 7 Apr 2011   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like (2)   Dislike  

    I would love to live in Malaysia,if I were single.

  16. American in Japan


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    16   6:26am Thu 7 Apr 2011   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like (1)   Dislike  

    Which part... Borneo or the Peninsula?

    George

  17. zzyzzx


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    17   6:13am Thu 14 Apr 2011   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike (2)  

    I hear Poland is nice.

    I'm not sure where that quote is from though.

  18. elliemae


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    18   7:01am Thu 14 Apr 2011   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike   Protected  

    zzyzzx says

    I’m not sure where that quote is from though.

    This is all I could find...

    "Everytime I hear Wagner I feel like invading Poland." - Woody Allen.

  19. American in Japan


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    19   4:57am Wed 27 Apr 2011   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like (1)   Dislike  
  20. clambo


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    20   12:51am Wed 11 May 2011   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like (3)   Dislike  

    I have lived in two countries outside the USA. Each had pros and cons. I would surely consider living in an interesting place if the conditions were right.
    The problem is most places have weather that is inferior to where I live.
    I've spent a few months in Japan also, and visited Hong Kong and China. Sometimes I was freaking out at how many people there are, so I would probably not adjust to that part of the world.
    If I mention girls and food in Asia some guys will get pissed off at me, so I won't.
    Since I speak Spanish I could someday consider retiring to Baja Mexico or some other latin countries that may be mellow enough. I would avoid the rest of Mexico.
    I like scuba diving, exploring, hiking, boats, etc. so this makes Baja attractive to me.
    Living in a foreign country long term may be tough because some people have attitudes towards Americans.

  21. clambo


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    21   12:53am Wed 11 May 2011   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like (1)   Dislike  

    If I could retire anywhere I wished, I would consider Australia. I have not been to New Zealand, but it probably is a good choice too. I liked Quebec and New Brunswick Canada but only in the summer.

  22. American in Japan


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    22   1:11am Wed 11 May 2011   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like (1)   Dislike (1)  

    I like New Zealand a lot. The only drawback there for me is that it is inconvenient/ expensive to travel to other countries from there...

  23. Done!


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    23   6:50am Sat 9 Jul 2011   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike  

    American in Japan says

    Which part... Borneo or the Peninsula?

    George

    Kuala Lumpur

    What a harmonious town.

  24. thunderlips11


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    24   11:54am Sat 9 Jul 2011   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike   Protected  

    Tenouncetrout says

    I would love to live in Malaysia,if I were single.

    Indonesia, too :)

    Ahh, I had the joy of visiting the region when I was 25, thin, blonde, and single. So many diverse beauties in all kinds of builds, skin tones, etc.

    Singapore is clean, nice, and yet scary for it's Company Town sort of undertone. Too Kiasu for me.

    American in Japan says

    I like New Zealand a lot. The only drawback there for me is that it is inconvenient/ expensive to travel to other countries from there...

    NZ is good for any young person who can't find a job. I know several kids who just went down there after graduation and they were both employed in a week at standard, middle class wages. In the US, they were working menial jobs for several years out of college. However, the traveling IS brutal.

  25. thunderlips11


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    25   3:18pm Sat 9 Jul 2011   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike   Protected  

    Speaking of life in Singapore, Maids don't have a single day off:

    If you're a domestic maid in Singapore, there's no such thing as the weekend. Since employers are not legally bound to grant days off, the weeks never end.

    In the country that officially works the longest hours in the world, where one in six families has domestic help, the legal right to a day off has long seemed unthinkable for maids.

    But a government minister's suggestion that a mandatory rest day could minimise stress has reignited a long-standing debate in Singapore over workers' rights.

    Halimah Yacob, Singapore's minister for community development, health and sports, says domestic workers need one day a week to "rest and recuperate". The government has said it is "studying the suggestion".

    But no legal right to a day off isn't the only problem for Singapore's 201,000 domestic workers, for whom there is, perhaps not surprisingly, no minimum wage either. It's the attitudes of their employers – and indeed the country at large – that stands in the way of progress.


    "Are maids really that overworked?" asked schoolteacher Low Ai Choo, in a letter to the local Straits Times. "My maid has a day off once a month. Every time she comes back from her outings she appears even more tired and listless, and needs to recuperate from her outing.

    "My maid is the one who goes to bed by nine every night and my husband and I are the ones still up way beyond nine to tuck in our children and catch up with school work."

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/jul/08/singapore-domestic-workers-rights

    She lazy: Get whole day off each month, lah! She also clean all house tile with toothbrush very bad! I spank her many times with belt. She make 1 Sing Dollar each day plus plate scraps, sleep on kitchen floor, I treat like princess.

    Ah, the free market at work. Can't believe Singapore is considering such socialism. What's next, a minimum wage for domestic help?

  26. bob2356


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    26   8:45am Sun 10 Jul 2011   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike  

    thunderlips11 says

    NZ is good for any young person who can't find a job. I know several kids who just went down there after graduation and they were both employed in a week at standard, middle class wages.

    Doing what, on what type of visa?

  27. thunderlips11


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    27   11:25am Sun 10 Jul 2011   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike   Protected  

    The guy got a job as a drafter and the gal is a teacher.

    The guy says there is a lot of construction jobs thanks to the Earthquake.

    I do know they both found employment within a few weeks.

    I don't know what Visa they got this time, but they had went 2-3 years ago and worked in the hospitality industry on some kind of seasonal work visa. This time they are looking to stay permanently.

    I think they're working on a blog about their experience, I'll post the link when it's up.

  28. bob2356


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    28   8:41pm Sun 10 Jul 2011   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike  

    That still makes no sense. You have to have a job offer and go through the visa qualifications process before you go in order to get a work visa. I'm only interested because people have asked me about working here and it's the first time I've heard of anyone coming first then getting a job except on the 1 year working holiday visa but that's 1 time only and you must be under 30. It can't be extended into any kind of residency visa. Post the link if you get it. I have a couple friends interested in working here I would like to pass it on to. I'm really curious how anyone could get a teaching position in a couple weeks. The qualifications process alone normally takes 3-5 months if everything goes smoothly.

  29. thunderlips11


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    29   9:18am Mon 11 Jul 2011   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike   Protected  

    Bob, no idea, sorry man. I'm not real sure about the nitty-gritty of it all. I bet they DID do the Holiday Visa before, as they both worked in some kind of cabin thing on the South Island a short while before to going to NZ permanently.

  30. bob2356


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    30   11:54am Mon 11 Jul 2011   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike  

    Thanks for responding. Be interesting to read how, I would just like the info to pass on to some other people who are currently looking into their options. Post the blog if you ever get it.

  31. simchaland


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    31   12:49pm Mon 11 Jul 2011   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like (2)   Dislike  

    Somehow I've missed this thread.

    I did live and work in Paris, France in the mid 1990's as an International Market Analyst off and on for a couple of years. I studied French along side my finance degree at the Bachelor's level. But I really wasn't great at speaking French until I was forced to use it in the office and just while just living my life in Paris.

    I remember the first time I was left alone in the office and I had to answer the phone to take a message. The caller didn't speak any English, of course. I was good at laughing at myself and asking the caller to slow down because I was an American still learning how to speak French. I was able to take the message. I translated it into English. My boss was American. After a few weeks, I felt more comfortable because I was immersed in a sea of French and I was thinking in French. That was the main hurdle, to start thinking in French instead of English.

    I would travel back and forth from Paris to the US and I felt like I lived in two countries/continents for a couple of years. I always had a period of adjustment when moving back and forth. After the first couple of times, I got used to it and I became very fluent in French.

    I was able to take small excursions on the weekends to cities in Northern France. Chartres and Reims / Eperney were two of my favorite excursions. I actually saw a Rothschild wedding at Chartres Cathedral.

    Of course, I spent lots of time exploring Paris. I could go back and still find my way around easily. I knew it like I knew the back of my hand. Even though I've seen much of Paris, I still could see more. I've been to many unusual places in Paris, having made friends there who showed me around and offered me warm hospitality. I even went back to visit some of them when I wasn't working there anymore.

    I liked the pace of life in Paris and the attitude around work better than the pace of life in the US and the attitudes we workaholic Americans have around work. Often my French colleagues would be overwhelmed during "busy times" that seemed to me like a typical day in the home office back in the US.

    The French work to live. We Americans live to work. I liked the hour to two hour lunch over a shared bottle of wine in the early afternoons when at the office. Not much got done for the first hour after returning to the office. But we stayed later than in the American office. After work (always sometime after 7:00pm or so) we would go out to get a light dinner and to socialize, enjoying what Paris had to offer. A lot of important work got done in the Paris office and it was the main office in Europe. The business expanded a lot when I was working there. So, what at first what looked like a non-chalant attitude toward work to an American eye, was actually a way of working intelligently so that much would be accomplished but without the stress I always experienced in the American office.

    We never took work home in the Paris office. People didn't come in on weekends there. I have to say that in the American office while people seemed to live at the office, they got very little actually done. Everyone was busy "looking busy" in a frenzy of activity that wasn't very productive most times, but very stressful. Sure there was a frenzied pace, but little actual progress seemed to be made on important projects until the deadline would approach. The boss's expectation was that you lived to serve the company and you were supposed to make big sacrifices to be at the office after hours, before hours, and on weekends. It was infuriating to me after a while because I learned to get my work, plus a little extra, done during the actual official hours of operation and I'd be called upon to come in on my free time to help others with work that they didn't get done because they weren't focused during the official hours of operation. And it didn't matter that I got more work done in fewer hours than my workmates. The boss judged your commitment to your job by the amount of hours spent at work and the amount of work you took home with you. The amount of work that you did was of less importance than showing that you had great commitment to the company by spending more time there and taking your work home.

    The French office was more laid back, but when at the office, they were all about business and the work would actually get done during the hours of operation without the need to come in early, to stay late, to come in on weekends, or to take work home. People seemed to remain more focused and didn't feel the pressure to "look busy." The boss expected that the work would get done during normal operating hours that went little later because of the longer lunch break. But because employees seemed to be truly rested and less stressed, they were able to focus better on their work during the actual official hours of operation. In that office you were judged by how much work you actually accomplished during the day, rather than how much time you spent at the office "looking busy."

    Also, in the French office, they had job security because French workers made contracts with not just the employer, but also with the government. An employer has to prove a case against a worker to the government before terminating an employee. Therefore the French employees didn't fear their bosses like the American employees did. It allowed for more creativity, less stress, and the employees genuinely wanted to be productive during work hours.

    There is a down side to that system too. If you have a troublesome employee, you may have to keep him or her longer than is prudent in order to build your case against him or her to terminate the contract.

    Also, the work visa system in Paris was notoriously slow and Byzantine. Inspectors would come to check visas occasionally. Sometimes when I was "between visas" and waiting for important papers to be processed by the bureaucracy in Paris, I would have to pretend to be French when an inspector would stop by. Or, if that inspector was someone who had come before, I'd make myself scarce during the inspection.

    I gained so much from the experience of working in Paris. It has given me a different perspective on employment, business, and life that I wouldn' thave gotten otherwise.

  32. American in Japan


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    32   7:28am Tue 9 Aug 2011   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike  

    @simchaland

    Thanks for the story...I have been to Paris only once.
    I didn't take the rudeness personally as an American...My French friend said everyone is just rude to everyone–other French included.

  33. Huntington Moneyworth III, Esq


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    33   8:00pm Thu 25 Aug 2011   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like (2)   Dislike  

    In my youth I spent 10 weeks in an opium induced haze living in a caravan crossing the Arabian desert. A local sheikh invited me to stay with him and enjoy the luxurious bounty of his trade. I particularly enjoyed the varied ample bossomed women in his accompanyment. He was quite a rogue.

    Unfortunately, my friend was later killed by the British for smuggling arms.

  34. American in Japan


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    34   3:15am Wed 28 Sep 2011   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like (1)   Dislike  

    For what it's worth:

    2011 Country RepTrak™ Global Ranking
    Rank * Country * 2011 Country RepTrak™ Score
    1 Canada 74.8
    2 Sweden 74.7
    3 Australia 74.3
    4 Switzerland 74.2
    5 New Zealand 73.1
    6 Norway 73.1
    7 Denmark 71.9
    8 Finland 70.5
    9 Austria 69.4
    10 Netherlands 68.7
    11 Germany 68.3
    12 Japan 67.2
    13 Belgium 65.6
    14 Italy 64.6
    15 UK 64.2
    16 Spain 63.7
    17 Ireland 63.6
    18 France 62.1
    19 Portugal 58.1
    20 Singapore 58.0

    Source: http://www.sacbee.com/2011/09/27/3942379/canada-is-the-country-with-the.html#ixzz1ZEzMr400

  35. marcus


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    35   5:59am Wed 28 Sep 2011   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like (3)   Dislike (1)  

    That's about reputation which is about perception. Obviously those voting were influenced by the anti-American liberal global media. Any kind of true ranking of what country is the best place to live must be wrong if it doesn't put the US in the top two or three.

    That pisses me off that the liberal global media gets away with publishing that bs.

    Don't they know about American exceptionalism ? The ungrateful idiots don't even appreciate all the things we do fighting for freedom all around the world.

  36. American in Japan


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    36   6:46am Thu 29 Sep 2011   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike  

    I talk to a lot of people from dozens of countries (not all liberals BTW) and this list seems somewhat accurate. What mainly hurt the US (for what it is worth) was the invasion of Iraq pushed by Cheney and Co. I do agree *some* people are anti-American no matter what, but I put them in their place.

  37. ¥


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    37   8:52am Thu 29 Sep 2011   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like (2)   Dislike (1)  

    marcus says

    Any kind of true ranking of what country is the best place to live must be wrong if it doesn't put the US in the top two or three.

    no no, America is clearly #1, if you are independently wealthy.

  38. mdovell


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    38   9:56am Thu 29 Sep 2011   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike  

    It all depends what people want in order to live.

    Some people like beaches...I could care less

    I rather be in a city myself. I know people from the midwest that act like Boston is a big city..after being in Shanghai and Beijing every city in the USA for the most part feels like a small town (except NYC).

    I've been to France. Paris, Nimes, Avignon, Marsailles and Nice. Nice was good although I could do without the rocky beach...funny as hell to see rules posted and everyone breaking them (no selling food on the beach, no parasailing, no dogs on the beach).

    In terms of actually immigrating to another country I think the USA has lower standards than most of the EU and Canada. For visa's it varies quite a bit. China has standards that are a bit low but enforcement is lax.

    It should be noted that there is right of blood and right of soil in terms of citizenship. A fair amount of the USA probably can become citizens of other countries with the right paperwork. Ireland used to be extremely generous but it has changed over the past few decades.

  39. bob2356


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    39   2:39pm Thu 29 Sep 2011   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like (1)   Dislike (1)  

    marcus says

    That's about reputation which is about perception. Obviously those voting were influenced by the anti-American liberal global media. Any kind of true ranking of what country is the best place to live must be wrong if it doesn't put the US in the top two or three.

    Depends on who you are talking to. Best place to live for what? For the poor who have no chance of coming to the US yes I'm sure it's top of their list. For people with education, starting to build skills and a career it's a toss up. For the people with established businesses and/or careers, no way. For retirees, absolutely no way.

    The anti American liberal global media?? What is that? We managed to tarnish our image on a regular basis without even realizing it most of the time. Incredibly insensitive or just plain stupid statements by US politicians who have zero international experience, rude (very rude frequently) demanding us tourists, government officials misbehaving while stationed overseas, state visits that turn into abbot and costello routines, etc., etc.. Then Iraq happened. The US will never recover its' image. Decades of good will post ww II went right down the toilet.

    The difference in peoples perception of America pre Iraq vs post Iraq is sharp and not at all good. People in general used to like Americans as individuals but disliked many of American government policies. That is no longer true many places.

    The Us will never shake the worldwide believe that the Iraq invasion was an oil grab or that America is totally hypocritical in lecturing other countries about democracy and human rights while running Guantanamo and doing renditions of people to other countries to be tortured. Sad to say I never travel on my US passport any more unless I am returning to the states where I have to use it. I never know who is watching or why. I also really don't want DHS scrutinizing where I've been and when. Paranoid, but lot's of totally innocent people have had very bad problems with DHS.

  40. marcus


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    40   4:41pm Thu 29 Sep 2011   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like (1)   Dislike  

    I was being facetious. In reality I think we deserve many of the opinions the world has about us.

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