Moving to Europe
From Portugal to Russia and Iceland to Malta, Europe is a vast expanse of land, however it is the second smallest of all the continents. Due to the large number of countries (over 50) you will find the area covers a broad range of cultures, languages, religious and political beliefs. The climate also varies enormously, from mild and Mediterranean to freezing and Arctic-like.
Obviously the experience you’ll have living in Europe will be dependent on which country you plan to live in. Outlined below are just some of the places you might be thinking of relocating to.
Situated in Western Europe and with the second largest land mass of the continent, France has a population of nearly 65 million people. The architecture, art and food here is legendary and there is always something to see or somewhere to explore. The official language here is French, and although you could probably get by in some of the larger cities without knowing any at all, you’re encouraged to learn at least a little of the basics.
If you move to France you’ll find that government administration is very powerful and complex; nothing gets done without the proper paperwork, and this applies also if you’re planning to rent a property. If you move to Paris, the capital city, you might be surprised at the high rental costs. Instead of limiting yourself to a specific neighbourhood, keep an open mind about what area you live in, remembering that Paris boasts one of the best underground transport systems in the world.
Situated in Western Europe, Germany is considered to be a fairly liberal and tolerant country. Home to around 82 million people, Germany has one of the highest immigrant populations in the world. The country has a history rich in the arts, especially when it comes to music. Visiting the opera or theatre are still popular activities and you’ll be sure to find beautiful locations to attend these throughout Germany. Sport is also a popular pastime, whether playing or watching.
As is normal when moving to another country, making friends takes time. Getting involved in local activities and networking functions will introduce you to key people who can help you make steps toward forming a local social group. In addition, speaking the language is critical for making friends and is important to Germans, as limited English prevents them from closer social contact.
Italy is located in southern Europe and has a population of approximately 60 million people. With an immensely rich cultural heritage, Italy is well known for its Roman history, fashion, football, cuisine, literature and art. The country also has a reputation for producing luxurious, high quality products, whether they’re designer dresses by Versace or sports cars by Ferrari.
If you’re moving to Italy you’ll find that the people are friendly and willing to help you learn the language. Many younger people have a good grasp of English, so if you haven’t learnt any Italian by the time you arrive you should be able to manage until you do. However, many official documents, such as those to do with the government or banking, are only available in Italian, so it would be a good idea to book into language classes if you’re not confident with this.
Located in south-western Europe, Spain is comprised of the mainland on the Iberian Peninsula and a number of islands, including the Balearics in the Mediterranean and the Canaries in the Atlantic Ocean. The population of Spain is currently approximately 46 million, and the official language is Spanish, although Basque, Galician, Valencian and Catalan are also spoken.
If you’re thinking of moving to Spain you’ll find it is still a very traditional, family-oriented country. The pace of life is very different from other European cities and everyday activities revolve around meal times. It is not unusual to have a two hour lunch between 2.00pm and 4.00pm, and dinner is not served until 9.30pm at the very earliest – often much later. Once you get used to the pace of life and hours the locals keep you’ll see that Spain has so much to offer, both culturally and socially.
Sweden has a population of over nine million people and is situated in the Nordic region of northern Europe. Considering its northern location, the weather here is fairly temperate. However, if you move to Sweden, you’ll find that the summer months are short and winter is long. It might take a while to get used to the lack of daylight in the winter, and vice versa in summer, but if you’re a fan of cold-weather sports such as skiing and ice-skating then this is the place for you.
If you’re moving to Stockholm, Sweden’s capital city, you should be aware of the shortage of rental properties. Do plenty of research and planning before you arrive and be prepared to engage the services of a home-search consultant to find the most suitable accommodation. On the plus side, Stockholm is a very vibrant, green city, with low levels of pollution and offers the chance to live a very outdoors lifestyle.
Find out more about moving abroad
Continue exploring the rest of this site to find out more useful information about moving overseas. There are a number of guides and tips to help you begin to plan your relocation, but also make sure you do some research of your own and try to seek the views of others who have been before.
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