Critical reflection needed! Study abroad over, reality settling in

9 posts in this topic

I'm at a bit of a crossroads here, and really looking for some critical feedback. I'm an American with a B.Arch. (Architecture) degree from the US, who, due to wanderlust, decided to do grad school in Germany, and just this year I graduated with a M.Sc (again Architecture). I'm currently working full time at an office, and also applying for a new position (thought a change of city might do me good after two years studying here) but I'm receiving offers of €2700-€2900 Brutto monthly.
According to other forums this is about expected for a fresh grad in my profession (Architecture), but it pales in comparison to my expected salary stateside, even ignoring tax differences. AND it basically works from the assumption that my experience in the US counts for nothing, that I'm starting over with my German M.Sc. as a fresh grad. At age 28.
Basically I'm wondering what makes more sense. An overwhelming reason to stay here was to make some use of my recently attained German degree (and not give the impression of me running back, tail between my legs), as well as travel more around the EU, cultural exchange, blabla.
However, realistically speaking, returning to the US makes more sense. Ultimately I want to settle down there (can't imagine ever becoming comfortable speaking German, although I'm currently...proficient), my family and friends are overwhelmingly in the US, and want to pursue my career and get licensed there. And due to the contrasting professional standards (i.e. CAD software, building codes) every month I'm working in DE I'm learning the wrong stuff.
So my current status is I have a job offer in another German city, which I do like, possibly offering a respite to my possibly overblown concerns. But again, lowball salary and I'd be trained further in DE standards. OR I can return stateside and, as my current job is actually at an American company (but at one of their German offices) I could request a transfer to one of their US offices. And this is an option that might be off the table once I take the other job offer and leave.
 
Anyway, if you got through that slog you have my many thanks. It's been keeping me up at night. Any feedback really appreciated! :)
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26 minutes ago, Pandekage said:
However, realistically speaking, returning to the US makes more sense. Ultimately I want to settle down there (can't imagine ever becoming comfortable speaking German, although I'm currently...proficient), my family and friends are overwhelmingly in the US, and want to pursue my career and get licensed there. And due to the contrasting professional standards (i.e. CAD software, building codes) every month I'm working in DE I'm learning the wrong stuff.
So my current status is I have a job offer in another German city, which I do like, possibly offering a respite to my possibly overblown concerns. But again, lowball salary and I'd be trained further in DE standards. OR I can return stateside and, as my current job is actually at an American company (but at one of their German offices) I could request a transfer to one of their US offices. And this is an option that might be off the table once I take the other job offer and leave.

 

What exactly is your question? :)

 

 

 

 

 

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49 minutes ago, engelchen said:

 

What exactly is your question? :)

 

 

 

 

 

Yeah sorry 🙃 Just wanted a sounding board I guess, or some input from fellow expats about what I should do.

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There is really no reason to apologise. 

 

It just seemed that you already knew the obvious answer. 

 

Can you come up with any good reasons to stay? (Besides more vacation?)

 

Travelling around Europe is also great if you can afford to do so. If you can't afford to go anywhere because you are just making ends meet, it doesn't count as a reason to stay.

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If it’s financially a struggle to build your work experience here and the feeling of being with family and friends outweigh the urge to make some use of your recently attained German degree, then go back to the US. Build your career there and still go on vacations in Europe. When you are ready, you can always apply for a job in  Germany. Your German degree will usually be given great consideration and you being a resident here and being able to speak the language proficiently will always be a good factor. 

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1 hour ago, engelchen said:

There is really no reason to apologise. 

 

It just seemed that you already knew the obvious answer. 

 

Can you come up with any good reasons to stay? (Besides more vacation?)

 

Travelling around Europe is also great if you can afford to do so. If you can't afford to go anywhere because you are just making ends meet, it doesn't count as a reason to stay.

I suppose it's more of fearing the regret. Before my two year residence here for grad school I had done a brief six month Vorbereitungskurs in Aachen, and after I finished that and moved back it was like it never happened...

The aspect of affording travel would probably be relegated to a budgeting question... but yes, an offered salary of €2800 brutto in Hamburg, isn't really promising, but I suppose for the first year and a half it should be sufficient for a two room apartment 30 min outside the city, plus some left over for cheap travels around Europe?

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Nobody can tell you what is best for you, because it is an emotional decision that you need to make.

 

Make a list of scenarios and a list of pros and cons for each one.  Rank them in order of importance for you.  Then make a decision.

I think you should consider the following scenarios, but there might be more:

 

  1. Going back to USA now
  2. Go back to USA in 2 - 5 years
  3. Staying here forever
  4. Staying here for now, no plans beyond 2 year and see what happens (you might meet the love of your life!)
  5.  

I don't know how it is in your chosen profession.  But sometimes somebody with 2 - 5 years real work experience in a foreign country will be able to get a better position when they go back.  At the very least, it will make you stand out above the other candidates.

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8 hours ago, Pandekage said:

I suppose it's more of fearing the regret.

 

oof.  with any decision this major, you will likely have some lingering doubts about "what if" or "if only I had..."  that's just life. But what is there really to regret?  Like, really - what exactly?  Each decision will make your life different, surely, but the chances of any path leaving you in true ruin are pretty small, not to mention if you don't like how things are going you can always make a NEW decision.  Think of it as a meandering path, not an express train where once you get on, there is no turning back.  

 

there is a great exercise for "fear" situations like this where you sit down and vividly imagine the absolute worst outcome you can think of.  I mean really take it as far as your imagination allows.  Permanent unemployment, a life of singledom, jail, burning buildings, homeless puppies - just let it fly - whatever crazy stuff your mind can come up with.  In the end you usually realize that the actual risks are not so dire.    

 

if most of your reason for staying is pride related, don't do that to yourself.  If your friends and family (or you, yourself) are more focused on judging you for returning home after a great life experiment, rather than being really really happy that you are back, you have a different set of concerns.

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On 3.7.2019, 23:15:44, Pandekage said:

I suppose it's more of fearing the regret. Before my two year residence here for grad school I had done a brief six month Vorbereitungskurs in Aachen, and after I finished that and moved back it was like it never happened...

 

Based on your other posts, I think whatever you decide you'll wonder what would have happened if you took the other path.

 

On 3.7.2019, 23:15:44, Pandekage said:

The aspect of affording travel would probably be relegated to a budgeting question... but yes, an offered salary of €2800 brutto in Hamburg, isn't really promising, but I suppose for the first year and a half it should be sufficient for a two room apartment 30 min outside the city, plus some left over for cheap travels around Europe?

 

I wouldn't move to Hamburg for 2,800€/month. This is about 1820€/month net and considering the costs in terms of not only money, but also time and effort to find an affordable apartment in Hamburg as a young foreigner with a new contract, I don't think it is really worth it.

 

On 3.7.2019, 19:59:19, Pandekage said:
my family and friends are overwhelmingly in the US, and want to pursue my career and get licensed there. And due to the contrasting professional standards (i.e. CAD software, building codes) every month I'm working in DE I'm learning the wrong stuff.

 

To me these reasons are very compelling to move back to the US; especially if you can get a job with your current company there.

 

I would also be honest with both companies and tell them that you would have liked to stay longer in Germany, however, you've realised that it makes no sense to work here for so little. German employers need to also realise that Geiz is NOT Geil .

 

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