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Been here just over 1 year, Got green cards but now job offer in Germany

Been here just over 1 year, Got green cards but now job offer in Germany

Old Jan 9th 2016, 2:28 am
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Question Been here just over 1 year, Got green cards but now job offer in Germany

Bit of a dilemma; we can't make our minds up.

I'm due to go to Munich soon for a final interview/ meet and greet, for a dream job at a HQ of my previous company.
But, after living in North Carolina for 16 months, I feel we are walking away from a great lifestyle.

Here are the things that have us in conflict:

House prices - we are currently having a 4- bed detached with big yard built, overlooking a creek and woods (only $266,000)
In Munich a 2 bed apartment will be around €450,000
Basically, we would only (probably) be able to afford a small 3-bed outside the city.

Green Card - my wife and I only just got them in August last year. Big thing.
What would we do with them if we moved away?

The language barrier

Our 13 month old son growing up with a German accent/language

The weather here is great

The positive thing about the move is, it is a Global job that I have wanted for years, and a great career move.
My wife and I have said we'll go if the wages are way higher than what I earn here.

How would you feel, if in the same situation?
I ask because I'm fluctuating between "go" and "don't go" on a daily basis and it's wearing me out.

Your thoughts or any advice or tips would be really appreciated. Thanks
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Old Jan 9th 2016, 3:53 am
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Default Re: Been here just over 1 year, Got green cards but now job offer in Germany

There is a form to surrender your GC, something you do after you have gone.

North Carolina is very nice......
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Old Jan 9th 2016, 2:05 pm
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Default Re: Been here just over 1 year, Got green cards but now job offer in Germany

You wrote a few months ago that you were not enjoying American Society. Have you changed your mind ?
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Old Jan 9th 2016, 2:33 pm
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Default Re: Been here just over 1 year, Got green cards but now job offer in Germany

Originally Posted by rbackhouse View Post
You wrote a few months ago that you were not enjoying American Society. Have you changed your mind ?
That's right, but I was talking about society as a whole rather than the people in my everyday life.
There's goid and bad everywhere, and I was referring to the gun culture, the heavy-handed police, institutionalized and everyday racism, latent racism etc.

I play regular poker with some good guys, we have a few good friends too, so the "society" I was referring to, doesn't Impact my day to day life so much.

It's the cost of housing that really is making me have 2nd thoughts.

Another factor; I don't have a Bachelors Degree, this is a big showstopper here in the US when it comes to being recruited and I feel I'm tied to my current job as a result. Whereas the role in Germany makes that big career leap that I don't think I can get here without the degree.
And at 45 I don't have the enthusiasm to study for one now.

Decisions decisions!
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Old Jan 9th 2016, 2:45 pm
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Default Re: Been here just over 1 year, Got green cards but now job offer in Germany

Originally Posted by LotusEater33 View Post
Another factor; I don't have a Bachelors Degree, this is a big showstopper here in the US when it comes to being recruited and I feel I'm tied to my current job as a result. Whereas the role in Germany makes that big career leap that I don't think I can get here without the degree.
And at 45 I don't have the enthusiasm to study for one now.
I don't have a degree either. I've been over here now 23 years and while it was a bit of struggle in the first couple of years I have not have had an issue since. I changed jobs 8 times now. Of course its dependent on your profession however for mine (software development) it is really less of an issue.
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Old Jan 9th 2016, 4:48 pm
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Default Re: Been here just over 1 year, Got green cards but now job offer in Germany

Originally Posted by LotusEater33 View Post
Bit of a dilemma; we can't make our minds up.

The language barrier

Our 13 month old son growing up with a German accent/language
I was in Germany for three years (U.S. Army). I had studied German for a year at uni previously, however never got much beyond the basics since I was in an English-speaking environment most of the time. Not being able to communicate at a high level made some activities such as shopping and dealing with auto mechanics a bit frustrating at times.

The flip side is that many Germans speak fair to excellent English (like half the population), so many tourists and some expats get by just fine speaking English to everyone. Munich has a sizable English-speaking expat community, though of course limited German prevents you from enjoying local media or integrating more into the larger society.

I suppose your son would attend an international school. No first hand experience but would think he would end up with your accent, possibly influenced by other native English speakers he would interact with at school. He would not end up with a "German accent" when speaking English.

Being bilingual would be a great thing. However if you moved away when he was say age 6 or 8, he would likely forget almost all the German he learned.
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Old Jan 9th 2016, 5:57 pm
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Default Re: Been here just over 1 year, Got green cards but now job offer in Germany

Not strictly comparable, but I have made one international and two interstate moves, all entirely on the basis of jobs. I have also encountered plenty of people who have declined to move, despite excellent career opportunities.

I understand the draw of comfort that you currently enjoy. Indeed, even when I have lived somewhere I didn't like (at all!), there is always a comfort in the day-to-day. Even for a 'career-minded' person like myself, I still feel the dread of breaking out of my little bubble of the known. Plenty of people tell me how brave I am for doing so, but the fact is, I would be substantially more uncomfortable in the long-run if I indulged the inertia. Do I really want to be the person who stayed in the dissatisfying job because it was under my nose and my apartment was good-value? How will I feel in the difficult moments (there are always difficult moments!), when I have to answer my own question "what am I doing??"

I don't know. I suppose I have learnt enough about myself to know how I will cope in the cold, harsh, shock of new environs (ie. remarkably well). This gives me a bit of confidence to take the slightly longer view and try to compare the everyday of Option A, with the everyday of Option B. After all, there's really no point comparing anything else!

Also, I don't know if you already have done, but I imagine BE has a Germany forum, which might give you a glimpse into how various factors play out (the ones you've thought of, and the ones you haven't!)
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Old Jan 10th 2016, 12:41 am
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Default Re: Been here just over 1 year, Got green cards but now job offer in Germany

Munich is a brilliant place to live. Very international and the Alps are 3 hours away....
Expensive though.
your son is young enough to pickup German with no problems at all.

Everyone I know who moved there, loved it. Apart from the French friends but that is to be expected - they are far too different to get on.
I'd go.....
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Old Jan 10th 2016, 1:42 am
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Default Re: Been here just over 1 year, Got green cards but now job offer in Germany

You can get a green card reentry permit which gives you the option of keeping the GC alive for about 2 years. There are tax implications though even with being overseas (i.e. US and German taxes) but if you don't like it you can come back.

Might be worth investigating.

http://www.uscis.gov/sites/default/f...urces/B5en.pdf
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Old Jan 10th 2016, 5:50 pm
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Default Re: Been here just over 1 year, Got green cards but now job offer in Germany

Originally Posted by HDWill View Post
I suppose your son would attend an international school. No first hand experience but would think he would end up with your accent, possibly influenced by other native English speakers he would interact with at school. He would not end up with a "German accent" when speaking English.

Being bilingual would be a great thing. However if you moved away when he was say age 6 or 8, he would likely forget almost all the German he learned.
The language attrition is absolutely true. My two kids did several years of their schooling French, when we lived in Switzerland. My youngest was there from ages 4-7 and was fluent with a faultless local accent. When we moved to the US, she lost all her French within a matter of months.

My oldest was there from 8-11, and retained much more. I imagine the difference is age/ cognitive development, and that he was reading and writing in the language rather than merely speaking. After a gap of 3 years with zero French learning, he was able to enter high school here, jump straight over French 1, and has found French 2 and 3 effortlessly easy

Accent-wise, he spoke fluent French with a totally English accent (which amused his teachers greatly). He has similarly made no attempt whatsoever to develop an American accent. My daughter, OTOH, picked up an American accent within weeks of us arriving here. She switches completely between British and American English depending on whether she's talking to me, or her friends, just like she used to do in French. Her ear for sounds and mimicry is extraordinary, and will no doubt stand her in good stead for any future languages she learns.

So if you stay here, your son will almost certainly have an American accent, at least at school. If he is in a German school, he'll speak German there; in an international school he would pick up the transatlantic blend all the kids use. It's a moot point.

In case anyone's wondering why I simply let their French go when we moved here; it was because there were little to no resources in Arizona to learn from, and they were already going to be banged out with catching up in English. My 2nd grader at the time had only done non-academic play-based education in the 'wrong' language and couldn't read English beyond c-a-t, and my 6th grader hadn't written an English sentence since he was 8.

I can also reassure people who might be in similar mobile-childhood situations that it hasn't mattered a jot in the long run. My non-writing son was placed in Honors English and Social Studies a year after arriving; my non-reading daughter took a little longer to catch up but was comfortably at grade level within 18-24 months from being 2 years behind the others.

Overall... it's a tough one. Financially, you can spreadsheet it out quite easily over the next couple of decades: housing, school, ability to save for pensions, etc.

It's culturally that's the problem. I preferred our living set-up in Switzerland, in a small, thriving village with a very regular bus into a market town. School and the village shop were 5 mins walk, and I met many more people, all walking, biking and bussing around. I don't enjoy the US living situation nearly as much. We have almost 16 and almost 12 year olds, so can't live in a beautiful but remote, rural area as it would destroy their social lives. But we can't live in walkable cities, as all the schools suck rocks. So dull, bland suburbs with excellent schools it is, where we all wave as we drive out of our garages but hardly ever interact. (I'll be able to fix this when the kids leave for college, at least.)

What would your wife like to do, work-wise? Being a working mum is very hard in Germany - she'd not only have the language barrier, but be up against school hours where the kids come home for lunch every day for a couple of hours.
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Old Jan 10th 2016, 6:40 pm
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Default Re: Been here just over 1 year, Got green cards but now job offer in Germany

Thanks to everyone for your comprehensive replies.
I've read through the "ToyTown" website for expats in Germany (this website for Germany is a bit desolate).

I think your replies have confirmed to me that the better career move is to go to Munich, and that I shouldn't fear the cultural issues.

My wife is Chinese, a move to Germany would be tough but she is in favor but has the same 2nd thoughts as me.
We live in an idyllic cul de sac neighborhood and she talks with the wives/neighbors every day as they have young kids too. Doubtful she could do that in Munich.

Our son was born here in Nov 2014 so has dual citizenship.

Another question of ours is; what are the chances we could return to the U.S. in the future?
We'd love to do that, but Im not confident.

I work in the Pharma industry and the role is a "Global" role, so my next move could be to anywhere.
Im leaning more to taking the job now, to be honest. But the pay had better be good (+30-40% of my current salary).
But it looks like we'd rent until our next move.

Last edited by LotusEater33; Jan 10th 2016 at 7:15 pm.
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Old Jan 11th 2016, 7:38 am
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Default Re: Been here just over 1 year, Got green cards but now job offer in Germany

Originally Posted by LotusEater33 View Post
Thanks to everyone for your comprehensive replies.I've read through the "ToyTown" website for expats in Germany (this website for Germany is a bit desolate). I think your replies have confirmed to me that the better career move is to go to Munich, and that I shouldn't fear the cultural issues. My wife is Chinese, a move to Germany would be tough but she is in favor but has the same 2nd thoughts as me.We live in an idyllic cul de sac neighborhood and she talks with the wives/neighbors every day as they have young kids too. Doubtful she could do that in Munich. Our son was born here in Nov 2014 so has dual citizenship. Another question of ours is; what are the chances we could return to the U.S. in the future?We'd love to do that, but Im not confident. I work in the Pharma industry and the role is a "Global" role, so my next move could be to anywhere.Im leaning more to taking the job now, to be honest. But the pay had better be good (+30-40% of my current salary).But it looks like we'd rent until our next move.
Munich is a great city, but very pricey as you said. I would just make sure that the company can find housing for you, as the rental market is tough in the city. You have options outside the city, but as a person without German, I wouldn't recommend a village or small town. You will have to apply for re-entry before you plan any move to Germany, so best ask in advance if you can keep you green card. It just depends what's more important to you, but you have to look at what the salary will get you in Germany and what you'll be leaving behind. If you can keep the green card and the job opens other doors, it's certainly a good move. The Pharma industry is huge and plenty of opportunities across the globe. There's an American company around the corner where I work in Galway Ireland and they keep growing and growing.
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Old Jan 12th 2016, 12:59 am
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Default Re: Been here just over 1 year, Got green cards but now job offer in Germany

It's not an assignment, but a local contract so I don't think they'll help that much with schools.
The standard is to give us free rental accommodation for 2 months; after that we're on our own.
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Old Jan 12th 2016, 1:57 am
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Default Re: Been here just over 1 year, Got green cards but now job offer in Germany

Apart from the way you got here your so could sponsor you when he hits 21.
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Old Jan 12th 2016, 2:10 pm
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Default Re: Been here just over 1 year, Got green cards but now job offer in Germany

Lotuseater33, I'm assuming your current deal with the greencard sponsoring company doesn't involve paying back costs if you leave them within a certain time? Ours was 2 years decreasing each month until zero at 24 months.
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