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Need your advice and view on a hard decision

Discussion in 'Strategies, Tactics, and Training' started by RadekSkylark, Aug 13, 2017.

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  1. RadekSkylark

    RadekSkylark Member

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    Hallo, everyone.

    This is probably not going to be a usual kind of thread for this forums, but as I didn't know a better place to find people who are into guns/survival etc. I decided to post this thread here. This thread is not going to be about guns or survival in particular, but rather about me taking a decision about what should I do to keep my family safe, or in other words - I'm hoping you can discuss the subject with me so that I can make the decision easier.

    So here is my story.

    I'm 27 years old, I have a wife (she's my age) and a 10 months old daughter. We live in Latvia, Riga (Baltic States - eastern/northern Europe). I've recently graduated from university (bachelors in civil engineering) and I'm currently working as a structural engineer in one of the best design offices in Latvia. In a month I'll start my masters' studies, which I intend to finish in 5 or 10 months (it depends). My wife has received her bachelor degree in materials science 5 years ago. Now she's on paid leave (because of our daughter) until August 2018, when she'll return to her job, or possibly some other job. Our daughter will be 10 months old in a week, and she'll start attending local kinder garden in September 2018.

    As many of you may know (or may not know) Russia occupied Crimea a few years ago and has backed separatists in eastern Ukraine since. This, of course, has raised a certain amount of distress in Latvians, as historically we have been subjected to an occupation more than once.

    After occupation of Crimea, I started to realize that hybrid warfare could be possible in Latvia as we - this was when I started to think that possibly I should attain a CCW license and get a handgun, which I did, struggling through many of problems I had to face to attain the license (I have another topic where there is more info on this, although I haven't had time to update any info on my progress on anything, because there has been none as I seriously lack free time). Somewhere at the same time, we started to think that we would want to relocate to, ideally, the US, or some other great country, which is safe and has a lot of opportunities to evolve in business and life in general and to raise our family in that country. As this is not as easy as getting in the car and driving where we want, we decided to postpone this decision until I graduate.

    Now, since our daughter was born, I couldn't help but wonder about my wives and daughters safety here in Latvia in case something would happen, either hybrid warfare or conventional. Some of you may know that there are certain views on the matter concerning Russia's interest in Baltic states, and for me, some of the views are really alarming. Anyway, I'm sure that if something serious were to happen we would be occupied and if NATO or someone else would respond Latvia wouldn't be anything but a battlefield, so in any such scenario, there's nothing good for Latvians what so ever. If there's something to learn from occupation all over the history, it is the repressions, genocide, homicides, rapings and many other horrible things that man can do. None of these things I would want my girls (wife and daughter) to experience. I can't stand the idea that I won't be able to keep my girls safe, that in occupation there is a high possibility that I just won't be able to protect them. This drives me nuts, I'll be honest. I just can't stand to imagine someone doing any kind of harm to my little girl, I can't bear the idea.

    Around 2 or 3 years ago when we first started to really think about moving to live abroad our situations was simpler than it is now - I didn't have the good job I have now, our financial situation was tougher, we didn't have a daughter, we were a bit younger, etc, so the decision of moving seemed more easy, as we thought that the worst case would be us just loosing couple of years of our life (not growing as a family and in our careers, etc). Now the situation has changed quite substantially - I have a good job with realistically foreseeable promotions, bought a motorcycle and a nicer car for our family, have invested some money in upgrading our house, which we could reconstruct or demolish and build a new one on our land in the future, we have a daughter now, etc... everything seems to be going better than it did a few years ago. If at that time because of our government policy and many other things we didn't think that it would be possible to live a nice life here (earn money so we could also travel and enjoy many other things as well, build our own house, etc) now it seems for possible, so the idea that we need to move to achieve these goals is not that strong anymore.

    At this point in time, we've decided that we need to make the decision about what we want for our family. Are we staying in Latvia or are we moving, and if so, then where, how and when? Because of the "success" in life that we've had in few past years, it has become a really difficult decision to make. On one hand, we both think that because of the possible safety concerns for this country (probable occupation somewhere in future) we should move, as nothing is more important than our safety. On the other hand, it would be much easier to stay and evolve, as we're quite set here, we have a house, land, jobs, car, motorcycle, few friends, families, etc, and I personally feel that we could live quite well (financially) in Latvia as well. Although we both agree that is something would happen, we would leave everything behind to flee and be safe. So for this reason, and the possibility of safety issues in our country we're again uncertain cause we wouldn't want to work hard and then need to leave it all behind especially because we knew it could happen.

    So here it is - the main question - what would you do if you were in a similar situation? Would you leave everything you have now and risk moving abroad to a safer country with hopes to live a better life there? Or would you stay where you are hoping nothing bad will happen, knowing there will always be risk/doubts and you'll probably never be really safe because of your geographical location?

    P.S. I hope you've read through all this and will share your view on the situation. I know it's a lot to take in and I've tried my best to manage the post not spending an entire day rewriting it to perfection, so I hope you get the idea. The only thing I hope for is that some of you will share your thoughts and answer the questions so that I can use the information gathered to mindstorm about this, because I know that no one else will make the decision for me, so I just wanted to hear some opinions.

    Thanks for everyrhing, stay safe!
     
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  2. entropy

    entropy Member

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    I'd say the probablity of Russia re-annexing Latvia is slim, and you'd have some sort of notice. And you do still have the .357, I hope!
    Russia has a lot more interest in the Crimea than Latvia for the obvious reason; Naval superiority over the Black Sea. Russia already has a good naval presence in the Baltic, it doesn't need Riga back bad enough to risk it. They'd take Sillamae and Tallinn first.
     
    Last edited: Aug 13, 2017
  3. NIGHTLORD40K

    NIGHTLORD40K Member

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    Wow, thats a tough one...first let me say my prayers will be with you and your family and that our new administration will (hopefully) give Putin pause as to any further expansionist ideas in that region. I hope my choice at the polls in November helped, in some small degree, to keep you guys safe.
    All free peoples have, and will continue to, make this decision- fight for your home or flee. I know it is unrealistic to expect Latvia to stand alone against Russia, but it is just as unrealistic to expect the US to admit or shelter the entire population of all the countries they are threatening. I don't mean to sound callous, and God knows it is easier to say this from where I'm sitting, but a stand must be made.
    So to you I say this sir- join a reserve unit, become involved in your local politics, talk to and organize your friends and neighbors- and know that the people and government of the US stand with you. We are sick and tired of do-nothing administrations and have elected a President who will not allow the Putins and Kim's of the world to roam freely with their designs.
    The decision, is, of course, yours, but I hope you stay, and through your resolve show Putin that he would be making a mistake by invading your great country. God bless and keep you.
     
  4. Kendal Black

    Kendal Black Member

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    If you are looking for a visa, try the US consolate. It's in Riga.
     
  5. CapnMac

    CapnMac Member

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    So many things here.

    Some of what you have are the natural feelings of a young professional with a family maturing. Which means you are both more comforted (can afford nice things/needs are easily met) while at the same time more worried (nice things go away/are threatened).

    As to how much risk are you in--only you can really assess that.

    Especially since part of the cure to that risk is to become some other "ian." When the bottom fell out of my world in 2008, I had to consider many things. Like becoming an Oklahomian, an Ohioan, a Kentuckian, and the like. Thanks to the poltroons in D.C. none of those choices were better than just remaining a Texan (even though it meant giving up my hometown ).

    It's complicated stuff. To even imagine how bad things would have to be to be faced with raising your daughter in a foreign place, as, functionally, a foreigner.

    Now, if you wanted to move for moving's sake--that's a bit different. The latvians I have met were all great people, more than able to land on their feet. My biology teacher in high school was Latvian; had lived through the German occupation no less, to leave with his parents just ahead of the soviets.
     
  6. Balrog

    Balrog Member

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    Let me say, you and your wife sound like the kind of immigrants the US would be lucky to have! Pro-gun engineers? Yea, come on man!
     
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  7. RPZ

    RPZ Member

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    I wouldn't worry about Russia, it's not been a communist country for a long time. Family and religion are encouraged, as well as private business. I'd be more worried about the draconian and insane EU political machine which is the opposite. Between the two I'd pick Russia any day. If you don't want to get caught up in a feud between the two have somewhere to go in a hurry if a fight looks imminent and get out before George Soro's paramilitaries come to your town.
     
    Last edited: Aug 13, 2017
  8. MedWheeler

    MedWheeler Member

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    The people of Estonia seem to be sharing your concern, to the point of organizing militias that train regularly, and teach their members to stock weapons, hiding them by burying them on their properties. These groups have been "taking lessons" from Iraqi and Afghan insurgents, the fighters that managed to be a serious thorn in the side of the most-powerful fighting force in the world, the US military. Estonians know that they stand no chance against Russia, so this is what these groups expect to have to resort to. If anything like this is taking place in your part of Latvia, you might do well to get close enough to these circles to have your "ear to the ground."

    I agree that Latvia is far from number one on Russia's grocery list. But I also agree that these are indeed tumultuous times in which we live, and eastern Europe is far from 100% stable. For the time being, I'd do my best to be "geo-politically" aware and adopt a survival attitude that may include "prepping" as time goes by. I would not recommend moving to the US any time soon. We'd do well to have you, it seems, but so would your own homeland. A LOT of research should precede any such move. The diversity within the US is likely far greater than in Latvia, and it leads, at times, to political climates that vary widely from state to state, and even from regions within a single state.
     
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  9. Balrog

    Balrog Member

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    Have you been to Russia? I have. I don't want to live there.
     
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  10. RPZ

    RPZ Member

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    No but I know people who have. I have also spent about two decades in the EU, have family and friends still there. Russia is trying to climb out of an economic crash. The EU is headed for a similar crash, and is being culturally and literally destroyed. And it's already getting ugly there.
     
  11. bnolsen

    bnolsen Member

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    We had a missionary come to church today who runs a seminary in Kiev. I removed this section because this is a bit anecdotal and too much 3rd hand.

    2.5 year ukrainian casualty count: ~30k. Still 100 casualties in June from fighting with the Russians. About 1 to 1.5 million refugees fled from eastern Ukraine to western Ukraine or Europe. Contrary to what the Russians want us to believe eastern Ukraine isn't pro Russian, it just happens to have a bunch of heavy industry that Russia wants control of.

    OP has a better read of what's going on in his region. If the Russians want something from the baltic states it's only a matter of time before they take it. I suspect other countries would be willing to take these type refugees as they shouldn't be disruptive like other refugees we keep hearing about.
     
    Last edited: Aug 14, 2017
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  12. hdwhit

    hdwhit Member

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    Stay put and work to build up the country I've known my whole life - fighting for it if necessary.

    The "immigrant experience", even for legal immigrants is not easy. You may find your credentials are not recognized by licensing and professional organizations; even within the United States, states don't always have full reciprocity with each other. The social "safety net" (like the maternity leave you and wife are now enjoying) is much less comprehensive than what you have come to expect in Europe. If you are not prepared to get here and find that you have to spend the rest of your life cleaning toilets in an office building, then immigration may not be for you.

    Well, that's as "loaded" part of the question. In asking it that way you have essentially made the decision into what is called a "Hobson's Choice".

    My answer, which goes back to my first response, is that if I were you, I would stay where you are in the full knowledge that something bad is probably going to happen - something that may require sacrifice on your part even to the point of hazarding your life on a battlefield.
     
  13. hdwhit

    hdwhit Member

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    They're also the educated professionals that a country like Latvia needs to retain to keep their economy vibrant and viable.

    Also, job prospects for civil engineers in a country rapidly de-industrializing and sending all its jobs to China are limited. Unless Radek's degree is recognized by a U.S. accrediting authority (like ABET - Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology) and few foreign schools are, his degree may not qualify him to take the Fundamentals Examination and any experience he has accumulated in Latvia may not count towards letting him take the Professional Engineer's examination unless it was performed under the supervision of an engineer whose credentials are acceptable to the State Board in whatever state he tries to get licensed.

    This is why I said in my post that Radek needs to arrive in this country with the knowledge that his education may for all practical purposes be worthless - or at least worth very little - forcing him to take the kinds of jobs open to people with little formal education until he can remedy the shortcomings.

    Immigrating to another country is not something done lightly.
     
  14. grampajack

    grampajack AR Junkie

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    I can only say that Russia had some very pressing reasons to occupy the Crimea. It's their only warm water port of any strategic significance when it comes to defending their homeland. Losing Sevastopol would essentially mean losing their entire navy. If an enemy fleet were to gain access to the Sea of Azov it would be over for them. It's their Achilles heel.

    Not to say you don't have anything to worry about, but I don't see Russia having any immediate need to go anywhere near Latvia. It sounds like you have a good thing going there, so I wouldn't just up and leave without a very good reason, and in all honesty the United States has its own problems. All the survivalist types here are talking about fleeing the US, and Eastern Europe is a potential destination they talk about. Take that for what it's worth, but it just goes to show that nowhere is 100% safe. If globalism has accomplished anything it's to ensure that there is no safe haven left anywhere on the planet.

    ETA: I would also add that the US is Russia's primary enemy, so if it's Russia you're worried about then it wouldn't make a whole lot of sense to move into the bullseye. If we were talking WWII then sure, but we have ICBMs these days so all bets are off. At least in Latvia there aren't any nuclear targets.
     
    Last edited: Aug 14, 2017
  15. RadekSkylark

    RadekSkylark Member

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    Thank you for the support. Just to clear up the issue as I see it... As many Latvians have already done I could also join a militia (which is kind of a reserve unit which almost everyone who wants can join) and fight for my country if anything, but the main problem in my situation is not me - I'm worried about my girls. The country is great, but my girls to me are much more important than the country I live in or have born in. The problem is that if Russia really want's to occupy Latvia, it will happen, no matter how many troops we have in the militia, so if I die on the battlefield I won't be there to take care of my girls after the occupation will have completed. So my ultimate goal is to take care and protect my girls, so they don't suffer.


    Great analysis I must say - spot on. I want to make something really clear - if there's peace in Latvia we're not going to move abroad without a job waiting for one of us. This job will have to be well enough paid so that we can support our family to the minimum level required for the time being before we can get another job (either me or my wife). Also, we'll leave Latvia with some money in our pocket, I think enough to get us totally by for two months, if for any reason we lose job and cannot find one to replace it, we'll have some money to get back to, also, airplane tickets for a flight back to Latvia, if our mission fails. Also, if we move abroad we're moving to a place we want to be a part of - we're not going there to be some refugees or just some random immigrants - one of the first things we'll be doing apart from perfecting the language (which we would have learned to some degree while being in Latvia to start with) is taking all the necessary steps to integrate into the community and become citizens. Yes, we will always be born Latvians, but that doesn't mean that we cannot become real Americans, for example, in our hearts and beliefs and live like ones. Anyway, we would want to contribute to the society as the locals do, not just be some random immigrants. And as I already mentioned, moving for moving's sake is also a priority on our list, at this point in time just not the one with the highest position, as there is much to lose if we move.

    I hope there are many sharing your opinion - thank you.

    The problem is that I'm pretty sure if something really went down Russian forces with out without Belarussian forces would try to block the Suwali land "gap" (~30km's) along the border of Poland/Lithuania which is the only land through which any kind of help could arrive and the only way someone could flee through, so I'm quite sure in a real scenario there wouldn't be enough time to flee. Yeah, sure, we would still try to, but I don't think we would succeed. Also, Putin has claimed that Russian forces could get to Riga (our capital city) in only 3 hours, and I really do think they could if they were serious about it, so from the time we know about invasion to the time Russian troops could be at our doors there could be only few hours in between.

    That's the thing I'm most worried about - history has shown that Russia wants Baltic states for one reason or the other and I'm really worried that it's just a matter of time when some kind of occupation or attack will happen.

    As I replied above, we would only move if I already got a job waiting, so I would know if my credentials are ok. The university I've graduated is within top rated 2,5% of universities in the world (QS World University Rankings 2018), so I hope credentials wouldn't be a problem. Anyway, I get your idea and I'm sure if we would get decent jobs (we would, of course, work as good as we can to succeed) we could take care of everything just as all the locals do. Please, see my replies above to understand my position fully. Thank you!

    I would be ok starting as junior engineer in US for example because my experience would be only partially convertible (because of design standards used in our jobs), but I'm quite sure it wouldn't take long to excel as the experience in design would be there and I would only have to study the particular design standards used, etc.

    I get your point. I know US has it's own problems as any other country has, but I feel that nuclear confrontation between US and Russia is far less likely than Russian invasion of Baltic states as the risks in the former are way higher. As you've noted, we really have a good thing going here that is why this decission is so complicated.



    Thanks to everyone joining the thread, I really didn't think I would get so many responses. I really appreciate it. Keep the discussion going, please!

    Cheers
     
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  16. Kano383

    Kano383 Member

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    Get a Somali passport, then you can pick any rich country you want, just hop in there and claim your "refugee" benefits... Don't even have to work! :D:D:D

    On a more serious note... You have a good job. Start making connections across the pond, Sweden or Finland. You may land something there, closer to home, and both countries have vast outdoors, high technology, and very good living standards. Close to your home, so you don't need to burn your bridges. That makes a lot of difference for married couples: you'd be surprised at how strongly women feel about their family and homeplace... Been an "expatriate" most of my life, as was my father: I've seen what happens in these families, and why.
     
    Last edited: Aug 14, 2017
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  17. RadekSkylark

    RadekSkylark Member

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    Thanks for the advice. My wife doesn't have the strongest bond with her family so living abroad wouldn't be the hardest thing from that point of view, although everyone would of course want to be close to their families, but one has to make a choice regarding the priorities in live and we've put this in the lowest part of our list.
     
  18. lemaymiami

    lemaymiami Member

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    I was an Army brat as a kid (lived in five different countries before I was 12 and my family finally came back to the US to stay...) so I've got some idea how other countries live... You have a very difficult choice to make. If history is any guide that part of the world has been overrun more than a few times - with bad consequences for all involved. Every one of us in the US have ancestors who left difficult circumstances for a chance at a better life (unless your ancestors were native americans - in which case persecution and serious efforts at genocide are in your family's history...).

    Those that say you should stay and join local militias need to have a reality check.... You can bet that assets in your country will be providing lists of armed citizens and memberships in any patriotic organizations to "mother Russia" so that they can be "neutralized" if there's ever an occupation.... Serious stuff, period (if you were single I'd suggest staying for the "good fight").

    Folks in my country don't realize just how lucky we are for the most part. Your concerns are valid in every sense of the words.... I'd like to believe that eastern Europe from Poland the to the north and the south are entering a new era of peace and prosperity -but you can bet that every urge from Russia will be to restore the empire they lost when the USSR fell apart - that's a good part of their current leader's appeal.... If war in your area does break out you can bet that the comfortable folks in the EU will do everything possible - to stay out of it - no matter what they're saying now....

    Now for a bit of good news.... You might want to look at Sweden and Norway as possible destinations for an emigration - if that's what you choose. I know Sweden has a population of ex-pat Latvians (as well as quite a few folks from other former soviet bloc countries..). not so sure about Norway - but you could certainly find out with a bit of research.... If I were in your position I'd do everything possible to develop both business and personal contacts into both of those countries (and maybe even a brief vacation there if possible). No, neither one has the opportunities the US has - but I believe either one might actually be do-able for a young family in your position - and you might even find job opportunities that you could line up before making the move... Both countries have a long history of stability and their physical location makes each a pretty good bet to stay out of local conflicts (Norway in WWII was an aberration, in my opinion...). Better yet, if you do make that first jump you could use a few years to decide whether the country you first choose is your final destination - as well as a few years to build up your resources to support an eventual move to Canada or the US....

    Folks in Europe during the 1930's faced similar concerns and we have the historical records to show how it worked out for those that stayed - and for those that emigrated to somewhere safer - and all the poor souls who were caught somewhere in between....
    Thinking hard about your family's future and what to do about it is just plain smart... Hope you're successful - whatever you choose.... sounds like your family would be a great asset for any country.
     
  19. Berger.Fan222

    Berger.Fan222 Member

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    It is really hard to assess your true risks from the comfort of a home in the US. But my approach to self-defense and strategy leans heavily toward escape and evade rather than standing and fighting, especially when likely faced with overwhelming force.

    You would not really be leaving everything behind, since you and your wife are bringing your educations and abilities with you where ever you go. Engineers and scientists are in high demand in most of the US and the western world. If you and your wife are really well trained and good in your respective fields, you have a great shot at building productive careers should you choose to leave and can obtain the legal permissions to work in your destination country.

    If you want to PM me and are willing to provide detailed resumes and educational backgrounds, I will be happy to solicit feedback from science and engineering colleagues in the US for a more accurate assessment of your employment potential here.
     
  20. RadekSkylark

    RadekSkylark Member

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    I totally share your view on the subject! I'm also pretty sure that Russia is always watching out for an opportunity to occupy some of the countries that where in USSR, at least under the Putins rule. I also feel that EU and everone else will try to avoid any confrontation with Russia because of the Baltic states, but that won't matter, as anyway Baltic states will suffer one way or the other (by occupation or by becoming a battlefield).

    We've though about Sweden and Norway as possible destinations. I have to be honest - we would like to live in a country where everyone talks in English, where climate is warmer rather than colder. One thing that's also in my mind is the prediction that Euro (currency) will probably fail in few years time, so we would also be glad to move to a country abroad EU. We've also though about moving to a temporary destination to live there for few years before we could actually move to US or Canada, so this option is on table, although the only reason in doing this would be safety, as most probably this short term goal would set us back financialy and in our careers as well (at least at first).

    Thank you for your support and understanding - it's nice to know that someone understands your concerns.

    Best of luck to you, Sir!


    I'm with you on the approach - I also would prefer to escape as this is the only way to be trully safe from the particular hazards and again, my biggest concern is my familty, as every men I would be willing to sacrifice my life for my family no questions asked.

    Thank you for encouragement! I've sent you a PM.

    Cheers
     
  21. CZ-75BD

    CZ-75BD Member

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    Immigrant's life is not an easy way, to start when you have a family. I know that from personal experience.
    I came from former USSR 25 years ago with two kids, two pieces of luggage and $100 in my pocket. Went from having a degree in electronics to work as pizza delivery, garbage cleaner, warehouse worker and e.t.c.
    My diploma had no use, and my Eglish was on the kindergarten's school level.Today I'm working as the field engineer for the big consulting company after I went to college here and get me a diploma. Different customs, different way of life and even different way of thinking. You start your life from "0".Hard decision to make. If you are ready to sacrifice at least 5-10 years of your life welcome to the USA.
     
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  22. grampajack

    grampajack AR Junkie

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    I've seen this before. My martial arts instructor married a woman from Holland who was a doctor. She was here on vacation, they fell in love, etc., and she moved here thinking she could be a doctor in the US. Despite having been the head doctor of a large hospital, her medical degree was virtually worthless here. Don't get me wrong, they make each other very happy and I'm sure she wouldn't change a thing, but it's a crying shame she had to start all over in life, to go from being a big cheese in the medical field to not even being able to get a job as a tech cleaning bedpans.
     
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  23. RadekSkylark

    RadekSkylark Member

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    Yeah, all of this sounds really terrible. I'm quite sure that if our education and experience will get flushed down the toilet we'll be looking for a different destination than the US, for example.

    On a side note, I know for a fact that my diploma is well recognized in the United Kingdom. One of my professors had worked in UK design offices previously and a few years back she helped one of my mates to get a job in UK design office for which she worked in the past (the guy relocated to the UK). So I'm quite sure that my education and experience is good enough for Europe at least. I will hope though that it's good enough for the US if we decide to try and move to your homeland.

    P.S. Can you guys help me out by pointing me to the best web pages where one can search for engineering and science jobs in the US? We still have to decide what we're going to do, but if we do decide to move I'm quite sure we'll aim for the US as our main destination.

    Thanks to everyone.
     
  24. grampajack

    grampajack AR Junkie

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    If you're hellbent on doing this, you need to be honing your English skills to perfection, saving money, and building a rock solid resume and skill set. I would highly suggest that you watch copious amounts of American television. This is important for your wife and kids, too, especially the kids if they plan on attending school here.

    And the best part about this course of action is that it puts you ahead no matter what you decide to do. You will feel like you're doing something proactive, which will calm you down, and if you decide to stay in Latvia you will still be better off for it.
     
  25. paulsj

    paulsj member

    Joined:
    Jan 12, 2017
    Messages:
    1,085
    Joining NATO was the biggest mistake leaders of your country have made. NATO members can't be relied on to help you if Russia decides to move againt you. In reality NATO is United States and Americans have to focus on their greatest foe Peoples Republic of China. You should have used Finland as an example. There would be zero reasons for Russians to move against you if your country was neutral and no foreign armies were stationed on your soil.
     
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