How to choose the "right" country/city to live? | Coursera Community
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How to choose the "right" country/city to live?

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Hey everyone,

I´ve been traveling and moving around since childhood (within Slovakia, country I come from, but also all around the world). I think I got used to it and became kind of like a "nomad" 😃 I´m 26 now and I really would like to find a place I belong to, have a job and a flat for longer period than a year without feeling the urge to move out after a year again. Because of this lifestyle, I don´t have any relationship, I have maaany friends but only few of them are the real ones, and I am starting to feel the fear that I will end up forever-alone if I continue living like this... Is it weird? :D

I´d like to know:

How did you find the right place (country/city) to live in?
How do you know that the place is THE place you wanna stay for the rest of your life (or at least for few years)?

Thanks for all your thoughts 🙂

10 replies

Hi Kristina,

I have moved around much less, but I ask myself similar things. I wouldn't worry about "rest of your life" before you've stayed in one place for a few years first. That way you learn about what you like in a place you live in longer term.

To want to stay somewhere longer term, there needs to be something keeping you there. This can be an interesting job, or just many good job opportunities. It can also be access to nature, if that is more important to you, or people who share your interests. Have you thought about what interests you? That might make the decision easier, since having a particular industry you'd like to work in or activities you want to do may make the list of places you'd want to stay in longer term shorter (some industries may be clustered in a small number of places, and if you love for example wind surfing or winter camping, that would clearly limit the places to consider).

Personally, my choice hasn't been hard: I only moved twice in my life: once from Amsterdam to London, and then on to New York. In both cases it was clear what pulled me there and why I would stay there for a while. Big cities are great to live in for job opportunities and making friends easily, and generally feeling like you're in the center of where everything is happening. However, I can imagine a few years from now I might prefer a place in a more rural area where quality of life is higher and there is more bonding with neighbours.

Hope this helps. Good luck!
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The whole world is full of possibilities, and opportunities adding to your experience. However, choosing the right country/city to live in cannot be a hasty decision.
Therefore, the most effective and useful methods that could help a person to reach to the right choice and decision can be like:
  • Conduct a thorough research about the place
  • Prefer to plan a visit to that place to get a hands on experience
  • Learn about the types of opportunities available there especially appealing to your own interest and passion
  • Discover and explore the possibilities available for new migrants there
  • Consider the working and living conditions available financially and economically
  • Discuss with your family (if you have) how they feel about moving to that particular place to avoid any future misunderstandings
  • Plan thoroughly before taking your final decision about the place. Although, mistakes do have their own price, provided you are ready to pay.
I am not sure how. At the end I think it just happens. Why did we end up living here? My family had moved to different cities in my country of origin, but I never lived in one of them for more than 10, 15 years, not even where I was born. Then when my wife and I decided to come to Canada with three children, as independent immigrants with permanent residence, we came right from day one to Waterloo, Ontario, thinking this would be temporary, thinking about going to Toronto, according to our research and plans including having come to Toronto on vacation before immigrating. Soon after that we got jobs here and stayed because the city had very good schools and universities for the children. Now we have completed 22 years living here in spite of having had different professional opportunities to relocate to other cities. And we have always felt at home here, since day one.
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When a young eighteen year old in Pakistan, on my way to university, instead I eloped with a Spaniard, and landed in Madrid almost a year later. The cultural shock was great, I had been brought up in a very liberal open minded family, and was surprised to find Spain very conservative. I managed to study, work, and be a mother, all of it bringing much satisfaction, learnt how to cook, iron, keep a home clean and such.

My upbringing had been very comfortable, staff at home for every chore imaginable; seven dogs, each one loved dearly; many friends and family all over the country; arriving in Spain where I was totally anonymous was appreciated. Even more so, to be able to run a home on my own, and a fairly decent one, work and bring up a son gave me enormous satisfaction. Everything I had was a result of hard work of which I was most proud. Such freedom I enjoyed tremendously.

Spanish are very friendly family oriented people. I learnt so much from them that was beneficial. One, to make a perfect tortilla española! Over the years, I have made many amazing friends, and my work colleagues have taught me much. In a Spanish ambience, it has been an extremely fruitful learning experience, ongoing. There is nothing quite as sitting at a Madrid terrace with friends, by the Prado museum, over drinks and food, sharing chatter and laughter. Birds come to roost over night at the parks in the area, my dog is brought a platter of tidbits and water, all perfect. Spaniards enjoy meeting up for tapas and drinks at terraces, where one sees people from all parts of the world today, having a great time. Its charm is particular to the country.

The Mediterranean countries of the EU have excellent cuisine, healthy, and affordable. In north Europe I have noticed, to eat such quality of vegetables and food in general is very costly, whereas in Spain, you can choose costly or cheap, the quality tends to be excellent. Spanish food whether from its coast lines, the north or central, is excellent. Its olive oil, oh so good...

I have travelled all over the country, and what I can say is there is so much history in every little town or village one happens to drive through, whether from the Phoenicians or Roman times, or more recently, its Moorish part.. The country overwhelms, its people hospitable beyond belief, wonderful to travel, whether by road, or train, my two favourite ways..

I was adopted with such pleasure by Spanish friends, indeed I consider myself Spanish, identifying more with its culture than my country of origin.. I was unsettled when I first arrived, but would not change it for any other part of the world today.. It runs in my blood.
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Kristina hi! I decided to answer to your sweet wonderings as am being one of the kind, almost, certain identification never exist in an absolute way.

First of all, learning what is the “gap” inside you that makes you look for, the two points you need to bridge that will help you a lot. The same in an opposite different way is to discover what vibes make you move from one place to another. The Gitano syndrome isn't a disease but rather a way of confronting life.

By learning those that make you move from place to place you will understand and hold the things that keep you up in a place. I want to have your attention in the compromising. Life is full of compromises and rebels face hard situations in all places. Supposing you aren’t one, at least in changing rapidly the poles of a system, to bring any relation upside-down then we proceed.

At the age of 43 y.o. and after I had changed my whole life 3 times till then –that’s almost every 8 years- I finally concluded what I liked more. It was the silence/tranquility/serene places that somebody finds in nature. So, I left the crowded city for a quiet place and for the next 8 (precise) years, I lived as I wished. My house, my work, my friends and a nice mountain in front of my house (I’m fond of) and the sea from the other side, was perfect.

But… life makes its tricks without asking. So, gradually and in a period of 5 years, I lost everything of my peaceful rural life. I compromised with my new life as I ought to and that was. I goodbye silence and tranquility and moved to the same small city I had firstly chosen but now downtown as obliged.

So, now I’m 59, I’ve got all supplies and the paraphernalia I need, am rich in experiences and very important I'm healthy. Yes, I’m happy. The fact that had chaged the way of my life was strong but, I didn't let alter and my inner world.

Everything changed but the mountain wild and serene was still there. Even today, I turn my head to it every time lose my mood.

Yes. It stays still in my life and when I’m thinking that will be there for the next hundreds of centuries, it makes me calm and not asking for more. It’s awesome! It was there thousands of years before we inhabit...!

When all things running, at least one thing must be constant. That one is the key, different for each one.
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Great question! I have moved around a great deal - first living in Oxford then moved to Zimbabwe when I was 17, then New York when I was 21, London for University, and then teaching jobs in Turkey and Spain before coming back to Oxford in 2007. One thing fundamental to feeling comfortable is a sense of home - Oxford is my home and I know all it has to offer plus all of its threats and challenges. This familiarity is comforting but not exciting. Travel is exciting - there’s always something new to discover - I miss that.
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Hello! I relate to your question though I have never chosen to stay at certain places.Circumstances have shifted me here and there. My father had a transferable job when I was young and we were transferred in many parts of India. Consequently, I have lived and stayed in different parts of India. There are two places where I have felt completely at home, i.e Jaipur and Kolkata, the city where I live now.
Though I was a stranger in Jaipur, I was overwhelmed by the warmth by which people accepted me there be them colleagues, teachers or my classmates as I was both a student and a teacher there. I love Kolkata, again for the warmth of the people around here.
I believe you should choose a place where you feel safe and feel that it is a wonderful place to raise a future family in. A place where you are close to your loved ones and also provide you career opportunities in your field. All the best for the endeavour.

I grew up in Chicago, but moved to California when I was 22. That was everyone's dream--to live in California. I've lived both in the southern part of the state & in the northern part. Met my husband there & we made decisions on relocating together. (But I think it was mostly me who had wandering feet.)

After 30 years in the San Francisco bay area, and after 911, I felt we should move out of Cali. The job market had tanked & the costs of living in SF were draining our savings. We were lucky--and sold our place a few years before the mortgage debacle. Had we not moved we would have likely lost everything.

So, we moved all the way across country to Central NY. We currently live on a small farm. But my husband turned 70 this year and I turned 67. We need a smaller place and a single story home to grow old in. So, we're making plans.

first we considered Vermont. Taxes were too high (something to consider for a long term plan.) Then we considered New Hampshire. My husband has a brother who recently moved there.

But one day while driving I suddenly thought: "Were is it I really want to be?" The answer came immediately: Oregon or Washington, somewhere on the coast. So, we're in the midst of a 2-year plan to pay off bills, fix up the house & property to get as much as possible, and downsize on the farm animals. In the meantime, we're researching on and checking out the housing market and towns along the coast.

So, for you? The internet is the best place to be. Make a list of the things that are most important to you or what you want to experience. Then, search on those things for an area to live in. If it's the US, you can use several sites that specialize in rentals. Be sure to take into consideration what it was about some of the places you lived in that you DIDN'T like and be sure to check those factors out in possibilities. Eventually, you will find a region, then a city or town, then a neighborhood. Take a trip & visit it for at least a few days, longer if you can. Walk the neighborhoods.
All the advice and life experiences people have written here have been so interesting and all so true. You really have to ask yourself what are you looking for? What kinds of people do you hope to meet? Activities you hope to participate in? Job market and availability?
We recently retired and wanted to move to a new community.
I was looking for cultural activities, from shows to movies, lectures, concerts, etc. We found a 5 college town where so much is always going on. You can always find interesting things to do. Yet it is surrounded by mountains with forests and hiking trails so you can appreciate natural beauty as well. There are so many activities to join. I enjoy playing music and found several ensembles to participate in.
The politics of an area were important to me too, as well as an area where there is diversity, where there are many varied cultures. The only problem with living here in Western Massachusetts is that the winters are very cold.
Think about what everyone has said and choose carefully. However, if it doesn’t work out, you can always move again! : )

I can relate to what you wrote! Grew up in Southern France, spent 28 years in Northern CA (moved more than 10 times), back to France, to restore and I thought spend the rest of my life in a farmhouse built by my ancestors in 1760….. well, long story, sold it in 2017 to move to Southern Portugal with my then-boyfriend….. got cold feet about him….. took a map of France, decided on my priorities: not too far from the Atlantic, within one hour of a large city, enough land for my two horses, single-story house…. and I found it, 50 mns from Bordeaux. In my 60s, this might not even be my last place….. I, like you, am a nomad, no family, free as the wind to explore new places. I will stay in France, though….. the health care system is just too incredible, one doesn’t need to budget for health problems.