How can I satisfy my career goals abroad when moving from the USA to Germany with my German boyfriend?

Hi Salima,

First and foremost, even though the prospect of more school seems daunting at this point, if you want to make a career as a lawyer and have the option of living and working in Munich, it may be worth going that extra mile and getting certified in Germany. But, that is a choice you will want to make after you have spent some time there, so here are a few ideas for you in the meantime. Some do involve teaching English, but it may not be in the context you are imagining:

  • Teaching law at a university. English is the language of instruction at many institutions of the world these days, especially at the graduate level.
  • Work online as a contract lawyer with a US employer
  • Take language courses in Munich while teaching English to executives part-time. I have a friend in London, UK who earns $1,200 per day teaching English to executives one-on-one.
  • Alternatively, teach English to German lawyers and use these contacts to make links in your field of work.
  • Specialize and become an international law consultant [in Public International Law (PIL)] or private sector law. Europe is at your doorstep; your client could be any international organization. You could start by pairing yourself up as a junior consultant with an international law expert in your field of work.
  • Law is surely not your only interest. Consider interning, volunteering or working in a field that interests you, but where your skills will come in handy. Consider an NGO or private firm.
  • Consider freelancing ideas listed in The Traveling Spouse: Why Work? and Why 50+ Workers Should Go Abroad (for registered users).
  • Take time off and enjoy Munich!

Good luck,

Full question: 

I have bar membership in two states and will soon be starting my career as a lawyer. My partner is from Munich and I’d like to move there with him for a period of time. I don’t want to start all over and qualify as a lawyer in Germany, but I’m determined to do something I am passionate about. I don’t like corporate law, so working with a big American firm’s Munich office doesn’t excite me. How would you suggest I explore work possibilities? What can I do besides teach English? I feel that I have more to offer than that at this point in my life. 

-Salima, 30, Austin, TX