travel advice & savings
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Cost of Living
nyleen's profile picture
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I was wondering what the cost of living is like in the towns that skirt around major cities in France, Spain, Sweden and Italy. I may be moving out there for about two years with my best friend for the experience but I am really curious as to the cost of living versus the income that a waiter, for example, earns. Or maybe even a maid at a hotel or a nanny. I dont expect to have a luxurious job there considering my degree is difficult to work in without knowing the language (I have a degree in sociology and only speak english and spanish).

Also, is there such thing as furnished apartments? And do they have rent terms of 6 months in most places? And do apartments tend to not allow small dogs? Like 2 tiny Italian Greyhounds.

If anyone has any feedback that would be verrry appreciated!

Don's profile picture
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I have friends living in a suburb north of Stockholm that I visit about twice each year. It’s def geared toward two income families with mostly single family (detached) homes. Groceries are not so bad, maybe 30% more overall vs. mid-America prices, but eating out can be quite expensive. Stockholm has simplified it’s public transport fare scheme. Now one fare gets you pretty much anywhere; no zones, so no time limits. I paid 20 SEK to go bus + metro to Stockholm Central from this suburb about 30km north of the city—pretty cheap considering the distance.

My concern is that you will have a hard time finding any job if you do not speak the local language well. Additionally, you need to arrange a work permit before arriving in a country. Contrary to popular belief, you can’t just show up in a different country and expect the right to work. This means you’d have to get a job offer from a company months in advance, they submit your paperwork to the employment authority, then you apply for that position, pay the application fee, then wait 1-6 months for a reply. The employer must attest that the position has either already been advertised to local, then EU employees, that no suitable candidate was found, and that you are the only candidate qualified for the position.

I think your best bet is through current contacts (friend of a friend who works for a company in Europe, etc.) or even distant relatives living in Europe. Otherwise, if you took a job ‘under the table’, there’s no guarantee you’d even get paid, and if you didn’t, what are you going to do? Go to the police—then be immediatialy deported? Keep in mind that as a tourist, you only have 3 months to stay in the countries you mentioned; that’s not per-country, that’s all together since they all are part of the Schengen agreement. And, you can’t just leave Schengen zone for a day the return with a fresh 90 days; it’s 90 days in / 90 days out.

I’ve heard of bar work or hostel work, but even that’s a stretch—but may be an idea?