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Old 02-18-2008, 08:45 PM   #21
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LOL, that's so true. You're American no matter what your politics are, and you'll actually start to get a bit tired of having to constantly listen to all the BS.
That's very true and very important, especially if you are a proud citizen of your country (as most Americans are). To me, having BS about my home country constantly thrown in my face has been one of the most challenging aspect of living abroad bar none. You will have to develop a thick skin.
Another sobering aspect of permanently moving abroad is that you have been used all your life to be a first class citizen in your home country with all the corresponding rights and privileges, but when you move abroad, you become an immigrant (no matter how rich you are) with everything it entails (second class "citizen", reduced rights, more obligations, more restrictions, more government supervision, etc...).
For me, living abroad has been a valuable experience though. I realized that before moving abroad I was somewhat prejudiced against immigrants. But now that I am one myself (though by choice, not by necessity), I have a lot more respect for them. I know that living in a country that's not yours is a hard thing to do, no matter how lucrative it can be.
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Old 02-18-2008, 09:13 PM   #22
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Hey, Rob,

Did I catch that one must buy IHI before one cracks 60?

Ta, mate.

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Old 02-18-2008, 09:52 PM   #23
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I realized that before moving abroad I was somewhat prejudiced against immigrants. But now that I am one myself (though by choice, not by necessity), I have a lot more respect for them. I know that living in a country that's not yours is a hard thing to do, no matter how lucrative it can be.
I was taught to admire immigrants, growing up in the US. It is instructive to become an immigrant somewhere else where such an attitude is not the sociopolitical orthodoxy.

On the subject of illegal immigrants I tend to figure, hey, I jumped through the hoops to be a legal immigrant, why can't everyone else? But then again, I am not an economic refugee, so can't really compare situations. It is easy to have respect for the law when compliance is mostly a matter of patience, and not of survival.
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Health Insurance and feeling of being an immigrant
Old 02-18-2008, 10:35 PM   #24
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Health Insurance and feeling of being an immigrant

To the gentleman that asked about whether you had to purchase IHI before 60. The answer is "NO". However, they do require a physical to be submitted if you are over 60. If you are under 60 with no pre-exisitng conditions, then you can apply on-line and get the insurance immediately. If you do have a pre-exisiting condition, then the doctor needs to explain the condition, and you probably will not be covered for that.

I researched IHI thoroughly, and found that internationally it ranks right at the top for prompt payments and customer satisfaction. When I return to the States, it will continue to cover me there. Again- you have to purchase as an ex-pat, but after that, they guarantee coverage for life. For me, however, it will only be to age 65 when Medicare kicks in.

I'm in Jordan now teaching, and I have met my share of Americans who have lived here almost their whole lives. You only feel like an immigrant when you are determined to remain in a country for a short time and then leave. These expats feel anything but immigrants. In my own case, I was in Singapore for 20 years and am a Permanent Resident (green card holder) there, and I plan on going back every year and spending a couple months there even after returning to the States. Singapore is home, and I just don't feel like an immigrant.

You know, we can have thick skin when we hear negative comments about America overseas, and we can be proud Americans, which I am. Yet, when I hear friends and colleagues criticize certain aspects of US foreign policy, gun violence and lack of gun control, and our poor judgment on how we elect leaders, I end up totally agreeing. Am I a proud American? You bet, but I certainly agree with most everything they say.

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Rob
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Old 02-18-2008, 11:29 PM   #25
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I'm in Jordan now teaching, and I have met my share of Americans who have lived here almost their whole lives. You only feel like an immigrant when you are determined to remain in a country for a short time and then leave. These expats feel anything but immigrants. In my own case, I was in Singapore for 20 years and am a Permanent Resident (green card holder) there, and I plan on going back every year and spending a couple months there even after returning to the States. Singapore is home, and I just don't feel like an immigrant.

You know, we can have thick skin when we hear negative comments about America overseas, and we can be proud Americans, which I am. Yet, when I hear friends and colleagues criticize certain aspects of US foreign policy, gun violence and lack of gun control, and our poor judgment on how we elect leaders, I end up totally agreeing. Am I a proud American? You bet, but I certainly agree with most everything they say.

Regards,
Rob
I understand that expats might not FEEL like immigrants, especially after living in a foreign country for many years (I know I don't). But my point was that, no matter how they feel, they ARE immigrants. I don't know much about Singapore immigration laws, but the following could happen in a number of countries I am more familiar with: You say that you consider Singapore home, but Singapore could decline to renew your green card for example (it might seem unlikely, but it is a possibility). You probably can't vote in Singapore. And perhaps you can't leave the country for extended periods of time without prior approval from the government. Perhaps, still, you can't move within Singapore without notifying the government of your new address, etc... So you may not feel like an immigrant, but you are clearly not a full fledged Singaporian citizen with all the rights and privileges that go with the title. Some people could be bothered with that "second class citizen" aspect.

As for the second part of your post, I think we need to distinguish between two situations. If your colleagues said something like "American foreign policy sucks", I think it's easy not to take it personally because you can always reason that you are not responsible for that policy, and you may even disagree with the said policy. But what if somebody said (on TV for example) something like "America sucks" or "Americans suck"? Would you still not take it personally? As a proud American, would you not get hurt by such comment? I know I would. That's why you need to develop a thick skin so you don't work yourself up everytime that happens. It's the people who are not proud of their country (and IMHO of who they are) who don't need a thick skin.
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The immigrant feeling in a foreign country
Old 02-19-2008, 01:56 AM   #26
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The immigrant feeling in a foreign country

[quote=FIREdreamer;617935]I understand that expats might not FEEL like immigrants, especially after living in a foreign country for many years (I know I don't). But my point was that, no matter how they feel, they ARE immigrants. I don't know much about Singapore immigration laws, but the following could happen in a number of countries I am more familiar with: You say that you consider Singapore home, but Singapore could decline to renew your green card for example (it might seem unlikely, but it is a possibility). You probably can't vote in Singapore. And perhaps you can't leave the country for extended periods of time without prior approval from the government. Perhaps, still, you can't move within Singapore without notifying the government of your new address, etc... So you may not feel like an immigrant, but you are clearly not a full fledged Singaporian citizen with all the rights and privileges that go with the title. Some people could be bothered with that "second class citizen" aspect.

As for the second part of your post, I think we need to distinguish between two situations. If your colleagues said something like "American foreign policy sucks", I think it's easy not to take it personally because you can always reason that you are not responsible for that policy, and you may even disagree with the said policy. But what if somebody said (on TV for example) something like "America sucks" or "Americans suck"? Would you still not take it personally? As a proud American, would you not get hurt by such comment? I know I would. That's why you need to develop a thick skin so you don't work yourself up everytime that happens. It's the people who are not proud of their country (and IMHO of who they are) who don't need a thick skin.[/quote]

I agree with everything you say. I'm returning to establish a more permanent home in the States only to be able to leave again. It's a good feeling to have a home in the USA first, and venture overseas for a temporary home. At the moment, I literally have absolutely no home base in the States, since I've been gone since the 1970's, except for a couple years in Texas. That being said, my "green card" in Singapore will most likely never be revoked, and I really do feel totally at home there. Perhaps it is the fact that English is the main language and I can communicate very well.

As for the comments I hear, perhaps I've heard once or twice in 10 years that "America sucks" or "Americans suck". That makes me a little angry, and whoever says it, I'll ask them to explain why. They always refer to American foreign policy or the lack of personal safety, and instead of saying that, they just say "Amerca sucks".

What makes me a lot more concerned than that, however, is the fact that a much larger number of students than before really hesitate to get their undergraduate degrees from the US. They read and hear about our gun culture, the extensive paperwork for entering the States, and the high tuitions, and they're turned off. I know there are some good justifications for the paperwork, but I'm just saying what I hear all the time.

Where I am living now, I definitely feel totally foreign. As much as the Jordanian culture is fascinating with the Dead Sea a 15 minute car ride and Petra and Jarash within a couple of hours, I could never be here long term. As a non-Muslim, trying to fit into a Middle Eastern nation is difficult.

Regards,
Rob
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Old 02-24-2008, 08:02 AM   #27
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Whatever you do don't burn bridges... if you read thru forums like ThaiVisa there are plenty of people who last about two years in their "permanent move" before giving up and returning to US/UK/AUS to resume life, often with far more difficult employment prospects from being out of the game.
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Old 02-24-2008, 10:36 AM   #28
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This is merely conjecture, but I'd bet most fur-in-ers get their information/impressions of Mer-ka from the same source Merkins get their information/impressions of fur-in-ers and fur-in countries: the boob tube...
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Managing Mail, Money & Medical Abroad (4Ms)
Old 03-09-2008, 08:51 PM   #29
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Managing Mail, Money & Medical Abroad (4Ms)

Here are my thoughts on preparing for going abroad & ER

Mail: I have gone electronic on all possible mail. I stopped all my US subscriptions 1-2 years before ER so I get very little mail (at friends place).

Money. I use direct deposit/withdrawal at Fidelity for everything and can access account abroad on STAR, PLUS, & INTERLINK banking networks. Fidelity also connects to Citibank account -- Citi is everywhere. Have US Visa -- electronic billing. Use turbotax online for taxes.

Medical: I have gotten health insurance applications from IHI (as Rob suggested). IHI is widely used by teachers in Asia and gets good reviews.

Mental preparation. Probably most important. I went overseas more than 20 times before deciding where to live. 2 years ago I stayed for 1 month. Last year back for 2 more weeks. 1 month to ER!
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Old 03-09-2008, 10:16 PM   #30
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I suggest you review what others from the US have to say about actually living in other countries. Tales from a Small Planet is a really useful site and tells you what it's like to be someplace for years at a time. Not many "paradises" out there.


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The manufactured fear factor
Old 03-09-2008, 10:43 PM   #31
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The manufactured fear factor

I was trying to think of an appropriate title for this, and maybe the "fear factor" is not the best one. As a high school teacher oversea since the early 70's, far fewer American teachers have gone overseas to teachin the last few years. This is evidenced by the recruitment fairs where overseas asministrators just can't get the teachers. There have been a great increase in Canadian, Australian, and British teachers overseas, however.

You ask them why, and they say they feel safer living in America, and it is an unsafe world. It's like our country has become a fortress, and you only feel safe living there. My colleagues from Candada are genuinely surprised at how Americans are fed this daily political "propaganda" about the unsafe world. If that is what the politicians are saying to get elected, it's real sad that Americans believe it and are afraid to see the world anymore. I have teacher friends in Texas that want to go overseas to work, but the news constantly talks about danger ands terrorists. There is definite truth to some of that, but it's really used politically to the extreme where people, and in my case teachers, just don't want to risk living out in this "dangerous world". When you hear something over and over again, you begin to believe it.

Just my thoughts here.

Regards, Rob
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Fear Factor
Old 03-09-2008, 10:52 PM   #32
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Fear Factor

I feel safer in Japan than in the US.
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Old 03-10-2008, 11:57 AM   #33
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gosh yeah. I agree with bpp3. At least Italy seems much safer.

Rob, I think the fear factor is largely manufactured, but extends to the US as well: I was reading some US journalists complaining about ladies in their town not wanting to have their names in the paper or their photos ID'd because 'people would attack them in their homes'.. and that you couldn't print the names of kids in the Science Fair photos because the moms said they would all be targets for child molesters.
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rob - info on IHI please
Old 03-16-2008, 06:28 AM   #34
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rob - info on IHI please

Rob,
Please send more info on IHI if possible (web address etc).
I live overseas currently. Been abroad since 1992 or so, on our sixth country now.

Wife and 2 kids; Will want to get good medical coverage before I tell "big company" to take a hike in a year or two.

Am also thinking of getting my teaching cert and teaching at an international school as second career. Have always loved teaching, would especially like an oppy at the high school level. Any advice?

thanks.
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Insurance overseas and teaching
Old 03-16-2008, 11:42 AM   #35
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Insurance overseas and teaching

Papadad111, the web address for IHI is International¬*-¬*Travel insurance and health insurance from IHI I'm 61,and my premium is $3,000/year with a $1600 deductible. It covers me in the States, also. However, it only covers me in the States if I am an expat overseas when I purchase the policy.

As for teaching at the high school level, there is a real need for teachers since a lot of us are retiring, and the need is especially critical in areas of math, science and special ed. The problem is that getting a teacher's certificate might involve having to return to the States, but there are so many states that will fast track you, and you can get certified while teaching. Also, there has been an explosion of international schools where there are not enough teachers to fill the positions. Therefore, if you ever wanted to teach overseas, there are many opportunities. I've lived and taught in 8 countries, most for two years at a time except one in Singapore for 19 years. Singapore will always be home, although I am going to try the States for awhile.

I'm the opposite of you. I've been teaching for 36 or so years, and I am so tired of the paper work, grading, early mornings, weekend lesson preps, and so on. I'm not discouraging you by any means, but any job after many years can be tiring. I would not mind in my semi-retirement doing something out of education for a while.

Best of luck, and I hope you use IHI.

Regards,
Rob
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Old 03-16-2008, 01:52 PM   #36
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I was reading some US journalists complaining about ladies in their town not wanting to have their names in the paper or their photos ID'd because 'people would attack them in their homes'.. and that you couldn't print the names of kids in the Science Fair photos because the moms said they would all be targets for child molesters.
These crimes are infrequent, but far from unknown. Every person needs to decide at what level they want to set their caution procedures.

Similar to firewall security settings. You push it up until it starts to annoy your daily routines, then decide if you want to back off a little.

Most of us don't see enough of the world, and in particular stay tuned in long enough, to really know how relistic or unrealistic some security measures are. But if I were a woman, unless I had something material to gain from it, I would shun publicity. Likewise if I still had young kids, I would keep their lives private.

Ha
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Old 03-20-2008, 02:15 PM   #37
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Samm,

How much is the fee on withdraw from STAR, PLUS, and Interlink banking in a country like Vietnam?

Is there any cheaper way like HSBC?


Quote:
Originally Posted by samm View Post
Here are my thoughts on preparing for going abroad & ER

Mail: I have gone electronic on all possible mail. I stopped all my US subscriptions 1-2 years before ER so I get very little mail (at friends place).

Money. I use direct deposit/withdrawal at Fidelity for everything and can access account abroad on STAR, PLUS, & INTERLINK banking networks. Fidelity also connects to Citibank account -- Citi is everywhere. Have US Visa -- electronic billing. Use turbotax online for taxes.

Medical: I have gotten health insurance applications from IHI (as Rob suggested). IHI is widely used by teachers in Asia and gets good reviews.

Mental preparation. Probably most important. I went overseas more than 20 times before deciding where to live. 2 years ago I stayed for 1 month. Last year back for 2 more weeks. 1 month to ER!
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Old 03-21-2008, 10:31 AM   #38
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I am still in US and want out because of all the BS here. Just can't stand it any more. Our 9 months in Mexico made me realize how totally out of control our life is here.
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Old 03-22-2008, 03:24 AM   #39
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I am still in US and want out because of all the BS here. Just can't stand it any more. Our 9 months in Mexico made me realize how totally out of control our life is here.
Can you elaborate on what BS your referring to please. And also what made your life more controlable in Mexico?

Living in other countries can also be very trying at times. Other than large cities around the world, like Tokyo, Paris, London, Sydney, Hong Kong (and then even there things are not exactly the same), the amenities you get in the US, and the life style you lead here will be lacking unless you 'pay up', i.e. are on the luxury end of the scale.

I am not anti living abroad, just want to make sure everyone has the right expectations. In fact I am winding down 5 months in Asia. Love it, but at times miss some of the 'nicities' that we come to take for granted.
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Old 03-22-2008, 10:29 AM   #40
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A)
Despite a LBYM lifestyle, be prepared to face the populace as a wealthy man, and be judged accordingly. Maintain contacts with your current/past employers, should all else fail and you need to come back and work more.

If you have more specific Q's, send pmail.
Hm...I haven't thought much about this last part. In the US, I'd be middle-class affluent at best, and judging by the crappy van I drive, most people assume I'm a graduate student.

I'm thinking that "facing the populace as a wealthy man" implies more unpleasantness than pleasantness.
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