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Old 07-17-2011, 09:05 PM   #1
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Thinking about moving abroad

I have always wanted to move abroad for a few years with the kids- for the experience and possibly to stay. Due to some crazy family circumstances I may get that opportunity sometime within the next few months.
I think right now Germany is my #1 option, but I have a question for all you Mamas who made international moves with children. How do you limit what you bring? What did you bring? Did you get rid of everything else or keep stuff in a storage unit or with relatives? I think I can dump a lot of stuff but I would still have quite a few boxes of just necessities.
Can any Germany Mamas tell me what I can expect the housing situation to be like with 3 children? Love to hear back on this

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Old 07-18-2011, 08:55 AM   #2
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Re: Thinking about moving abroad

We live in Germany. Were a service family so I don't have much to offer as far as limiting what to bring because they pay to move us, but keep in mind the biggest issue is the difference in electricity voltage. That right there will eliminate a TON of stuff. From appliances all the way to lightbulbs. If you choose to keep things that require to be plugged in, you will either need plug converters if your appliances are dual voltage(sockets here are round) or a transformer if it is not dual voltage. I would recommend anything not dual voltage, unless you want to be eaten alive by the elec. companies. Im not sure if its just me, but what Ive noticed is that you can get the largest of houses or the tiniest of apartments/studios, and all furniture and appliances are still "fun sized". Washers, dryers, fridges, ovens, micros, dishwashers, sinks, cabinets, etc. are all much much smaller. Like half size. Im sure there are bigger, but American standards are not that of Germany's. Houses can get really big here, but keep in mind many do not have as many options for extra storage space. You have your rooms of course, but if you need an attic, garage, shed, or junk room you need to specify that. Germany does not come with closets. You have whats called a "shrank" (sp?) which you can get small or big that is essentially the same thing. Just not built in. Fully furnished here means that your house comes with the basic living essentials. Cabinets, oven, dishwasher possibly, fridge, sinks, counters, tub, toilet, etc. Sometimes more, sometimes less. When you rent or buy, your purchasing a completely empty house with toilets and tubs, and thats it 99 percent of the time. Although im convinced if they could take those too, they would lol. Carpet is not common, its usually wood or tile. Beds are different in measurements, so if you want American standards make sure they will last you a while. Frames and mattresses will not fit opposite countries. Make sure you bring clothes that are for all seasons. It can either get REALLY hot or REALLY cold. Everything is recycled here. Everything. If it were on my own dime, I would bring bare minimum furniture I couldn't live without and clothes. Thats it. They utilize every inch of space here, so things that need to be on the ground like dressers, stands, etc. may or may not fit. Depends on how big your home is. The initial move will be expensive, and even if you bring alot, there will be alot you will have to replace. It is nice to live here, but keep in mind it is not the U.S. Nothing is as convenient, everything is expensive, but it is easy to get used too. They are up to par with the us as far as quality of life and expectations, if not more. So food, healthcare, transportation, etc is really nothing to worry about. Alot of people speak English too. Germany is perfectly located as far as traveling goes, so thats a plus. Good luck! There are plenty more ppl that can add to what ive forgotten or need corrected!
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Old 07-18-2011, 09:12 PM   #3
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Re: Thinking about moving abroad

Thanks for the info! That is about in line with everything I have managed to come up with. I am having trouble finding out about working over there. Is there a website I can go too in order to figure out work visa requirements? From everything I have seen you need a job to get one but you need to have one in order to get a job....
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Old 07-23-2011, 11:31 AM   #4
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Re: Thinking about moving abroad

Have you looked at this.
http://www.coyotecommunications.com/germany/basics.html
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Old 07-29-2011, 12:25 PM   #5
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Re: Thinking about moving abroad

I'm living here under the SOFA agreement too- so I don't know about coming over by myself.

I went to the official U.S. German embassy site and couldn't find much info on a work VISA but they had a link for a expat site and there is good information on legally entering Germany and getting work Visas, etc.
http://www.expatica.com/de/essentials_moving_to/essentials/How-to-move-to-Germany-legally_-visas-and-citizenship.html

I had a friend that got a job with a U.S. contractor in England but the company was sort of shady. They would pay for his plane ticket over but not to move anything over. So he ended up selling most everything he had, shipped some stuff to us (we were stationed in England at the time) and whatever clothes he could cram into his suitcases.

If it were me, I'd bring keepsakes, clothing and some of their favorite toys and sell everything else. Paying out of pocket for an international moving company can run into the tens of thousands of dollars. You might as well just sell what you can and just buy IKEA stuff or buy used once you get here.

I remember as a military brat, my parents were always trying to weed out all the toys we had before a move. Something that helped was my parents told us that when we got to our new home, we could buy two new toys if we gave away this huge pile of toys we never used. I know it's bribery, but it worked

Housing depends on where you plan to move. If it's anywhere near a U.S. military base, expect to pay a lot more for less house. Landlords know they can get more money for their homes because military has Uncle Sugar paying the rent The only thing that stinks here is if you use a realtor to find a rental home, you as the renter have to pay the realtor a "finder's fee" of usually a month's rent.

To get more detailed info about the work visa, I'd go to the U.S. German embassy website and e-mail them. I e-mailed the U.K. embassy with questions about my visa since I was born in England. They got back to me within a day and answered all my questions. This way you can get an official answer.
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Old 07-29-2011, 08:55 PM   #6
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Re: Thinking about moving abroad

I did get a quote for moving a rooms worth of stuff (all I would take over if we moved) looks to be in the range of $1500-$2000. So I guess if we decide to move we will be saving for awhile first
I think you have to have a years worth of $$ in the bank to be viewed as stable and looks like about 6months rent just to move into an apartment. From what I can tell...
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