I dreamt of living like in the United States of America, taking my car one morning, moving city, job, friends, life. Milan, Barcelona, Paris, London, Frankfurt, Berlin, Dublin.
An American would just do it. For us, Europeans, is not that easy as it seems.
We got used to get around with no borders, just our national identification card, no passport. One currency, no work permit needed.
You move, you get into a new job, maybe given the perspective of working with the holy dream of a common working language, like English. Well, keep dreaming. Reality is something else. Start getting used to the hateful sentence: “You live in xyz, you need to speak the language of xyz!“. There, all your dreams of a United States of Europe fail in a fraction of a second.
You just moved, you signed the contract of the above mentioned job, that might be bilingual (local xyz legal language, and hopefully English too). But the, you need to get:
- new tax id code of country xyz you decided to move to
- new bank account in country xyz, despite in the EU the IBAN should have avoided this… go figure and tell the HR (human resources) badly paid lady that just sees you as somebody stealing a decent job in their mother country
- new health insurance contract, as your EHIC (European Health Insurance Card) is valid only 6 months bound to the country you are relocating from
- new utilities contracts for your apartment: internet, gas, energy
- new rental contract (mortgage and related stuff is another nightmare)
- new driving licence (yes, you have to give up your old one within 6 months)
All of the above points, to be done in the language xyz of country xyz.
I moved to Germany, I’m Italian, speaking fluent English, with not a single word of German when I moved 8 years ago. For no f***ing reason I’d do this again moving to yet another country in the EU where I do not know the language.
Believe me, it is damn frustrating.
Not to mention that, if you are coming from one of the so called PIIGS countries (Portugal, Italy, Ireland, Greece, Spain) you’ll be seen exactly as you might have been used to see gypsies. You are not welcome. Everybody will remember that to you on the street every damn day.
I love living in Berlin, I earned the respect and the trust of locals who know me.
Go, if you got the chance, go. Take an ERASMUS, take a job, a girlfriend/boyfriend. Go abroad, be a better person, open your mind. It is the only way to have an open Europe.
But… be prepared 😉