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How did you end up an expat?

(36 Posts)
zzzzz Mon 14-Aug-17 10:53:01

Partly curious and partly looking for ideas, I grew up an expat, came back to the uk for university and married and settled here. Dh is an it contractor and we are coming to one of those years where we could make a move without messing up school and parents are settled for a bit. We both want to try living outside the eu for a bit and to give the children the experience of living elsewhere.
So how did you end up where you are and has it been a positive experience? Do you long to come home or revel in your new lives? Is it better financially or are you treading water to get the experience?

Orangebird69 Mon 14-Aug-17 11:51:11

I'm expat. From the uk. Dh's career took us to the ME. Financially it's incredible. Emotionally harder but for our purposes, worth it. We don't plan to remain as expats past 2020. We should have achieved what we want by then.

Sayatidaknama Mon 14-Aug-17 11:55:48

We went because it's where DH's business is. We enjoyed ourselves mostly but did long to come home too (we are now back). Financially it was the right thing to do but emotionally it was very hard at times.

Ishouldbedoingsomething Mon 14-Aug-17 11:56:35

Came for DH work - family life is way better than in the U.K. But I had to give up my career and its really annoying me now - don't know why perhaps due to the age of the kids. I don't see us coming back to the UK anytime soon

mrsnec Mon 14-Aug-17 12:02:34

Dh's parents retired here and set him up in business as he was about to be made redundant in the UK. I gave up my job and never found one here but became an sahm instead. Dh is bored of his job and worries about the education system here and future for our children and is contemplating a move back but the idea fills me with dread!

Auchan Mon 14-Aug-17 12:09:13

Trailing spouse!

Luckily up to now I've been in a job that means that I can do it anywhere but the impending move from Ireland to Switzerland means I won't be able to take this job with me due to the cost of the headcount in Switzerland.

I'm about to start a degree in something that is so completely different from what I'm doing now that I wouldn't have been able to dream of doing it where we are currently.

zzzzz Mon 14-Aug-17 12:34:09

Lovely stories. Have most of you stayed at the same job throughout?

I think both of us would jump at FE or ME, though I'm not sure it can match London for ££s in IT.

Orangebird69 Mon 14-Aug-17 12:44:08

Depends where in the ME and how good you are at negotiating. KSA is by far the cheapest place to live with the highest salary mix. If you can negotiate good accommodation/allowance for, plus flights/bonuses etc it works out very lucrative. In a similar position in the UK, my dh could probably command the same salary gross, but not net. Then obviously in the uk, out of the lower net, you've got your cost of living. Essentially, in our situation, we're about 3/4k A MONTH better off than we are in the UK. And that doesn't include any bonuses or salary that I earn. It's hard and the lifestyle within KSA is a trade off but with an end target it's totally doable. A few years of sacrifice for an easier life long term for our family is worth it. It does take a lot of consideration to actually do it and a lot of adjustment when you do it at first. Not for the feint hearted.

Cantseethewoods Mon 14-Aug-17 12:51:22

IT is not particularly lucrative in HK or Singapore as it's possible to hire locally for all but the most specialist positions (and sometimes they will also recruit for v senior positions overseas) and those locations are also not considered hardship postings so there's no guarantee of a package unless they are desperate to have you. Also, increasing amounts of development work is being outsourced to China and India. Financially, tax is low (15%) but rents are very high and you cant really use local (government) schools so if not on a package, you are likely to be worse off if you're not on 200k+

zzzzz Mon 14-Aug-17 12:54:35

UAE seems to have a better selection of secondary schools? We're not a very shiny shopping family though so that side of things wouldn't really appeal. I think we'd have to go where the work was, but schools are a necessity.

Cantseethewoods Mon 14-Aug-17 12:59:25

UAE is the best country to live in in terms of lifestyle, being the most liberal of the gulf states (Dubai more so than Abu Dhabi). I lived there for a while about a decade ago. I'm not a shopper and I found stuff to do, but I prefer somewhere a bit greener.

Where did you grow up, out of interest?

Cantseethewoods Mon 14-Aug-17 12:59:52

I meant, best country of the gulf states, not best overall.

zzzzz Mon 14-Aug-17 13:02:16

I don't think anyone could consider HK or Singapore a hardship grin. I'd rather do somewhere like KL where we could have a house rather than a flat.

Aebj Mon 14-Aug-17 13:02:49

I was a sahm when we left the UK. Ds1 had nearly finished reception when we left.
We moved with dh job. We love it here. I have found myself a lovely school friendly hours job. Lifestyle is great. Biggest regret is that we didn't do it sooner. Have been back once in the last 8 years.

Thiswayorthatway Mon 14-Aug-17 13:06:03

We came to Switzerland with DH's job. A generous financial package helps ease you through the settling in period and tough early months. We love it here, a great outdoor lifestyle.

Zimmerzammerbangbang Mon 14-Aug-17 13:16:42

You don't have to be a shiny shopping family to do the UAE. That's a stereotype. There's lots of that stereotype about but there's lots of people who aren't as well.

That said Dubai has some of the most expensive international schools in the world and it is very rare now to have a package that covers all fees. I think only Hong Kong and China are in similar leagues(according to a survey I saw recently).

zzzzz Mon 14-Aug-17 13:24:12

I know what Dubai is like, what I meant is that isn't the draw. I lived there in the 80s and have been a couple of times since (unrecognisable!).

Cantseethewoods Mon 14-Aug-17 13:33:54

I don't think anyone could consider HK or Singapore a hardship grin. I'd rather do somewhere like KL where we could have a house rather than a flat.

Ooh, you say that but yesterday I couldnt get an umbrella round the pool grin. You could get a house in Singapore for same price as a condo- my friend lives in a gorgeous black and white.

zzzzz Mon 14-Aug-17 13:34:46

Really?! Sgrin

Cantseethewoods Mon 14-Aug-17 13:35:01


Cantseethewoods Mon 14-Aug-17 13:36:33

Crazy, but true

The locals dont like the B&W houses becuase "they're old" so the government rents them out quite cheap. You need to be quite committed though as need to provide all own white goods/ air cons/ fans etc.

Right- got to dash. GOT is on - living the #expatdream

Kursk Mon 14-Aug-17 13:37:05

I am half American, but lived in the UK all my life. Quality of life in the UK for us was decreasing and we set off to the USA to seek a better life and never looked back

zzzzz Mon 14-Aug-17 14:29:36

Kursk, so were you an expat here or there grin.

I do wonder if it's a bit of a pipe dream. I can see if your company want to send you it's doable, but I never see job adverts either. Perhaps there are specialist agents?

Zimmerzammerbangbang Mon 14-Aug-17 15:25:52

I don't know for IT Contracting but in my area there are specialist agents.

Note that the job situation isn't great in a lot of the gulf at the moment btw - big redundancies going on. I don't know what type of IT Contractor your DH is but the GCC also 'suffers' a glut of well qualified candidates from the sub-continent which means that you might find salaries aren't that great. That won't be an issue if he's very specialised but it does impact salaries in (for example) tech support and similar fields.

RedSandYellowSand Mon 14-Aug-17 15:40:40

DH got a message via LinkedIn. His company were making redundancies. Mine were restructuring, and the outcome was unacceptable to me (I told them they needed to find me a role with an alternative manager or I'd quit), and we got a call asking us we would consider Saudi. So we moved.
It's got us off the treadmill. I'm now a SAHM (my career has probably gone forever at the level i was at) but we are ££££ better off every month.

If you know companies who operate in areas (geographical and occupation wise) look on the websites.

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