Deciding to leave one's home country permanently and begin life anew in another place is a massive life shift.
Sure, modern technology has marginally decreased the impacts of geographic separation. But let's face it, becoming an expatriate in another country changes nearly every facet of daily life.
As smooth the change of geography and national identity goes, it depends on so many factors.
Did someone move because they love that place, or simply for work? Is the person wildly social and good at making new friends, or a bit more reserved and struggles with that sort of thing. How culturally open-minded is the expatriate?
All these factors surely played into Redditors' answers to a recetn question on the site.
biasedNeutrality asked, "Americans who moved away from the US, what are the pros and cons of where you live now?"
To Begin, a General Sense of the Move
"One thing you gotta consider is that you'll never be a local. Your history in that country begins when you arrive. When you meet someone your age, you didn't have the same tv shows, music, toys etc. You will always be an immigrant."
"Also, your life in the US, or your homeland, ends. Pauses really but you're no longer living that life either. You can email your buddies and spy on their Facebook but you slowly drift away, from friends and the culture."
"I love it, but it can be lonely at times. There's nothing that's exactly like home. Even coke and snickers taste different, better, but not what you remember."
"You become an 'international,' and most of your friends are too because they're the ones who understand the ether you're drifting around in."
An Exhaustive List
- Very beautiful,
- hiking trails everywhere,
- excellent fast and reliable public transportation, goes everywhere, usually extremely punctual
- Everything is very clean
- Good pay, high salaries
- Pretty fast internet
- Central location, travel to other countries is fast (normally, except COVID)
- Good healthcare
- Heated floors
- Low crime rate"
- Variety of food and shopping not as varied as the US (But travel to other countries is fast)
- Driving behavior is not at all as relaxed as in the US
- Making close friends with locals is harder (But there's LOTS of friendly expats)
- Dreary foggy in many areas for most of the winter
When the Pros Outweigh the Cons
"Living in the Netherlands nearly 11 years. In no particular order..."
- Good public transportation, both in cities, throughout the country, as well as to other European countires.
- Affordable Healthcare
- Affordable cost of living (city dependent, of course)
- Decent wage
- Overall more financial and social stability
- Here in NL I don't need a car
- More financial and social equality
- Nightlife and party life is amazing. Much more underground culture here than in the States"
- Far from family and friends
- In the beginning it was hard to integrate (I took me like 5 years to really learn the language, then everything was OK).
- More hierarchy in professional life"
Changes in Wildlife
"Moved to Australia"
"Pros: Universal healthcare, preferential voting, no community transmission of COVID in my state for more than a month, very generous legally mandated annual leave and long service leave for permanent employees."
"Cons: Its hot, like super duper hot. We keep changing leaders as often as we change our socks. I keep getting geo-blocked when I try to look at cool things on the internet (yes I know VPNs exist). Video games cost $100."
"I once found a big spider in my bra when I went to put it on and I once found a venomous snake in my bathroom at 5am when I had a sleepy pee."
Weird Fellow Expats
"Moved to Japan in 2018."
"Pros: Affordable healthcare, healthier and more active lifestyle due to walking and running for the train, sushi, people are polite and helpful if you need help, lowish cost of living, always something to do, even if you live in the countryside."
"Living in Kansai region means easy access to cities, historical areas, and awesome nature scenery to hike in. Vending machines on every block is a godsend in the summer heat with cold drinks for a dollar."
"Cons: Creepy other foreigners (had a guy from NZ try to kiss me at a club and tried to make me touch his bare chest), creepy Japanese people exist too, many people running to Japan thinking it's like anime..."
"...COVID support could've been better and not enough testing, earthquakes, typhoons, murder hornets, some aspects are too militaristic, people are almost too passive sometimes."
"Pros: Amazing food, kind people and no covid."
"Cons: Can't complain. Pollution is bad in the bigger cities."
"Though I really do love Vietnam."
"Been in Taiwan since 1999. I go back to visit every two years or so."
- Affordable healthcare
- A healthier diet (on average)
- Better public transportation
- Cost of living (outside of Taipei)
- A safer place to raise my kids"
- The constant threat of China
- Ambivalence about Taiwan's national identity
- Summer heat when I have to work
- Good hamburgers and pizza hard to find
- Worrying about my kids' future (see: #1)"
Some Conservative Social Vibes
"Rural Ireland for 5 years"
"Pros: Affordable and non-defensive healthcare, beautiful nature, pretty much no dangerous animals, small enough to make day trips to the big cities."
"Cons: Very little diversity, high cost of living, the government only cares about Dublin and Cork, a lot more sexism than I was accustomed to."
A Current Take
"I live in China"
"Pros: Virus is gone = normal life, Cheap af, Earn lots, Super convenient transportation/payment methods, Good food"
"Cons: Well, I probably shouldn't write them. They might be watching..."
"But one for sure is being a foreigner. Everyone thinks foreigners have the virus still and they really make you go the extra mile to prove you don't."
Head on a Swivel
"Moved to Mexico."
"Pros: The people hate trump as much as I do if not more. The cost of living is super low. Public healthcare (a private option is available if you can afford it). Eternal summer. The locals are incredibly friendly. The food is amazing. Acquiring resident status is VERY easy."
"Covid restrictions (masks, health screenings etc) are mandated by the government and no one argues. Mexico is not all poverty and remote desert as is commonly believed in many places in the US."
"Cons: the bugs (never been bitten by so many mosquitoes in my life). The president actively and unapologetically advocates in favor of communism."
"While the people are friendly it is a legitimate concern (more so in certain states over others) that some people have ties to very dangerous people which makes it difficult to trust people."
Just a Quick Jump Over the Pacific
"tokyo vs portland, or..."
- easy/affordable public transport, route to/from work is covered by employer
- socialized medicine, clinics everywhere
- cheaper rent & cost of living
- low crime, no gun violence
- majority of people wear a mask"
- pay is lower, harder to move up payscale
- sexism and racism
- far from family"
New Home Up North
"Pros: Free or very Affordable Health care, 12-18 month paid maternity/paternity leave, Affordable college education (vs. USA), Glaciers, Rainforests, Kind and passionate communities"
"Cons: Not many hot climates"
Lotta Walking, Lotta Working
"South Korea. I'm a recent graduate teaching English here."
"Pros: I can find afford more than 1 pair of glasses I can afford to go to the dentist I can afford to get checkups regularly I walk a LOT more. (10k to 15k steps just on work days) Busses and subways are very clean Quick and easy to get to another town/city"
"Cons: My Korean is bad so I get frustrated at times. Also hard to make friends because of my lack of Korean. I miss my dad I miss: fried cheese curds, Culver's and Chick-fil-A..."
"...Korean work culture is stupid (50 hour work weeks are the norm) Korean educational norms are stupid. I'm so upset when I hear my students stay up till 1am doing homework.. they're 11"
Good Fruit, But Robbery
"Lived in Colombia for a long time. I was able to be there because my wife has citizenship so immigration was no big deal."
"Pros: people are nice and friendly, fruit and veg are always in season, the jungle and mountains are beautiful. For the single dudes lemme tell you. Some of those girls were just downright unfair beautiful."
"Cons: them cops are about as crooked as they get, foreigners get robbed a lot, most 'girlfriends' have a real boyfriend or husband back home and only want a gringo for the money, everyone thinks you're rich. Oh, the air pollution was worse than China for about a week so that sucked."
"I loved it there but we hit a point where it was time to come back to America (at least for a w years)."
A Taste of Both
"Lived in the US for 6 years but moved to India about 2 years back (Am Indian citizen not American)"
"Pros: Better but tougher education in India. Cheap street food, so many good snacks (just my opinion but American snacks are more about quantity than about taste, except cheez it's)."
"People I can genuinely have a good conversation (in the US, I felt very very excluded and alone).Better healthcare system."
"Cons:Tech prices are outrageous, literally anything from TVs to Cars, any technology is overpriced cause of taxes. Anything imported, even something like a very cheap cheese made in the US will be overpriced (taxes strike once again)."
"Terrible timings for football(soccer), really annoying but I can understand why."
"Overall, there are benefits in living in both the countries."
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