Ovid (publius_ovidius) wrote,

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When I entered the 9th grade, I was only 14 years old. I had a choice between learning Spanish or French. Even though Spanish is spoken in Europe, to my mind, French seemed so much more associated with Europe (to be fair, they were teaching "Mexican" Spanish), so I chose it instantly. There was no hesitation because even three decades ago I knew I wanted to be in Europe. It wasn't a well-thought out thing, it was just part of my sense of adventure.

Now that I'm here, it's lovely. I don't sit down laboring over health care plans, trying to figure out which one to accept -- assuming an employer offers one. I'm not trying to figure out how to make the most of my one week off a year.¹ Health care and being allowed to enjoy life are not "perks" here. And I never imagined being able to enjoy my three daily meals in three separate countries, as I did a couple of months ago (breakfast in Germany, lunch in Switzerland and dinner in Italy). Over 200 languages are spoken in London alone, there's fascinating history everywhere, Paris is a couple of hours away by train and recently, it took me longer to get to the airport than it did to fly to Frankfurt.

Why the hell would anyone pass up the chance to live over here? Life is good, there's a great safety net and there's so much to constantly see and do, plus people understand that the world is round, something many Americans don't get. Despite all of this, when I've had American friends who qualify for various positions over here, every single one of them has said "no". Every. Single. One.

So, if you're an American and you would turn down an opportunity to live and work in Europe (or overseas in general), why?

1. For people outside the US: large companies in the US often start you at two weeks vacation, but they're not legally required to offer you any. I worked at one Web company for around 3 or so years, with only one week's holiday a year. I also turned down a job from a database consultancy partly because they offered no holiday a year.
Tags: travel
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