If you live in the US but plan on splitting life between your hometown and Europe, you may be fulfilling a lifelong dream.
Perhaps you’ll be studying abroad during the academic year and going home for the holidays or summer months. Or you may be a retiree who has long dreamed of spending months-long stretches in Europe, or a pre-retiree in the planning stages of how time will be divided between the two continents.
If the world is your oyster—that is, if you are in the position of deciding where specifically in Europe you want to study or live—there are a number of factors to consider.
Below, we offer tips and advice in assessing where you would like to be, and then tips and advice on settling in.
Do you want to live in an area where you are fluent and live immersed in a language you’ve long loved? Or do you want living in a country to be the occasion of learning its language?
Are you a language maven who is intrigued by the differences between languages—say Catalan and Spanish—and want to converse in one while learning the other?
Remember, many people speak English in Europe, but it’d be foolish to assume that everyone will speak your native tongue simply for your convenience. You do have the UK as an option, but part of the fun of traveling is learning something new!
Urban Vs. Country Living
Do you want to live in a vibrant city such as Paris? Or would you rather live in the country, in places such as Provence or Languedoc-Roussillon? City life and country life can differ in many ways, and it can effect the course of your entire experience.
Of course, living part of the year in Europe does give you one advantage: You have plenty of time to explore! So if you live in the city during the summer, make sure to take weekend trips and mini-vacations to the countryside.
Although you can easily travel from city to country and vice versa, making an assessment of the activities you most enjoy will make sure you maximize those opportunities.
Are your favorite events likely to be found in cities, such as museum-going, operas and chamber music, or the theater? Or do you love vineyards and cozy nights around the fire, for which the country would be better suited? Do you want to ski in Grenoble, or drive the Castle Road in Germany?
If you have the ability to choose exactly where you’d like to stay, these are things to consider. After all, you won’t just be visiting for a few days—surrounding yourself with activities that you enjoy will help settling in for long periods of time a much easier transition.
Affordability and Accessibility
If you are a student, your place in Europe will be determined by the school you choose, whether Marseilles, Perugia, or Munich, at least during the school year. However, if you’re a retiree, you have much more independence.
If your goal is a city, check out affordability. The urban cores of Europe, such as Paris and Rome, are very expensive. It might make more sense to live in a more affordable urban area like Brussels than the expensive urban cores of Paris or Rome; Brussels is less than 200 miles from Paris, an easy weekend trip.
Give some thought to practical, everyday considerations as well. Do you need to be close to an airport for frequent trips home? Do you want to walk on cobblestone streets every day, and sit in a café? Or will your days be spent in a virtual business, so you need ample interior space?
Once you’ve given some thought to what you want and need, it’s a good idea to think about how to acclimate to living in two different places in a year. It’s a good idea to visit frequently before deciding to spend months at a stretch in your chosen place, so that you are fully acquainted with it. What is it like in the winter? In the summer? Is there a difference between the tourist season and the other months?
Make sure you know what the activities of daily life are like in the place, not only the exciting round of tourist activities and first-time sight-seeing. Shop for groceries. Do laundry.
It is also a good idea to make sure that your life in the US and your life in Europe have some commonalities. Travel, for example, is more flexible and convenient with a car than with public transportation. If you always use a car in the US, you might find that you experience being without one in Europe to be an inconvenience. It’s why many of our customers choose to lease a Peugeot while they spend time in their second, European homes so getting around is a no-brainer.
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