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Moving to Europe, but where?

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lucasg51

Hi everybody!

I'm Lucas from Argentina. I'm 31 years old and I got my Architecture degree last May. I have Italian citizenship and passport, so I'm planning on moving to Europe in search of a better country to live in, a country where I could feel that I'm a part of. The thing is that I really can't decide where to move. Maybe you can help me in some way so I could choose one or two city(ies).

I don't want to move to North America, but as a reference, if I had to live there I would choose New York. Chicago, Toronto and Montreal are beautiful, but New York is bigger and the most populous, so I guess there are more opportunities there.

I have already removed some European countries from the list, so now I'm left with Ireland, the U.K., The Netherlands, Belgium, Switzerland, Germany, Austria and Denmark.

I know that London is one of the most expensive cities, or that Berlin is cheaper than London, but that kind of isolated statements really don't help. London may be one of the most expensive cities but people from around the world won't stop moving there.

This is my 7th/8th year working at a small building company owned by my father. In Europe I would prefer working in a big architecture office, not in building company. I also want to move to a city with a nice artistic and musical vibe, although being able to find a job in architecture is more important. My degree isn’t valid in Europe, but I think that the process of validating it won’t be too different in any of those countries. 

I am Italian too, but the problem is that I never lived there, so I guess I won't be taken as European when looking for a job, so it would be difficult finding one. Hence the need to move to a city with more opportunities.

From my perspective I have the U.K. and Germany as the best options. But I may be wrong, the other countries are really good too. Talking about culture, I don’t have a preference. I think I won’t have a problem adapting to British or German lifestyle, I have things in common with both.

Of course I have London as an option, although nowbody knows how is Brexit going to end up like. On the bright side, on March 29th they'll come up with a decision but things will change in December 31st of the year 2020, when the transition period ends. Right now there's a 99.99% chance that I won't be able to find a job in architecture or even construction, so I could start in whatever job I find and wait until March 29th when the Brexit uncertainty ends.

Another option I had was Berlin. I don't speak german but I wanted to learn. Then I discovered that Germany is decentralized, so now I'm not really sure wich city is best for the architecture-art-music combo. Berlin is still the capital city and the most populous city in Germany, and maybe there’s a lot of building potential there due to its “unfinished nature” (quoting David Chipperfield).

With Brexit I understand that Germany will take a bigger role as part of the European Union, but London will always be London, at least in the near future. And I doubt that it would be really difficult for Europeans to live and work in the U.K. post Brexit.

So what do you think I should do? I would really appreciate your insights.

Cheers,

Lucas

 
Sep 24, 18 11:28 am
randomised

Since you're Italian I'd say give Italy a go first, or does that make no sense at all?

Sep 24, 18 11:43 am
justavisual

there are about 0 jobs for architects in Italy

randomised

I already found 3 on dezeen...

lucasg51

randomised, it makes sense indeed. I wrote "I am Italian" because technically I am, but by descent. I wasn't born there and I never lived there, and I don't speak Italian. The thing is that I don't want to move to Italy or Spain. I'm sure that Italy and Spain are great countries, but I'd prefer moving to a country along the line of the U.K., Germany or The Netherlands.

randomised

Ah, so you applied for an EU-passport to come and take advantage of our superior welfare state and steal our jobs, our houses and our women...in that case don't come to the Netherlands ;-)

lucasg51

hahaha

Bench

The UK will no longer be part of the EU after March 29. You have an EU passport (ie, not a UK passport). You need to find out if you will have right to remain in 6 months - I believe they set a grandfathered arrival date for EU nationals, which has probably passed.

Personally? Move somewhere to the continent that has a good economy currently. Theres too much uncertainty with Brexit.

Sep 24, 18 11:43 am
lucasg51

From what I just read all over the internet I understand that EU nationals could be able to stay living in the UK through the transition period to ensure that complete chaos won't reign in the UK after Brexit day, March 29th. That's a really big "could". Legally residing EU nationals (who have lived at least 5 years in the UK) could get permanent residency immediatelly, and those that arrive in the transition period could stay 5 years to get that. That's another big "could". I knew that the situation was bad, but not that bad. You are right Bench, too much uncertainty. Let's not forget that free movement of people is something that the UK's Prime Minister doesn't want. It seems that Germany starts being a better option.

Bench

There will be chaos after March 29 at this current rate. My understanding of the rule was that anyone who had already moved to the UK as an EU national before the day they legally invoked their Leaving Clause would be allowed to stay up to 5 years to apply for PR, and any EU national arriving after 29 March 2017 would not necessarily be entitled to that.


But I could be wrong...

lucasg51

Yes, but the thing is that no one knows. All of those are possibilities, but just that. Before March 29th there's nothing set in stone.

AdrianFGA

UK - please stay away from it - at least wait a few years to see what will happen post-Brexit.

Italy is not doing great, but if you have a place to stay and someone to give you some guidance (relatives?), and if you already speak Italian, then that's the logical choice.

Northern European countries are the first choice when it comes to integration and economic prospects, and Germany will be first on the list. However you have to think logistics. Language barrier? Where will you stay? What will your job be during the first few months, etc.

Sep 24, 18 12:28 pm
lucasg51

You are right Adrian. What could happen post-Brexit is uncertain. And it will be like that right until December 31st 2020, not just March 29th 2019. I don't speak Italian and I'm not planning on moving there. I would rather move to Germany. It would be better if I learn to speak German of course. I could try looking for a job as an English speaker, but that would narrow my options a lot. And I'll have to choose a city. Berlin is an option for me there, but I didn't really investigated a lot about other German cities.

OP sounds incredibly naive to me.

Sep 24, 18 12:33 pm
lucasg51

I'm really not Miles. I know that there's a 99.99% chance of not getting a job in architecture, not even outside the UK, but I prefer being in Europe without a job in architecture than here with one. And I knew that things in the UK where bad right now with Brexit, but not as bad as Bench and Adrian wrote. I guess that waiting for March 29th to see what happens with Brexit could be an option.

OneLostArchitect

I’d go to Italy since you are a citizen. 

Sep 24, 18 12:40 pm
OneLostArchitect

Malta is nice 

Sep 24, 18 12:41 pm
lucasg51

I bet Italy is a great country, but it's not an option for me. I prefer countries along the line of Germany. And I want to live in a big city. I don't live in Europe so I will have a hard time finding a job even in the biggest cities.

randomised

A lot to learn about Europe Lucas, Malta is not Italy but an independent country (used to be British until the 60's)

lucasg51

I know that. I guess it would have been better if I had replied to McTaco's comment about Italy, sorry.

Volunteer

Barcelona?

Sep 24, 18 1:02 pm
lucasg51

And with Spain is the same, it's not really "my style". I would be better off in Germany or The Netherlands.

justavisual

I'd put NL, Belgium and Berlin at the top of your list- just because people will likely work in English. Copenhagen too - maybe

Sep 24, 18 2:30 pm
lucasg51

Those seem like really good and interesting options. I will definitely have those places in mind, thanks.

przemula

Miles Jaffe is right, OP sounds like teenager. Don't get me wrong - You [OP] said that you're Italian, but you've never lived there, you weren't born there, and you don't speak Italian. So you're fooling us because you clearly have nothing to do with Italy. Also, I know bunch of people from Italy and situation there is absolute shite when it comes to architecture jobs, especially for a newcomer/foreigner/entry level guy. They (Italians, people from Spain, Portugal etc. PIGS also) are coming to post soviet Eastern Europe countries looking for a job which is hilarious (sic!)

Also, so you said you're 31 and just graduated? Do you have some experience in professional architecture firm, not yours dad building company? Do you speak any language other than English/Spanish? Because if you don't have at least few years of work experience, you don't speak the language of the country where you're going to, and you don't have an amazing portfolio, man... no one is going to hire you. They won't even look at your portfolio after looking at your resume.

Again, you don't know anything about German culture / lifestyle but you're saying that you wouldn't have a problem integrating? There's significant difference between Western/Eastern Germany FYI (job market wise), language is hard af actually, there are thousands of different factors involved that you have no idea of. I'm Polish-American and I've been to Germany few times, I also speak German little bit so I know what I'm saying.

And can someone explain me - I'm not being ironic - how is Brexit going to affect OP? OP is from Argentina. Brexit will affect EU citizens that don't have UK passports (mostly people from Eastern Europe). United Kingdom has separate immigration policy for folks from South America. What Brexit has to do with this?

Sep 25, 18 11:02 am
randomised

OP has an Italian passport. Argentina is famous for giving shelter to German Nazis and Italian Fascists after those countries were defeated in World War II, so maybe that's why.

przemula

My bad, sorry, didn't notice that. It's still worthless since he doesn't speak Italian and never been there. And yeah, I wanted to point out that thing about Argentina too but I didn't want to be an asshole lol https://i.kym-cdn.com/photos/images/original/001/128/145/27d.jpg

AdrianFGA

the Italian passport enables the OP to legally settle and work in any EU country so it's not that worthless. Once the UK leaves the EU, chances are EU passport holders won't have the same legal rights as before, basically that's how Brexit will affect the OP

lucasg51

przemula, sorry for the confusion, I didn't intend that to happen. I wrote that I'm Italian because I'm Italian by descent. I wasn't born there, but I have Italian citizenship. So that gives me the right of free movement throughout the European Union, something that would not be possible being just Argentinian. Now I guess that you understand why Brexit affects me.

lucasg51

I wrote that th is is my 7th/8th year working in a building company, that's why it took me so long to get my degree. That experience could be usefull somewhere, architecture or construction. I know that I would be competing with a lot of locals for job positions, that's another thing that I will have to experience on my own. I know that the job market is not the same in every part of Europe, that's why I'm concerned about it. After choosing a country I will investigate more about the job market in every city. And if a choose Germany of course I will investigate about the difference about Western/Eastern Germany that you point out.

lucasg51

przemula maybe you can tell me something about that Western/Eastern Germany difference, I'm really interested in knowing that.

lucasg51

Yes, I know nothing about ot her countries, just what I can read here on the internet, but that's the same with every other country in the world outside of Argentina. I'm just trying to choose a city where I think I might fit.

lucasg51

przemula this is going to be one of the most important decisions that I'll have to make in my life. Of course I know that it will be really difficult and that there are thousands of different factors involved. I know that and I will get through all that. I may wear long shorts like a teenager but that doesn't mean that I think like one 100% of the time.

Non Sequitur

damn, being an adult and making adult decisions is too hard.  Better ask random strangers online for life-altering advice.

Folks, should I transfer my son's education saving funds to crypto currency?  Some guy in a trench coat is offering a good deal on these bytopennies.  pls help.

Sep 25, 18 12:04 pm
lucasg51

hahaha Non Sequitur you are wright. I'm taking a lot of usefull information from this anyway.

RickB-Astoria

N.S. might find that as a complement (wright like Frank Lloyd Wright). What you meant was the word "right". Europeans these days tend to be better English speakers (aside from accents) and better English writers than Americans. You might want to brush up on your "English" writing and I would presume also your English speaking.

Non Sequitur

Good catch there Ricky.

lucasg51

haha maybe I was thinking about FLW, I don't know why I wrote "wright". Ups!

Denmark might be a good place to look, Copenhagen is lovely, I would also consider Norway.  But the eastern European nations, Poland Austria, and Hungary are having a political right wing nationalist shift in politics and might be outwardly hostile to new immigrants even those from the EU.

Sounds like an exciting opportunity to start a new life

best of luck

Peter N

Sep 25, 18 12:35 pm
przemula

First of all, Austria is not Eastern Europe. And stop spreading bullshit if you're not familiar with the current situation, there's absolutely no hate towards immigrants in either Hungary or Poland. In fact, Poland is one of the safest countries in whole Europe. Visegrad Group (Poland, Hungary, Czech an Slovakia) are against stupid and insane immigration policies dictated by EU officials and that's why liberal media shit on them and call them nationalist, hostile, etc. People who are willing to work instead of demanding social benefits are always welcome in V4 countries.

lucasg51

I like Danish architecture, Copenhagen could be the city to move if I choose Denmark. I will investigate a little bit to compare them with Berlin/Germany. Norway is always in the list of "best countries to live in" (I know that kind of lists aren't always 100% usefull), but it seems to me that it's more difficult to work there as an architect or in an architecture office than in other countries of the region.

randomised

Przemula, there IS hate in Poland against migrants, foreigners, Jews, Roma, people of colour, gays, etc. Why are you telling lies?

LITS4FormZ

I love it how not wanting your country to turn into an absolute shithole means you’re every “-ist” in the book. There’s a reason the Based countries are starting to become destinations.

Sharky McPeterson

@LITS4FormZ     Ahhhh, yes, and just what might you say causes otherwise prosperous countries to become "absolute sh**hole[s]," as you so eloquently put it?

RickB-Astoria

lucasg, you could consider all of the following Scandinavian countries: Sweden, Finland, Norway (as already mentioned), and Denmark (As already referred to.... BTW: Greenland is part of Denmark but too bad it is currently a big ice cube but eventually with global warming, it might actually be a nice place for Danish construction and living... eventually.

RickB-Astoria

In any of those countries, I would suggest learning how to write in their language. Ideally, speak it. Sure, you can use Google translate but it's not perfect. I'm talking my time to gradually learn the written form of some of the languages in Scandinavia but speaking it is a little spotty and I'm selective on certain words like "arkkitehti". You should know your occupational title as it would be used in those countries and some of the related words.

lucasg51

Yes Rick, you are Right. I prefer moving already knowing how to speak the language. Being a foreigner already puts me behind everyone else, so speaking the language could help me a bit.

AdrianFGA

I could try looking for a job as an English speaker, but that would narrow my options a lot. And I'll have to choose a city. Berlin is an option for me there, but I didn't really investigated a lot about other German cities.

Unless you already have a job before moving in, forget about a white collar job in an architectural office, and that goes for every country on your list.

Let's say you want Germany, then you are more likely to find a trade job in construction. There are many foreign construction workers in Germany, lots them from Eastern Europe, they use English to communicate among themselves or with their managers. 

You will eventually have to learn German but I must warn you German is much more difficult to learn compared to English or any other Germanic language (apparently except Icelandic), due to its incredibly complex grammar (3 genders, 4 cases, inflections everywhere and whatnot)

Sep 25, 18 1:12 pm
lucasg51

I guess I'll have to try finding a job before moving, maybe I'll come up with that 00.01% of luck. I'll have that "trade job in construction" in mind, thanks. Someone told me that learning German is easier for people that speak English. Maybe it would have been better if he told me "it's less difficult" and not "it's easier", thanks for the heads up Adrian.

AdrianFGA

German - quick overview about the issues with its grammar https://youtu.be/K3IImGiiY1Q?t=600 I can think of at least 3 things that make German harder than English 1) nouns have 3 rather random genders to be memorized along with each noun 2) a case system which takes into account said genders 3) A lot of German words are alien to an English speaker because a huge amount of English words are derived from French (Norman conquest)

lucasg51

Thanks for the info. There's a big chance of moving to Germany, so I'll start learning German as soon as I can. I'll just have to put a lot of effort into it and see what happens.

JLC-1

Vas a largarte sin conocer? O has estado alguna vez en europa? Conoces a alguien alla? 

I'll be inclusive for this is an english forum; and I will be direct, You will not get a job in architecture in europe, period. You may have a chance in italy however. I moved to italy in 1999 in your same situation but I knew the language well enough, I applied to several ads, got 3 interviews and finally got a job - 4 months later. Doing trade fairs layouts and product stands. 20 years later I bet your competition will be a lot more and better prepared.

Now, you got your italian passport, go to the f***g argentinian-italian cultural center and take a 3 month course and learn the language; unless you have some learning disability you can do it. 

Sep 25, 18 1:48 pm
JLC-1

on the degree validity; your course list is/was very different from any school in europe or north america; they won't let you just "validate" it. In italy for instance, you need 3 semesters of historic restoration. In the US, you may say you have an architectural degree, but you will never be able to get a license without doing a masters here.

lucasg51

JLC-1, nunca fui a Europa y no conozco a nadie allá. JLC-1, I've never been to Europe and I don't know anyone.

lucasg51

Another one that tells me that I won't get a job in Architecture in Europe. Hey, dreaming is free. Let me dream damn it, let me dream! Haha, I know, I know. I'm already thinking that because I'm not moving IF I get a job, I'm moving no matter what happens. But in Italy I have a chance you say? Who knew, Italy is one of the European countries with a highest percentage of architects in its population.

lucasg51

Yes, you are right. Depending on the country the process of "validating" my degree could be a nightmare. I'll get deeper into it.

JLC-1

you should try to get into a kitchen shop, or a cabinet shop - what the italians call "arredamenti" - it's these design/build companies that do kitchens, closets,bathrooms and sell their products along with the design, there is a huge market - people move with their kitchens and need to adjust, when you rent a new place it comes without closets or kitchens, so it's always in demand.

lucasg51

People moving with their kitchens? Wow, that sounds crazy from here. Interesting option, I'll definitely have that in mind. With studying architecture the good thing is that there are a lot of things that I could do, not just working in an architecture office or a construction company. Companies like the ones you are pointing are one example.

JLC-1

watch house hunters international, those people are always shocked to find out there's no kitchen at all.

lucasg51

So I guess that in Italy when you rent you don't get light fixtures too, am I right?

archinet

You can always work for a construction company first like Hochteif, https://www.hochtief.de/hochti... they are a german company but do work internationally maybe then when you start working at Hochtief you can take German classes, that is if you want to be in Germany. You might even be able to get by with just english there bc it is a international company- just apply. Norway is nice and the pay is high and they are very tolerant to international ppl so speaking English at first is ok- but eventually you need to learn the language. Dunno about other countries.

Sep 25, 18 3:40 pm
lucasg51

Working for an international company sounds like a good option (if I get a job in one of course). And I don't believe that getting a job in a construction company is impossible. Even though 70% of Germans speak English (using Germany just as an example) I'll try to learn the language as much as I can.

archinet

If you can get a job at Hochtief which seems possible considering you experience and take German classes at night, you should be able to move to an architecture company afterwards.

lucasg51

Yeah sure. I don't really know anything about the local building code (of course it changes from city to city) but I'll get into that after I choose a city. As well as with different materials that they may use and here we don't. After I settle I'll keep looking for a job in an architecture company. When I find one I'll take it .

RickB-Astoria

While there are some changes that some cities may propose but in the EU, there is the Eurocodes and national annex that essentially amends or are additional to the Eurocodes (or both). The Eurocodes are the baseline BUILDING CODES not to be confused with land use / zoning laws or regulations. Zoning or land use laws or how they are called in individual cities are defined by each city or next larger sub-political body of government up to state/province or national. Each country defines their government structure from national down to the local city governments. Zoning laws or land use laws are about how individual tax lot / land parcel maybe used, maximum outright permitted height and mass, conditional uses and other things that requires conditional approval or a variance or equivalent. Building codes defines the minimum requirements for buildings to reasonable protect the occupants and the public health, safety, and welfare of people nearby and neighboring buildings. 

Each location will have their local requirements to be met in order to get approval. However, there maybe a disparity in how local officials will treat you because you are a foreigner than how they may treat people who are locals. Locals maybe able to get away with these local officials waiving or letting their proposed alternatives go through while a foreigner, they maybe more sticklers to the letter of the laws (the building codes, zoning laws, etc.) This is an unfortunate human reality anywhere you go because there is a inherent distrust of foreigners. A form of discrimination that happens and there is literally NOTHING you can do no matter how much noise you make. Human nature is not changed just because of the laws are changed. Laws after all are just words and is only meaningful when it is enforced. In every place there is a certain level of cherry-picking of the laws enforced since it is impossible to enforce all laws all the time including even the zoning and building codes. While over time, you may eventually gain trust by some people but there will always be some that won't trust you because you are not a native born of their ethnicity in their country. Racism as a word is a misnomer. It's ethnic discrimination. This is something that will always exist among the most xenophobic people. 

You will have to work 'twice' as hard than anyone else to be trusted and work harder to build trust by the population at large than someone who isn't ethnically connected. If you uphold yourself to the highest standards, you can rise up to be successful. It will be a challenge possibly more than where you are currently at. While you are Italian by ethnicity, you maybe more welcomed and trusted than some people of some ethnicity in the northern mainland Europe and Scandinavia area, it will still be a challenge. For some, there is still a strong association of Italy and Mussolini and the fascist regime. This is a part of history passing away as those generations passes on but there are still some with those memories. Understand the geopolitical and cultural history. It will do you some good to learn about the people and culture of whatever country you go to, their past to present to make contextually appropriate architectural solutions.

archinet

@lucas- just work your ass off and learn the language as soon as possible- take night courses. The Germans will like you as long as you work hard and learn the language asap- that will be taken more seriously than where you are from, I would know bc I have experience in Germany. Also I highly doubt you would be put in any position initially at hochtief where you will be delegating and therefore need to be an expert on local codes. Plus if you gain experience at hochteif many arch firms will view this favorably.

lucasg51

Rick, I understand. I know that as a foreigner I will have to work harder than everyone else. The good thing is that it will help me grow professionaly more than being here. And thanks for the info about building codes.

lucasg51

archinet, I guess I won't get a high skilled position at any firm, being in architecture or construction. It sounds like a good idea to start working at a construction company. After all architecture students don't excel at knowing how things get built.

TED

My choice in order --

  1. Ireland
  2. Sweden 
  3. Norway (not full EU)
  4. Denmark
  5. Germany 
Sep 26, 18 12:30 pm
TED

Lots of uncertainty in the UK right now - since there is no clear Brexit plan in place, there are no clear rules for settlement of EU nationals. If a peoples vote goes ahead, most likely UK will stay in the EU.

AdrianFGA

^ When it comes to free movement of persons, Norway, Liechtenstein, Switzerland, and Iceland can be considered as if they were part of the EU, so they can be included in OP's search.

Andorra.

AdrianFGA

as far as I know, Andorra, Monaco, San Marino are not part of the EU, EEA or EFTA, thus the free movement may not apply in their case

lucasg51

OMG TED, Germany is fifth in your list hehe. When you put Ireland in the first place, are you thinking about any city in particular? Dublin perhaps? I read that Dublin will grow because of Brexit, along with Germany of course.

TED

@lucag51 Germany would be No. 1 but I was crap when studying German. Do speak Spanish and Spain would be on the list but economy and approach to healthy living is not as high as 2-3-4 -Anywhere in Ireland - Dublin is a natural - Guinness is good for you!

AdrianFGA

"...most likely UK will stay in the EU" -> fingers crossed

Sep 26, 18 1:58 pm
Bench

hahahahaha

TED

Bet you £1 UK will not leave the EU -

vado retro

Hurry because after Trump warmed up the crowd with some jokes, he convinced the European leaders to build a wall in the Atlantic. And Argentina will pay for it.

Sep 26, 18 4:43 pm
randomised

We already have an Atlantikwall, built by that other great public speaker...

lucasg51

haha

AdrianFGA

Atlantis?

Sep 26, 18 5:31 pm
AdrianFGA

 to build a wall in the Atlantic -> This is a good song to motivate the divers required to build such an exciting wall.

Lucas - if you can understand the lyrics tomorrow you must pack up and fly to Germany.


Sep 26, 18 8:18 pm
randomised

What a Laibach copy cats...


AdrianFGA

Not too many things are made from scratch. Laibach is an Avant-garde rinse & repeat gig; their album covers include your typical Metropolis or Duchamp visual imagery, and so forth. But I like them too.

lucasg51

Thanks fot both music bands, I'll get deeper into that as well haha.

lucasg51

Adrian -> Wow, I'll have a really long way until I can understand that hehe. Let's hope it's not too long.

AdrianFGA

Lucas, a few more thoughts so that you don't get too enthusiastic.


If you go beyond architectural jobs, look for info on other sites, maybe expat forums. Those are more useful when it comes to stuff like where to live, legal issues, which jobs are in demand, etc. 


Your current education and experience are irrelevant. If you want to become an architect, you have a long and difficult process ahead of you, which begs the question - is it even worth the effort, considering today's state of architecture.


Since you do have lots of hurdles already waiting for you, look at changing careers altogether. Maybe an engineering degree, or trades - plumbers, ironworkers, joiners - they make good money and are in demand. Sounds harsh, but it's not impossible. 


Also, nobody will welcome you with open arms. Be mentally prepared for the worst. That's why, wherever you go, you should have relatives or friends near you, to offer you some support.


Be prepared to regret your decision.


Other than that, best of luck.

Sep 27, 18 12:25 pm
lucasg51

Adrian, I don't think I will regret my decision of moving to Europe. Of course I will be continuously trying to get a job in architecture, that's what I studied for. But if I have to change and do something else then so be it. Like I told JLC-1, I'm not moving if I find a job in architecture, I'm moving there no matter what happens. My overall idea is to be in a better country. About "being an architect", I don't know if that could be possible. I could validate my degree, but working as a professional architect could be really hard for me being a foreigner.

lucasg51

I'll definitely look for information on other sites, the way of living is not the same everywhere. I know that it's going to be really hard, so the harder I try and work, the less difficult it will be. Thanks for all your insights Adrian, I really appreciate it.

AdrianFGA

^Lucas - if you are serious about German, you can start here. They publish all German standards (DIN); learning German is one thing, learning German technical terms is way better.

If you saved enough money to buy a small house, you can go there and buy standards instead. Even if that's not your intention, you can read a good deal about them as each standard has intros & overviews. The site lets you switch from English to German anytime, so you can work out a rough translation. Also two of my favourite dictionaries online are Collins and Linguee. There are many more places like those, of course. 

Where should you go? I would choose the Western side of Germany (former BRD), stay away from the Eastern side (former DDR) - it is less developed and they've got lots of social problems.

Luckily, I also have a EU passport, thinking of moving to Germany somewhere close to the Dutch border. I would love to live in the Netherlands, but I don't speak Dutch, it's a miracle I understand randomised at all.

Again, best of luck.



Sep 27, 18 3:47 pm
justavisual

you dont need to speak dutch to live/work in NL...ask all the expats

randomised

No need to speak Dutch, but you'll always be considered an outsider if you don't.

justavisual

of course, but technically you dont need it...and you can always learn over time. rotterdam architecture scene is full of foreigners...who either come for a few years and dont learn, or who stay for a lot longer and then do learn

randomised

I know, am working in the Rotterdam and Amsterdam architecture scene myself as a Dutchman and have worked and am working with many foreigners. But I am not talking about life inside the office, I was referring to the existence outside in the real world. People will basically consider you a tourist/outsider and won't really bother all that much. You'll be excluded from many (social) functions, will basically only make lasting friendships with other foreigners. People in other places, let's say parents at a daycare for your kids, will just ignore you because you don't speak Dutch, etc. Speaking from first and second hand experience here. Yes basically everybody speaks English (except my mother), you can order your complicated coffee preference anywhere you like but it just feels very unwelcoming that when there's more than one Dutch person in the room they immediately switch to Dutch even though they were just talking to you in English, for example. And professionally you'll hit that glass ceiling pretty soon. Sure, you can foam a couple of models, do a couple of renderings, even make a bunch of drawings that look like technical drawings, but unless the office has international projects going (best in your country of origin or at least where they speak your native language) or you pick up Dutch it will be extremely tough earning a decent, comfy and permanent spot at the table dealing with clients, contractors and advisors.

justavisual

I'm enjoying speaking my dinglish (dutch english mix). My method is everyone speaks to me in Dutch (also at meetings), I answer in English...works pretty well...gotta get over the insecurity of sounding like a 2 y ear old though...and just start speaking properly.

AdrianFGA

"you can order your complicated coffee preference anywhere " if I met a Dutch person who doesn't speak English and tried German to order "eine Tasse Kaffee" does that mean I might end up with a purse and coffee?

randomised

Nobody orders their coffee like that in Germany :) 'Einen Kaffee, bitte' would be enough, and I'm sure you'll get a cup of coffee with that when ordering in NL too.

AdrianFGA

"Ich hätte gern eine Tasse Kaffee", or without Tasse - Ich möchte gern' einen Kaffee

AdrianFGA

^ I was told that's how Schiller was ordering his coffee while he was writing his Ode to Joy

AdrianFGA

randomised -> to be fussy about the coffee, it depends on the waiter's question, the reply would be "Ein Kaffee bitte..." (nominative) or "Einen Kaffee bitte..." (accusative), true, many use the short form if used directly, that's why I find German grammar so hard

randomised

I was mostly referring to the somehow superfluous Tasse, not to Ein vs Einen, I wrote that without thinking too much about nominative or accusative, not to mention genetive or dative...we don't use cases in Dutch any longer, thankfully. If you ever consider moving east, to Poland, they have seven! cases instead of the meagre 4 in German :)

AdrianFGA

I think you dropped the cases before or around WW2? Sanskrit has 8 cases, that's the maximum # of cases any Indo-European language can aspire to.

AdrianFGA

Was wrong, Ossetian has 9 cases

lucasg51

Adrian, I'll have German standards in mind. Talking about where I should go, I wanted to move to London at first, so maybe Berlin is the closest that I could get to that kind of city in Germany and in the rest of Europe (remember that France is not an option for me). As you mention west Germany is in better shape, but I guess that living in east Germany is way better than living here. I'll have to think about it.

lucasg51

I could get a job (I'm not saying wich type of job or where) speaking just English. Nevertheless, I want to learn the languaje because I want to be part of the society. I'm not moving a couple of years to earn Euros and come back and change those to Pesos (the currency in Argentina, with an exchange rate of 50 to 1).

Volunteer

Having visited Buenos Aires and Cordoba I was amazed at how many people of European origin are in Argentina. Not sure if I would pick any country in the EU over Argentina right now. There is some wonderful modern architecture being done in many SA countries. Guess you could give Euroland a year or two. Good luck in any event.

Oct 1, 18 8:48 pm
randomised

True, some of the most interesting contemporary architecture is done over there. Ah well, guess the pampas is always greener on the other side of the border...

lucasg51

Well yeah, the grass is always greener on the other side, or at least it seams that way. It doesn't matter if it's way greener or just a little bit greener, I just need a change, a start from scratch.

AdrianFGA

"you dont need to speak dutch to live/work in NL...ask all the expats"


might be true for low-end jobs where no skills are needed, or high-end projects with lots of parties involved where the management is specifically done in English.


other than that,  not speaking the language will limit your options. for instance,  how could one understand contracts, drawings, or specifications written in Dutch without prior knowledge of the language?

Oct 1, 18 10:00 pm
justavisual

Speaking from experience - in architecture. It is entirely possible to work within an office as long as they have international work and an international team. If you want to have more responsibility of course you need to eventually learn Dutch, but you can do this after you arrive/decide to stay. Drawings are easy to understand, contracts only the team leaders/bosses are dealing with and as long are you're only on the design/competition side at the start you wont come anywhere near a specification. 

Oct 2, 18 5:20 am
AdrianFGA

Sure, you can foam a couple of models, do a couple of renderings, even make a bunch of drawings that look like technical drawings, but unless the office has international projects going (best in your country of origin or at least where they speak your native language) or you pick up Dutch it will be extremely tough earning a decent, comfy and permanent spot at the table dealing with clients, contractors and advisors.

That's exactly why I said that not being able to speak Dutch will limit your options.

You can work on high-end, mostly international projects, where the use of English is enforced for every aspect of the project. Or you can work the low end, like renderings, simple drawings etc.

As you correctly wrote, you won't deal with contractors or consultants if you don't speak the language, and that includes knowledge of technical terms.

I can only imagine the legal risks a Dutch firm might expose itself, if it assigned someone who doesn't speak Dutch, to actually run projects. (that goes for every country, of course).


Oct 2, 18 12:48 pm
randomised

Yes, that would be just stupid...especially since the level of English is not that great among your general contractors or suppliers, or among non-native-English-as-a-second-or-third-language-speaking-architects ;) Just go through some of the portfolios posted here to get what I mean.

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