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Living abroad, but not knowing the language

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    After my Actuarial Science degree I'm desperate to leave the country.


    My first choices are the likes of the USA, Australia and Canada but as a backup I'm thinking mainland Europe.

    The 3 places I'm thinking about are Spain, Portugal and Germany. How easy is it to relocate and then pick up the language there?
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    It will be incredibly incredibly difficult to gain a greed card to live in the US. Not sure about Canada but I'd assume that would be abit easier. Australia is reasonably easy to immigrate to though.

    Why would you want to live in Spain, Portugal or Germany anyway? It would take years to become fluent in the language!
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    Yes, its ridiculously hard to get a work permit in USA. Whereas Canada its easy, they want more intellect to improve their country; someone living there told me. Australia, you just get sixth month visa when you arrive at the airport and pay like £10.

    Picking up a language, personally I have found it really hard.
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    Hi,

    If you have not done any of the languages before - Spanish, Portuguese of German, it would be pretty hard, I mean you can always learn it if you are determind, but for being able to use that language in a working environment could be really difficult for a few years. btw. the easiest out of those 3 languages is Spanish and it is fairly easy to move and start working in them....technically - but as we know, Spain and Portugal are not very well economically these days, so to get a job, Germany is the safest of them.

    ...and as it's been already mentioned, Australia will probably be the easiest to immigrate to (and the weather is nice!!!)...but than it also depends on what chance of getting a job you have in each place. What if you contact the ambassy of each of them to find out for sure?


    edit - have you done any foreign language before? If you did and you haven't forgotten too much, maybe you could consider a country where it's spoken?
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    When I graduated, I moved to Croatia without knowing a word. Within three months I had a basic vocab and could have simple conversations - shops, restaurants etc. colleagues spoke English, so that wasn't too hard, and I made English speaking friends at language classes. It wasn't easy, and can feel isolating, but was brilliant, and if I could have stayed longer, I would have. I'm nit great at languages, but found living there, and having to use it, a very different experience to learning a language at school.
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    (Original post by Stumaj)
    Hi,

    If you have not done any of the languages before - Spanish, Portuguese of German, it would be pretty hard, I mean you can always learn it if you are determind, but for being able to use that language in a working environment could be really difficult for a few years. btw. the easiest out of those 3 languages is Spanish and it is fairly easy to move and start working in them....technically - but as we know, Spain and Portugal are not very well economically these days, so to get a job, Germany is the safest of them.

    ...and as it's been already mentioned, Australia will probably be the easiest to immigrate to (and the weather is nice!!!)...but than it also depends on what chance of getting a job you have in each place. What if you contact the ambassy of each of them to find out for sure?


    edit - have you done any foreign language before? If you did and you haven't forgotten too much, maybe you could consider a country where it's spoken?


    I know German to GCSE level and only very basic in the Iberian languages.
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    Unlike you have some sort of amazing in demand skill or are sponsored by your company (or get married to an American or have an American parent) you can't move to the US, so that's out.

    For Australia and Canada - again, if you're thinking of permanent residence, you can't just get a visa that easily. You need to be on their wanted skills list, which is usually manual jobs (plumber, chef etc) or a teacher/nurse etc.

    BUT you can get working holiday visas for each of these countries as long as you're 'young' (under 30), have no criminal record, and have a decent stash of money (a few thousand pounds) to keep you going for a while when you first arrive. For Australia you can apply online at the government's immigration website year round -you're likely to the one year visa within the week. If you want to make it two years then you need to do three months of agricultural work i.e. fruit picking.

    For Canada it's a bit more complicated. You can get two one year visas to work anywhere in Canada. There is a limited number of visas (around 5000) and they are released every year in December or January. This years visas (that were released in Dec 2011) just ran out. The process takes a good few months - I applied in March and am still waiting for my final confirmation, even though I have an allocated place.

    OP - you might already know these details, but I'm clarifying since a few people on this post gave incorrect info....
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    Well if you want to be an actuary I think your priority would be studying the maths you need for your actuarial exams and get qualified. If the US, Australia or Canada are your top choices then it would be easier to get qualified in the UK and then look to get a job in one of those countries as a fully qualified actuary.

    If you don't already have the language then Europe is likely to be a very difficult option, you won't be able to get a graduate level job there without already knowing the language anyway, you will be fighting for bar jobs etc with a lot of others in an environment of very high unemployment and end up wasting years when your peers are getting up on you in qualifying.
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    (Original post by MagicNMedicine)
    Well if you want to be an actuary I think your priority would be studying the maths you need for your actuarial exams and get qualified. If the US, Australia or Canada are your top choices then it would be easier to get qualified in the UK and then look to get a job in one of those countries as a fully qualified actuary.

    If you don't already have the language then Europe is likely to be a very difficult option, you won't be able to get a graduate level job there without already knowing the language anyway, you will be fighting for bar jobs etc with a lot of others in an environment of very high unemployment and end up wasting years when your peers are getting up on you in qualifying.

    Well this sucks. Maybe I could at least go to England at first and it will feel like being away. Why couldn't I qualify in AUS/US/CAN?


    As for Europe, I thought most financial companies over Europe adopt an English language policy?
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    (Original post by Mr Dangermouse)
    Well this sucks. Maybe I could at least go to England at first and it will feel like being away. Why couldn't I qualify in AUS/US/CAN?


    As for Europe, I thought most financial companies over Europe adopt an English language policy?
    You wouldn't be able to get a work permit for Australia, US or Canada while you are unqualified as you wouldn't have enough points. Once you are qualified you not only have a professional qualification but because it takes a while to qualify as an actuary anyway you will have a number of years professional experience which means you can be credibly taken on and sponsored by an employer and as an actuary you will probably find the prospects of working abroad high. Don't take my word as gospel - look into it yourself, but I reckon you will find the US a complete no go. Australia and Canada as a part qualified actuary....maybe check that out, you never know...

    For Europe most companies will expect you to speak English AND their native language, or have some requirement like "speak two languages from this list, English, French, German, Spanish". It's hard to leverage the fact that you speak English as an advantage over European graduates as a lot of those with good qualifications also have English plus two or three other European languages as well.
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    (Original post by MagicNMedicine)
    You wouldn't be able to get a work permit for Australia, US or Canada while you are unqualified as you wouldn't have enough points. Once you are qualified you not only have a professional qualification but because it takes a while to qualify as an actuary anyway you will have a number of years professional experience which means you can be credibly taken on and sponsored by an employer and as an actuary you will probably find the prospects of working abroad high. Don't take my word as gospel - look into it yourself, but I reckon you will find the US a complete no go. Australia and Canada as a part qualified actuary....maybe check that out, you never know...

    For Europe most companies will expect you to speak English AND their native language, or have some requirement like "speak two languages from this list, English, French, German, Spanish". It's hard to leverage the fact that you speak English as an advantage over European graduates as a lot of those with good qualifications also have English plus two or three other European languages as well.

    Hmm, how about going abroad and doing like rep work or something along those lines for a summer or two and learning the language on the job?
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    why the hell would you try and find work in Portugal and Spain? Spain has 25% unemployment at the moment.
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    (Original post by Cyanohydrin)
    why the hell would you try and find work in Portugal and Spain? Spain has 25% unemployment at the moment.
    I like those countries.
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    (Original post by Mr Dangermouse)
    Hmm, how about going abroad and doing like rep work or something along those lines for a summer or two and learning the language on the job?
    Do you mean holiday rep work?

    No chance in a million years will you have time to learn a language as a holiday rep - have you seen the hours you have to work? It's non stop, 7 days a week. You won't be speaking the language with locals much either as you will mainly be with English speakers.
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    (Original post by Mr Dangermouse)
    The 3 places I'm thinking about are Spain, Portugal and Germany. How easy is it to relocate and then pick up the language there?
    I suggest you don't go to Spain or Portugal (purely as there are no jobs) but one of the Scandinavian countries, France, Switzerland, Netherlands and Austria.

    What language do you know now out of curiosity? it will help in deciding what language you could learn easier.
    (Original post by Mr Dangermouse)
    As for Europe, I thought most financial companies over Europe adopt an English language policy?
    No, who told you that? they operate with their native language then switch to whatever language they need to when dealing with clients or overseas branches.
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    (Original post by tehFrance)
    I suggest you don't go to Spain or Portugal (purely as there are no jobs) but one of the Scandinavian countries, France, Switzerland, Netherlands and Austria.

    What language do you know now out of curiosity? it will help in deciding what language you could learn easier.
    I know German up to Standard grade(GCSE equivalent) level. I've been looking for ways to improve it towards conversational level recently but it's hard to find a good site.

    No, who told you that? they operate with their native language then switch to whatever language they need to when dealing with clients or overseas branches.
    It's just on the internet. Apparently a lot of offices now have English language policies, either to increase their potential staff pool, or to make trade easier.
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    (Original post by Mr Dangermouse)
    I know German up to Standard grade(GCSE equivalent) level. I've been looking for ways to improve it towards conversational level recently but it's hard to find a good site.

    It's just on the internet. Apparently a lot of offices now have English language policies, either to increase their potential staff pool, or to make trade easier.
    So you know CEFR A1 (well not quite but nearly), my suggestion is to build on your knowledge of German and get it up to a CEFR B2 standard before you go out (easily achievable within a year) and German is extremely useful for Benelux, Eastern Europe, German speaking countries and Scandinavia although English is widely spoken, probably more than German but it is still useful.

    Don't believe everything you read on the internet, I am certain it is not the case, if you were going into proper science that is in the lab then yes it is true but not for Actuary jobs.
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    (Original post by Mr Dangermouse)
    I know German up to Standard grade(GCSE equivalent) level. I've been looking for ways to improve it towards conversational level recently but it's hard to find a good site.
    It's just on the internet. Apparently a lot of offices now have English language policies, either to increase their potential staff pool, or to make trade easier.
    A lot of offices will require their staff to be able to speak English, and some may even insist that all official correspondence is also in English (I might be wrong but I think Deutsche Bank is one). But you can almost guarantee the language of day-to-day working life, office politics, social chit-chat etc. will be the native language of that country, and you could expect the job interview to also be conducted in that language.

    There are of course jobs where language skills are not necessary (holiday rep work, English teaching etc.) but for any office job you should expect to be able to have at least a conversational level of the official language of the country you intend to work in.
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    (Original post by standreams)
    A lot of offices will require their staff to be able to speak English, and some may even insist that all official correspondence is also in English (I might be wrong but I think Deutsche Bank is one). But you can almost guarantee the language of day-to-day working life, office politics, social chit-chat etc. will be the native language of that country, and you could expect the job interview to also be conducted in that language.

    There are of course jobs where language skills are not necessary (holiday rep work, English teaching etc.) but for any office job you should expect to be able to have at least a conversational level of the official language of the country you intend to work in.
    How do you teach English without knowing the language you are teaching it in?
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    (Original post by Mr Dangermouse)
    How do you teach English without knowing the language you are teaching it in?
    Because you teach English in English...

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