After being back in SA for the last 3 years, my bones are itching to move somewhere again. My girlfriend of the past 2 years also wants to go somewhere (She has never been out the country) so we have been discussing different places to move. My brother lives in Brisbane (AU) and has been wanting us to move there too, but the whole process of getting in there is expensive and complicated, especially when I have Italian citizenship and can live anywhere in Europe.
Some stats about me, I just turned 30 (yay.), have no debt and about $10 000 in assets. I am a native English speaker, but also speak Italian and Afrikaans (bastard dutch) and can read a bit of German.
Anyway, so we've been going through different european countries trying to figure out where we would like to go, and I would like to ask the opinions of other people. A lot of places have been eliminated due to language barriers, including Germany and Italy, because although my italian is functional, it work take me another year or so to get up to work level. I also don't really want to go to England again, but due to ease I have it as an option.
Holland has some benefits, because everyone speaks english, and we would probably be able to learn dutch in a few months (90% of the vocabulary is the same as afrikaans), but I get the feeling it will be very crowded, and something else I'm not sure of makes we want to avoid it. Not being able to speak dutch straight away might stop us from getting work. My brother also lived there with his family for a year, and he liked it, but not to live.
England (Not London):
We are specifically looking at Bristol, as one of my girlfriend's friends lives there, and it sounds like a nice cultural, big, but not too big place. Looks like there are plenty of IT jobs, the downside being that it's England, and I've been there, and might feel crappy after living in London.
Norway came up as an alternative to Iceland (below), but I'm not sure, because I am thinking it may be too similar to Sweden which I visited, and wouldn't really want to live there, but on paper it seems really nice, haven't really looked into it that much yet, so just want opinions.
The last 2 are our top 2 choices.
It's a pretty weird choice, but it looks like a really great place to live for at least a couple of years. We like the idea of living in a place that is the complete opposite of what we are used to (warm, crowded, poverty, bleh) they all speak english and it sounds like it's pretty easy to get work as a programmer.
Lots of benefits on paper, like same language, IT jobs, nice culture, friendly people etc. Main worry for me is the economy and whether it is too similar to england... and I am afraid I won't be able to understand what anyone says!
So yeah those are the ones we have been looking at. I have a soft spot for Eastern Europe and Germany, but the salaries/language barrier will probably be too difficult to overcome. We will probably go and check out Bristol, Ireland and Iceland on holiday next year.
TL;DR: I want your opinions of the countries in bold above.