Moving Abroad Plans Up in the Air? Here’s What You Can Do

To say that a lot has changed since my last post would be a gross understatement! But it’s true. Life as we knew it is on pause; our new normal is evolving on a daily basis.

mona lisa face mask
Photo by cottonbro

My family was planning to fly to Europe for the summer once the kids finished school in late May. We want to settle down there eventually.

But the EU has closed all Schengen borders for at least 30 days beginning March 17 to non-EU nationals to slow the spread of the COVID-19. The State Department issued a Level 4 Global Health Advisory recommending U.S. citizens avoid all international travel.

Stay Home. That’s the message. Not a big deal if you were in the talking and research phase of planning a move abroad. But what if you bought plane tickets, mailed in visa applications, put down a deposit on your new apartment in X country or worse yet, recently sold your home?

What Can You Do???

First, try to relax, don’t panic. The U.S. and Europe are essentially on pause right now so time is on your side. Handle one issue at a time so you don’t get overwhelmed.

Plane Tickets – Contact the airline(s) or third party you booked your tickets with to see if you can get a refund or allow you to change the travel dates at no additional charge. It’s the least they can do since travel to Europe is restricted.

Visa Application(s) – If you used VFS Global to process your application all visa operations are closed until further notice. Refer to the website for up to date information. If you used another company please contact them directly for status updates.

Lease Agreements/Home Purchase (Abroad) – Contact your estate agent or landlord to discuss your options. If you’ve changed your mind about relocating find out if your landlord is willing to cancel the contract and return some/all of your deposit. If you’re in the process of purchasing a property consult with a real estate attorney from X country to know what your legal rights are in terms of terminating the deal or extending the closing date. Flexibility is key for all parties involved.

Lease Agreements/Home Sale (Stateside) – If you gave notice to your property manager to leave by a certain date and need to change it, contact them to find out if can convert your lease to a month to month situation. Otherwise you may have to crash with family/friends or find a new place to live. If you’re about to close on the sale of your home, you’re obligated to complete the sale or risk being sued by the buyer and possibly the listing agent for breach of contract which could involve stiff financial penalties. Or maybe the buyer will be understanding about your situation and let you out of the deal. Again, please consult an attorney before making any decisions.

Anything Else – You should have noticed a pattern by now 🙂 Contact anyone else directly involved with your move abroad. Everyone is venturing into uncharted territory right now so don’t assume that your plans are dead in the water. Maybe all you need to do is adjust your timeline to make it all happen!

empty european streets
Looks eerie without people in the photo

When Will Things Get Back to Normal?

China’s first coronavirus cases began late last year and is now starting to reopen businesses, restaurants, and tourist attractions with strict virus control measures in place. Masks are worn everywhere, travel is monitored via smartphones, work areas are repeatedly sanitized and employees are subject to daily temperature checks.

There’s still fear of a resurgence of new infections in China but a complete lock down with no end in sight is not an option for economic survival either. Risking an infection to put food on the table is a balancing act no one should face but that’s the reality.

The U.S. hopes to follow suit over the next couple of months but we haven’t reached our apex yet. The United States leads the world in the number of reported infections and those numbers along with deaths continue to rise.

So for now, moving abroad is a delayed dream for many but hopefully not indefinitely!

In the meantime, continue to protect yourself and loved ones by staying home as much as possible, wearing a mask and gloves when you go out, wash your hands frequently and staying hopeful during these difficult times.

Take care! đź‘Ť

8 French Bachelor Degree Programs Taught In English

Photo: Joson [CC BY-SA 3.0], from Wikimedia Commons

According to, more than 17,000 students study abroad in France each year, and international students now make up 10 percent of the country’s college student population.

That’s a pretty big number and I’m sure most of those students go over there with the intention of learning about French culture, food, art, try to speak the language, etc.

But what if you want to enjoy all that France has to offer as a student but can’t speak a lick of French? Well, there are several public universities that offer Bachelor Degree Programs taught completely in English!

Program costs are very affordable. Although tuition fees have increased for the 2019/2020 school year, the French government will cover 2/3 of your tuition costs. In some cases your fees could be reduced even further if you qualify for one of their special situations. Please review the updated tuition fee schedule for French public institutions.

Before I get started with the list, you need to be aware that the French equivalent of a Bachelor’s Degree in the U.S. is slightly different. It’s called a License, requires 180 ECTS (European Credit Transfer System), and only takes 3 years to complete.

Some of the programs on this list are just for the last year of the License program (L3). So if you’ve completed at least 2 years of a Bachelor’s program in the states and your coursework is related to the License program, your credits may transfer and allow you to complete your degree. Related work experience may also help your case. Be sure to check with the schools directly for specific application requirements.

France regional map. Schools are located in circled areas.

1. UniversitĂ© Clermont Auvergne – Bachelor 3rd Year in International Business

2. UniversitĂ© Grenoble Alpes – Professional Bachelor : Computer Networks and telecommunications specializing in Computer Networks, mobility, SĂ©curity

3. University of Lille – IAE School of management – Bachelor in Business Administration (BBA)

4. UniversitĂ© Paris Est CrĂ©teil Val-de-Marne – Bachelor’s Degree in International Business (L1+L2+L3)

5. UniversitĂ© Paris Est CrĂ©teil Val-de-Marne – Bachelor’s Degree of Arts in English (Anglophone Studies)

6. UniversitĂ© Paris Est CrĂ©teil Val-de-Marne – International Economics & Management Bachelor’s Degree (3rd Year)

7. UniversitĂ© Paris Est CrĂ©teil Val-de-Marne – License 3 International Management

8. UniversitĂ© Toulouse 1 Capitole – Bachelor in International Management

Even though these programs are taught in English, it’s expected that you attempt to learn the French language as part of your coursework. The French are very proud of their language and culture and want you to embrace it as part of your educational experience!

I hope you found this information useful. Ready to take the plunge? Campus France is your first step in the process.

If you’re unsure about handling things on your own and want to explore your options, then contact me for a 1 hour consultation via Whatsapp.

Til next time!

Which Country Should You Move To? 7 Things to Consider

The question is simple enough right?

Well it depends…..

Moving across town is daunting enough, but moving to another country (yikes!!) is on a completely different level!

Before you move though, you have to decide which country will become your new home. Here are 7 things to consider (in no particular order) when making your decision.

1. Cost of Living

How much money do you need to live comfortably? Check the average cost for rent, food, utilities, health insurance, etc. Expect the costs to be higher the closer you are to major cities.

2. Climate

What kind of weather do you like? Singing in the rain in the UK, or getting 300 days of sunshine in Portugal? Weather may not be a deal breaker for you but if you have health issues affected by certain temperatures, then definitely do your research.  This site gives you weather and climate information for nearly every country in the world.

3. Transportation

If you want to live close to where the action is then you’ll probably use public transportation to get around. So look at countries with extensive transportation options such as trams, buses, trains, uber, etc.

If you prefer to live in a rural area then having your own vehicle is a must. Some people ship their vehicles overseas rather than purchase a new one so shop around for shipping providers to see if that may be an option for you. 

4. Education

This section is geared towards families with school age children. Every parent wants the best educational experience for his/her child, especially in a foreign environment so research is crucial. Should your child attend a local (public=free) or international (expensive) school? Is there a foreign language proficiency required or will classes be taught in English?  Do the schools provide extra curricula activities such as sports, art, music?

Most schools have websites but some are difficult to navigate so don’t be afraid to contact the schools directly with your questions/concerns. Email is best if you don’t speak the local language (yay Google translate!).

5. Language

Do you speak another language? Moving to a foreign country that speaks a language you already know will certainly make relocation easier. If you don’t then there are tons of apps and YouTube videos available to help you learn.  Even if your accent and sentence structure are terrible, the local community will appreciate your attempts at communication!

Fluency will come over time so don’t worry about making mistakes. We expect foreigners to speak English in our country so return the favor. 🙂

6. Employment Opportunities

Getting a job as a foreigner in countries like Germany and France is very difficult but possible. One option is to work for a U.S. based company that offers international travel. Or find an international company that will sponsor your work visa/permit and have a skill set that’s in high demand. If you’re a college student, you can work part-time while studying and look for full-time work after you graduate.

7. Political Climate/Safety

When you move to a new environment, whether that’s a job, apartment, house, city, etc.,  you hope for things to be better. The same sentiment applies when moving to another country.  You want to feel safe and not worry if the country is on the brink of civil war or has high crime rates. Is the country foreigner-friendly?

One way to find out about the political climate of a country you’re considering is to tune in to their local news stories for current issues. Learn about past political figures and historical events. Or look at the Global Peace Index for a ranking of the world’s most peaceful countries. 

If possible, visit the country on a scouting trip and talk to the local residents to get their perspective.

The links mentioned in this post are provided as a courtesy. I am not affiliated with any of the websites mentioned nor receiving any compensation.

I Want to Move to Another Country- What Do I Need?

U.S. citizens are able to visit many countries as tourists, but living in a foreign country is a completely different ballgame.  Each country has their own set of requirements for the application process so research is crucial! 

Before I go any further, I want to make sure that everyone knows that you need a passport to visit or live in another country. Your driver’s license is not gonna cut it. If you don’t have one, please click here to find out how to get it. The process is pretty straight forward and takes 2-6 weeks to receive it in the mail.

Getting a passport is the first step in the visa process.

Once you have your passport you’ll be able to apply for a visa.  Visa applications are processed by your chosen country’s embassy/consulate assigned to your state.  Click here for a list of embassy and consulate locations in major cities.  For example, if you live in Georgia and wanted to move to Portugal, you would apply at the embassy in Washington D.C. For France, you would apply at the consulate in downtown Atlanta.

Some of the visa requirements vary between countries but the common ones are:

  1. Reason for moving.  You need to explain why you’re moving there- for work, travel, school, retirement, to start a new business? Be prepared to show documentation to support your reason (work permit, accepted college application, business plan, etc.)
  2. Financial means. How will you support yourself in a foreign country? You will have to show proof of funds (savings, passive income, pension, money from family) to support your living expenses; at least 3 months or longer.  Most long stay visas won’t allow you to work unless you are a student or have a work permit from a foreign employer, which is very difficult to obtain.
  3. Health insurance. You need to show coverage for at least 3 months, preferably with zero deductible. Contact the consulate/embassy for exact coverage requirements.
  4. Criminal Background Check. Again check with the consulate/embassy to find out if a criminal record report from your state or an FBI background check is required.
  5. Proof of Accommodations. Depending on the country, a hotel reservation for a few weeks will suffice but other countries look for a longer term arrangement like an Airbnb rental for a few months or even a lease contract!
Carefully follow the directions of the visa application to improve chances for approval.

If you have these 5 steps covered in your visa application then odds of approval are pretty good.  Please contact your embassy/consulate with any questions you have before you submit your application.  You don’t want to risk a rejected application because of a minor mistake or oversight.

If you feel overwhelmed by the process and would like additional help then contact us to schedule a mobile consultation session via WhatsApp.

Til next time!