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Moving Overseas (DOD Civilian job) - some questions?

I currently work for the DOD and the agency I work for has positions available in various countries.  I have seriously been thinking about applying for some.  I talked to my husband about it, and he seems to be on board with it also.  We currently have a 3 yr old and would like to have one more child at some point. 

a) what age would you recommend living overseas for children? 

b) how hard would it be for my husband to get a job?  Obviously we would attempt to go the route of trying to get him a DOD job also but if he doesn't get hired there, could he work any where else?

c) Anyone a DOD Civilian living near a base?  Are you allowed to live on base?  Can your child attend the base school?

d) I know the DOD pays relocation costs, but did you find that it cost you a lot of money to make the move and live there still? 

Obviously I have a lot more 'research'  to do but figured I would check here to see in any international nesties currently work overseas as a DOD civilian and have an experience to share.  I have some coworkers who have done it but most had military spouses and just traveled whereever their spouses went.

Re: Moving Overseas (DOD Civilian job) - some questions?

  • Hi,

    a) I think any age is great for living abroad. Possibly not the teenage years, but learning about a different language or culture is great at any age. Schools might be something you'd want to look into - how it differs from the states, and what sort of language immersion programs are available.

    b) I think this depends on the country, the type of visa he'd have, the local economy, etc.?

    d) Don't convert local currency to dollars in your mind, and it'll all be okay. Obviously some places are more expensive than others, so factor that in when negotiating your salary, but people make it work. Also see if the DOD will pay for visits home.?

  • It is an incredible opportunity to live overseas, and the DOD is a wonderful way to go if you're headed somewhere.

    First, although I don't have kids, I feel like any age is fine for moving your kids.  I honestly think the most difficult would be moving your child in the final years of high school.  I used to work on a mil. base in Germany.  They have good facilities for kids on base, and you would have access to the healthcare system on base (usually.)

    The rest of your answers also depend a lot on where you're headed.  For your DH to find a job on base would be easiest, but he could possibly also get a job in the host country depending on what the agreement is with the host country.  

    Again, housing depends on where you're headed.  Most of the DOD Civilians I know live off base here in Stuttgart, but it is because base housing is overfilled and yucky.  The amount you get for housing as a DOD Civilian is good, you can have a really fine home in Germany if you live off base.  Your kids can attend school on base if you're a DOD Civilian.

    I have no experience with moving, so I can't answer the last question.  But hopefully, someone here can :)

    I have some friends who are DoDDS teachers.  I can ask them too.  Good luck to you and your DH, and I hope it all works out for you!

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  • Thanks - I know if my husband had his choice he would choose to live in Italy.  I really don't mind too much where it is. I think Japan would be really neat, but living in a Eurpean country might be a better choice b/c then we would have the opportunity to travel to other European cities easier (see more while there).

    Hopefully this is something that can happen in the next year or two.  I personally would rather not have a young baby when living overseas b/c I love having my family close by but if we choose not to have any more kids, I think having our 3 yr old start Kindergarden overseas would work fine.

  • Hi,

    My DH is a DOD civilian and I'm a teacher on base with DoDEA. ?We don't have kids, so I can't help with that. ?But I can tell you there are alot of things on base for kids to do and be a part of. ?We live off base here in Stuttgart, Germany and LOVE it!! ?We have a beautiful home here, in a fabulous neighboorhood and really like living in the country we're in as opposed to on the base where it's like a little America. ?A DOD civilian's kids can attend school on the base. ?We did spend some money in addition to the relocation costs, but not that much where I wish we didn't do it, you know? ?But when they pay for living costs, we are making so much more money than we would be in the states so once you see that, any cost you paid for the move becomes a mute point. ?I can say that I probably tell my DH that I love our lives here on a daily basis!! ?Good luck!

  • a) what age would you recommend living overseas for children? n/a, I don't have kids.  But my brother, who's active duty AF, has lived literally all over the world w/ 2 girls (now ages 13 and 10) and they're very happy, well-adjusted etc (they were born in Alaska, moved to Korea, GE, and now live in the UK).

    b) how hard would it be for my husband to get a job?  Could he work any where else?  What does he do?  In W. European countries like Italy (where I live now) civvie DoD jobs are VERY competitive.  Really.  As a vested DoD civilian, I came w/o a job (b/c my H had one, but I couldn't find anything).  It's tough, but if you're patient, it can work out.  But be prepared to have some "gap" time b/w jobs.  Seriously.  Elsewhere (e.g. Guam), it's a bit easier (b/c it's less "in demand" venue).  As far as non-DoD options, it can be tough b/c the host nation's visa/work permit laws.  A good option can be DoD contractor jobs or teaching English or teaching for a US University abroad (e.g. UMUC).

    c) Anyone a DOD Civilian living near a base?  Are you allowed to live on base?  Can your child attend the base school?  Yes, DoD dependants (kids) can attend school for free!  Yes, you can live on the base, space available (ie military personnel get preferance, but if there's room you can live on base).  Here in Naples, Italy, we opted not to live on base, but there was room, so at least here, space isn't an issue.

    d) I know the DOD pays relocation costs, but did you find that it cost you a lot of money to make the move and live there still? The move was covered.  Also, you can get a 6mo salary advance to help with settling in costs, which can be considerable. 

    If you have additional questions, abt DoD or Naples, IT, you can email me at vabeachmay08 at yahoo dot com.

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  • The only thing I can respond to is the child part.... ours in nearly 10 and she is living in her third country since her birth. This last move involved a new language- which she picked up very quickly.

    From experience, the first move at 3.5 years old was pretty easy. Her world was "sheltered" and as long as mommy was there she could have moved to the moon for all she cared. So, from my experience, the toddler to pre-school years are great. They are old enough to be through those scary first months but young enough to just go with the flow.

  • Thanks again for all the information - for those w/DOD jobs who tranfered there, how long did the process take you (from initial application/interview/transfer/etc)? 

    I did a transfer (within same agency) from one state to a another about 2 years ago and it took 4 months.  Part of the delay was they wanted me to get my grade increase (easier for me to have it before I transfered then to worry about it happening during the transfer).  It was a frustrating time for me b/c I couldn't list the house or anythign till I had an offer in hand, and then we I got that offer, they wanted me to transfer right away, I moved 1 month later and it was a pain w/carrying two housing costs, dealing w/selling the house, etc but totally worth it when all the peice came together. 

    They did not pay for relocation costs for that move but I knew that when taking the job (why pay to tranfer me when they had local people they could have hired instead), I would have to have relocation costs paid if I moved overseas, is that standard for overseas jobs or something you have to negotiate? 

    I would imagine an overseas transfer can be even more hectic.  I just wondered if I wanted to try to transfer in a year or two, how soon should I start applying for jobs overseas?

  • how long did the process take you (from initial application/interview/transfer/etc)? 

    I know this is obvious, but honestly, it depends.  HRO efficiency varies greatly.  Based on our experience (Europe only), from offer to move 6-9mos. So for Europe I'd start applying a year to a year in a half before you want to move.  Sorry, I don't have experience w/ the Pacific.

    Move 1: 5mos from interview to move. I think that's unusually quick.

    Move 2: 9mos from application to move.

    Move 2 spouse job: applied 6mos+ ago and still no selection announcement

    As far as moving costs, what's paid for varies by announcement (so read it carefully).  But, GENERALLY, DoD'll pay to move you out and back if you sign an agreement to stay for 3yrs.  If you move back before the 3yrs is up, you have to pay for your own move (also, if you received a bonus/incentive for moving, you've probably got to pay that back as well). 

    In addition to your household goods (18,000lb limit for civilians), generally, DoD will pay to have one car shipped over (again, this is for Europe-- I don't believe they'll ship to Guam/Japan).  If you want to ship a 2nd, it's at your own expense.

    My last bit of advice, if something's not clear in the announcement.  ASK the hiring Command.  I think the above is pretty typical info for a European move, but when in doubt, ask!  Don't feel embrassed, it's a big decision and you need to understand the facts so you can make an informed decision.  It's best for you and for the Command.  GL!


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  • I have been offered a civilian position in Stuttgart, Germany with DOD. Could someone please explain the rotation agreement and the transportation agreement?  The transportation agreement states the length of the tour is 36months. However, it also states if I do not remain in service for at least 12 months beginning with the effective date of my transfer or appointment to my new OCONUS PDS, I am responsible for HHG storage and shipment, real estate and/or relocation expenses, miscellaneous expenses, etc. Is this too much to agree too, given that I am taking a lower GS grade level?  Is the transpiration agreement negotiable? Additionally, I was not told the promotion potential of the position.  Is this common? What is the average length of time before you are given a competitive status?  It is stated that I would have to service 3 years before I am placed in the PPP program, is this common? I previously worked for the federal government for resigning to attend college. Will taking this position affect my restatement rights here in the US.  Please advise.

  • So nobody has posted on here in awhile and I am actually in a similar situation, except further along.  I was offered a position, but now need to look into living situations.  Any suggestions on trying to find a place to rent for a year? I have tried everything on google but nothing really pans out.  Its all very small and not very nice, or holiday rentals.
    looking for something in Rome or just south.
    Thanks everyone!
  • akbristol said:
    So nobody has posted on here in awhile and I am actually in a similar situation, except further along.  I was offered a position, but now need to look into living situations.  Any suggestions on trying to find a place to rent for a year? I have tried everything on google but nothing really pans out.  Its all very small and not very nice, or holiday rentals.
    looking for something in Rome or just south.
    Thanks everyone!

    @akbristol You might look here: http://tinyurl.com/pvuocqs
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