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Finding places that still have spirit...
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Lack



Joined: 10 Aug 2011
Posts: 252

PostPosted: Mon Jul 06, 2015 7:07 pm    Post subject: Finding places that still have spirit... Reply with quote

I'm working on my second year teaching in China. It's probably because I'm in a major city, but I've also seen it in small cities here: there's a loss of spirit. I can't define it exactly, but it's something that you know when you see (err, feel) it. I like China, but this relentless push to "modernize" and having construction going on 24/7 is already getting to be soul-killing. It's better in third tier cities, but only by comparison. China has ancient temples and pagodas and good like that, but you do often have to go out of your way to see them. I think a lot of people would be disappointed to learn that China's cities are mostly just blocks.

I haven't really felt it so much before, but I need a place that feels alive. A place that has that spirit to it. Some place that hasn't given up its soul to modernization. That doesn't mean some remote village where you can't even get online, but just somewhere that not relentlessly modernizing.

I'm from the U.S., so that might be why I feel this need so strongly. Americans' idea of "architecture" is, "Hey, let's put some boxes here. No, wait, I know: METAL boxes! Let's put metal boxes up! They can be schools and churches and stores and everything!"

That was one of my motivations for expatriating: that life in America is deadened. I think our lack of beautiful structures/cities/towns is a big part of that.

Anyway, I've got a few ideas. I've got good qualifications, so once I'm finished here I'll try for a better spot in the world. Not applying for jobs yet, too early for that, but will when the time comes.

Here are two cities I'm looking into currently:

Yangon, Myanmar
Guanajuato, Mexico

I'm starting to make a list. Obviously, Europe alone with probably comprise most of the list once I flesh it out.

What cities have the most spirit?
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nomad soul



Joined: 31 Jan 2010
Posts: 11454
Location: The real world

PostPosted: Mon Jul 06, 2015 7:14 pm    Post subject: Re: Finding places that still have spirit... Reply with quote

Quote:
I've got good qualifications.

Which are...?
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spiral78



Joined: 05 Apr 2004
Posts: 11534
Location: On a Short Leash

PostPosted: Mon Jul 06, 2015 7:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I sympathise with you wish to get away from metal boxes, and you are correct that Europe is much better. However, assuming you have 'only' a US passport, keep your Euro-list to Central/Eastern Europe and possibly Germany for realistic chances.

Even related MA or PhD isn't a ticket into Western Europe for non-EU citizens; ways in are rare and difficult based on the passport alone. Experience in Asia won't help, either....

When you have some possible target zones pinpointed, get back to us - I/we can probably help further.
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Lack



Joined: 10 Aug 2011
Posts: 252

PostPosted: Mon Jul 06, 2015 7:31 pm    Post subject: Re: Finding places that still have spirit... Reply with quote

nomad soul wrote:
Quote:
I've got good qualifications.

Which are...?


B.S. in Secondary Ed./ELA
I'm state certified to teach middle and high school in the U.S.
TEFL - on site, almost 200 hours of class/practicum
1 year of teaching at a language center in China
And now working on my second year in China, teaching at a uni
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Sashadroogie



Joined: 17 Apr 2007
Posts: 11061
Location: Moskva, The Workers' Paradise

PostPosted: Mon Jul 06, 2015 7:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Come to Russia! Plenty of душа to go around. Even in the concrete jungle...
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Lack



Joined: 10 Aug 2011
Posts: 252

PostPosted: Mon Jul 06, 2015 7:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

spiral78 wrote:
I sympathise with you wish to get away from metal boxes, and you are correct that Europe is much better. However, assuming you have 'only' a US passport, keep your Euro-list to Central/Eastern Europe and possibly Germany for realistic chances.

Even related MA or PhD isn't a ticket into Western Europe for non-EU citizens; ways in are rare and difficult based on the passport alone. Experience in Asia won't help, either....

When you have some possible target zones pinpointed, get back to us - I/we can probably help further.


Those two cities I mentioned I am serious about. As far as Western Europe, outside of a government program for North Americans to teach English in Spain, I don't know what else is there for teaching. Why do you say Germany is an option?

And as far as Eastern Europe, I don't have any particular interests. Never stepped foot anywhere in Europe. But when I look at photos of the cities, my heart yearns for something like that.
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spiral78



Joined: 05 Apr 2004
Posts: 11534
Location: On a Short Leash

PostPosted: Mon Jul 06, 2015 8:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yeah, I can't say anything about Mexico or Myanmar. Just Europe here.

In Germany, US citizens can get a work permit, under some circumstances - but it's not simple. There are some extensive threads on the Germany board if you want to know more.

You could keep an eye out for international school openings, but they are pretty rare. The usual 'in' for someone new to the region is at private language schools, teaching adult businesspeople. Your quals will be ok at entry level, but experience teaching children won't wow employers - unless you do find a kiddie-school that is hiring. In Central Europe this is still fairly rare (state schools hire qualified locals) but it is a slowly growing field, catering to mostly expats and better-off local families, so you might find something.

The most usual way to get a foothold in Europe is to
1. pick a country where you can get a work permit
2. come over during hiring time (it is rare for reputable schools to hire sight-unseen) , so late August/first of September
3. be sure you can support yourself for a couple of months before being paid

There are jobs around that are not entry-level, but it usually takes some time in a location to get hooked up with them. You need the local reputation and contacts, and probably at least basic local language skills.

The most likely countries for a US citizen are Czech Rep, Slovakia, Poland, Russia - there are some smaller markets like Croatia, Slovenia, and Estonia. Austria's got a really tiny job market and prefers EU citizens. Hungary's economy is in the toilet and that's impacted the job market there very significantly.

Anyway, as noted before, if you find some place/s that look particularly appealing, get back to us - it's easier to give advice if you are looking somewhere specific.
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currentaffairs



Joined: 22 Aug 2012
Posts: 828

PostPosted: Mon Jul 06, 2015 9:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Completely random:

Tallinn, Estonia

Very nice, compact, medieval town. People want to upgrade their skills and learn English for their jobs/careers. Economy starting to expand and investment from Scandinavia and elsewhere..

Sapporo, Japan

Another nice town close to the mountains and not too hectic. Some good opportunities to work and cheerful people. Other Japanese towns like Fukuoka, Nagoya and Osaka may be worth checking out.

Cali/Medellin, Colombia

Cali has plenty of spirit and a thriving party scene. Medellin would be the more sedate option and a nicer lifestyle, overall. Some decent possibilities for work with the right quals.

Lisbon, Portugal

I haven't actually been here but people tell me it has a good mix of a lively lifestyle, some attractive architecture, and the slower Mediterranean pace of life. You can also learn kizomba there. I will visit soon!
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spiral78



Joined: 05 Apr 2004
Posts: 11534
Location: On a Short Leash

PostPosted: Mon Jul 06, 2015 9:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Lisbon is great, but not a job market for non-EU citizens. Tallinn, though, I second - it's nice and there are some possibilities.
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Sashadroogie



Joined: 17 Apr 2007
Posts: 11061
Location: Moskva, The Workers' Paradise

PostPosted: Mon Jul 06, 2015 10:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

How much more soul can you want?!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PKGjG_ZhF-A
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maxand



Joined: 04 Jan 2012
Posts: 318

PostPosted: Mon Jul 06, 2015 11:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sashadroogie wrote:
How much more soul can you want?!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PKGjG_ZhF-A


in russia, soul want you Laughing
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MuscatGary



Joined: 03 Jun 2013
Posts: 1364
Location: Flying around the ME...

PostPosted: Tue Jul 07, 2015 1:10 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

France is possible for US citizens if you are prepared to go down the self-employed route. It can take some time to establish so you need start up capital.
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AGoodStory



Joined: 26 Feb 2010
Posts: 738

PostPosted: Tue Jul 07, 2015 3:31 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:




Here are two cities I'm looking into currently:

Yangon, Myanmar
Guanajuato, Mexico



Ah, Guanajuato! My all-time favorite North American city! How can you not love a city of such lavish color? Of pedestrian streets and alleys full of stairs and flowers and colonial architecture? Of underground tunnels for vehicular traffic? Of music and art and exuberance? Guanajuato is high on my list of eventual retirement locations. (Although age and stairs may not make the most ideal partners!) One thing to be aware of is the social conservatism of the city--the population is around 96% Catholic, and one of the most conservative cities in Mexico. I'm not suggesting that this is either bad or good, just something to be aware of, since it took me by surprise.

.
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haleynicole14



Joined: 20 Feb 2012
Posts: 178
Location: US

PostPosted: Tue Jul 07, 2015 6:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

AGoodStory wrote:
Quote:




Here are two cities I'm looking into currently:

Yangon, Myanmar
Guanajuato, Mexico



Ah, Guanajuato! My all-time favorite North American city! How can you not love a city of such lavish color? Of pedestrian streets and alleys full of stairs and flowers and colonial architecture? Of underground tunnels for vehicular traffic? Of music and art and exuberance? Guanajuato is high on my list of eventual retirement locations. (Although age and stairs may not make the most ideal partners!) One thing to be aware of is the social conservatism of the city--the population is around 96% Catholic, and one of the most conservative cities in Mexico. I'm not suggesting that this is either bad or good, just something to be aware of, since it took me by surprise.

.


I have never been to Guanajuato, but I have heard wonderful things about the city. I have traveled to several other parts of the country, and have found that it has that feeling you (and me!) admire.
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MotherF



Joined: 07 Jun 2010
Posts: 1450
Location: 1748'N 9746'W

PostPosted: Wed Jul 08, 2015 2:32 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Guanajuato, would be tough in terms of jobs, but nearby Queretaro has a fairly hopping job market.
But if "spirit" is what you are after, Oaxaca (the whole state) can't be beat.
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