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American working abroad

  1. Aug 30, 2007 #1
    Anyone have any experience with getting jobs overseas (as an American)?

    Particularly looking for jobs in Mech. engineering.
  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 31, 2007 #2


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    Do you have a British or Irish grandparent?
    If you can get a UK/Eire passport you can work anywhere in the EU - the same is of course true for any other EU passport holder but i don't know what their rules are for handing them out.
    In most techncial jobs most people wll speak english and you can probably get by without any other language. The easisest countries to work in are probably UK/Germany/Holland, there is no shortage of engineering jobs at the moment.
  4. Sep 2, 2007 #3
    generally the irish government is being a little more stringent about this then they used to be asso many people are now trying to get into ireland. you also need to prove that either your parent or grandparent was born in ireland

    however, if you can get the company that you are applying to spnsor you for a work permit you should not have too hard a time about getting one for at least a year.

    Asian countries are a little different, but if you can again find a sponsor company to employee you and sponsor you should have little problems.

    though in both cases it depends on what qualifications you have so the more desierable you look on paper the better.

    While Germany and the Netherlands, English fluency is pretty high, but like any long term expat position if you make little or no effort to learn the local language you will be a bit isolated.(this will be true for any non English speaking country) also while i work with many people who are fluent in written English many of them have difficulties communicating verbally.
  5. Sep 11, 2007 #4
    Thanks guys,

    I'm primarily looking to work in Germany or the UK, with hopes for permanent immigration to anywhere in the EU.

    I guess it would be different country to country, but how would a work visa go? If I worked for however long, would I eventually get naturalized citizenship or something, similar to what (I hear) can happen in the US?

    Anyone got reading on the topic?
  6. Sep 11, 2007 #5


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  7. Sep 11, 2007 #6
    I was hired by a Japanese company as a software engineer and lived there for 9 years. Once I got hired, the company did all the paperwork to get me a working visa. I was actually sent back to the states to work at a subsidiary while the visa was pending. I spoke passable Japanese when I started there, but by the time I quit, I was speaking fluently. I made no attempt to reproduce an American lifestyle while there, it would have been too expensive anyway. As I did not live in a big city, I was isolated from any Americans. My friends were either Japanese, Korean permanent residents, or Chinese foreigners. My wife is Chinese, we met at language school there. If this isolation would bother you, then make an effort to live in or near a big city. If you are looking for a foreign spouse, then it should be no problem. That's all I can think of just now, but if you have specific questions, post them.

    p.s. I never tried to obtain Japanese citizenship, and I understand it would have been next to impossible if I did. I don't know about this matter in Europe. My children were born in Japan and obtained immediate US citizenship, there was no way they could have gotten Japanese citizenship even if I had desired it. My wife got an expedited visa and was naturalized as a US citizen in a couple of years after we moved back here.
    Last edited: Sep 11, 2007
  8. Sep 12, 2007 #7
    I know personally as i am going through this at the moment that UK immigration laws are surch that once you have been approved and had what is called an 'limited leave to remain' for 5 years you can apply for an 'indefinate leave to remain' once you have aquired this you are on the road to citizenship. that said not sure what happens next as i have two more years to get through before i will think about that.

    in Germany, my wife looked into it and it is basically the same process.
  9. Sep 13, 2007 #8
    Excellent, thanks guys.

    I am not looking for a spouse, and I say the isolation won't bother me now, but I guess I have no idea how it would affect me.

    A specific, but unrelated to immigration/working, question would be about language learning. I can imagine that Japanese would be one of the hard languages to learn coming from English. How long did it take you to consider yourself "fluent" or at least an appreciable fraction of it? Were you speaking it constantly, or were there some English speaking locals helping you at first?
  10. Sep 13, 2007 #9
    One of the most difficult aspects of Japanese is its indirectness. The wrong way to say please open the window is "Please open the window", much better would be "Boy it sure is stuffy in here". You need to be immersed not only in the language but also in the culture.

    I suppose everyone has their own criterion for what fluent means. I can't say exactly what goals I reached before I gave myself that adjective, but by the time I left, I could understand almost everything in casual conversation and about 90% of television broadcasts. There came a time when I no longer translated in my head but simply understood the Japanese in place. I had very few opportunities to speak English and that certainly helped. Although I could not speak Japanese when I arrived, I could read it and that was a big help. I once asked a bunch of people where they went for skiing. After I asked they huddled and chattered in animated fashion for over a minute. I interrupted them and asked them what they were discussing. It turns out they were trying to figure out what I had asked them.
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