Americans Who've Moved Abroad Explain How They've Adjusted To Their New Country
Image by un-perfekt from Pixabay

I've done a fair amount of traveling and dream of living abroad. It would no doubt be an adventure––and when the pandemic's over and it's safe to travel again, I'll be sure to take advantage of some opportunities and see where I end up. I've met many people who've lived abroad and told me about their experiences––culture shock is real!

But it isn't for everyone. Moving to a different place––let alone a totally different country––is a major decision not to be taken lightly.

After Redditor unfunnyrealtor asked the online community, "Americans who have moved abroad, what's life like in your new country?" people shared their stories.

"We lived in a small farming village..."

My husband and I moved to Germany for my work. We loved every minute of it. We lived in a small farming village, walked the dogs in the national forest almost daily, bought bread from the bread truck that drove through town, had the best neighbors, loved everything about the area and the culture.

We would have lived our entire lives there if my work contract hadn't ended. At one point we considered getting citizenship and giving up our US citizenship. Maybe one day we'll get back, but it's a difficult move to make, especially with pets (we brought our 3 dogs: 2 German shepherds and a Labrador, and our 2 guinea pigs with us, it was quite a challenge!).


"I paid less attention..."

Lived in Italy for 5 years. Best time of my life. Let me point out I am from the suburbs and moved to a city, so I had the culture shock plus the shock of living in a bigger, busier place.

I paid less attention to things I didn't like, like politics. Didn't watch TV at all. Found it really easy to be enamored with everything (even stuff like going to the grocery store.) Didn't really feel legit complaining about things the locals complained about because it wasn't my place and I was just so happy to be there.

The food is better - cuisine and ingredients in general. There is a lot more history. I found learning about the culture and traditions really fun. Figuring out differences and new ways I could do things made every day interesting. Public transport and travel within Europe is a lot more accessible without a car than the States. I had to go to the emergency room and it cost me nothing. To me, it was the most important thing I've done so far. It felt enlightening.

It wasn't _perfect_ because there is bs everywhere you go, but I don't really want to even act like there's anything negative worth mentioning for my particular experience. Your boy was happy.


"I've lived in Australia..."

I've lived in Australia since 2012. I've always felt lucky to be here but the last year even more so. However, being cut off from travel back to the USA has been a huge mental burden.


"The things I miss the most..."

Living in Merida, Mexico for 6 months now. Love it here! The food is phenomenal, the internet is great (I work remotely), and the people are friendly and patient with our lack of Spanish skills (we're learning).

The things I miss the most are cheese (there is a serious lack of cheese diversity here) and books in English (thank God for Kindle).


"Getting our two boys integrated..."

My wife and I immigrated from USA to the Netherlands about 6 months ago. Work has been great and the people very friendly. Getting our two boys integrated into Dutch schools was a little challenging at first, but it's gotten much easier lately. My wife and I are still learning the language but we've noticed things generally become much more enjoyable with each word we learn.

This was intended to be a permanent move for us. We sold nearly everything we owned in the states before moving out here. 10/10, highly recommend!


"The downside..."

I moved to England 17 years ago. I have a better work-life balance, NHS and private medical through work if I need it. More vacation days.

Things seem cheaper in some regards here. Quick travel to Europe is great.

The downside is being so far from family. I haven't been back to the US in 6 years.


"Been living in Taiwan..."

Been living in Taiwan and I feel super safe. I can take my dog out to the park at 1 a.m. and never have to worry about getting mugged. The only thing I miss from the US is the food.


"I've got a good life..."

Moved to Japan three years ago with my wife. Her family is here and this is where we wanted to start our family. I've loved it a lot.

We have a house in a mid-sized city in west Tokyo. I have a job that is flexible with me taking Japanese classes and my wife can work from home. The transportation is reliable, the healthcare is affordable, the food is great. It's no perfect country by any means, though.

Fact is, no matter how long I live here and how well I speak the language I'll always be kept at a certain distance. But I knew what I signed up for and it doesn't bother me all that much.

I've got a good life that we managed to carve out and it works for our situation. I can't speak for anyone else's experience but I have no plans of moving back to America.


"I always felt anxious..."

I moved to Ireland 3 years ago for work and I love it. Not sure if I'll stay here forever (might move elsewhere in Europe someday) but I can't see myself going back to the US.

Hard to describe but when I lived in NYC and LA I had this feeling like I was struggling to exist and carve out space in a place that I loved, but it would never really love me back. I always felt anxious, like anything could go wrong and nobody would care. Conversely, when I moved to Ireland it felt like the whole place opened up and embraced me.

I get paid less here than I would in the same industry in the US but my money goes a lot further. 20 guaranteed holiday days per year but work is lenient and you can take more if needed. I live in a small city where I can walk everywhere, rent is reasonable and I got very lucky with my house and landlord. Healthcare isn't perfect but I can go to the doctor without worrying about it costing an exorbitant amount. For the first time in my adult life, I actually can work on building up some savings. The people are wonderful.

Food is better overall, less processed / more local. But I do miss the variety. Weather can be pretty dreary but when it's good it's glorious! I also miss long road trips and the southwest US. But overall it's an easy trade!


"Despite the struggles..."

Moved to Norway for work 10 years ago, right after getting married. Best decision we've ever made. Great life here. So peaceful, relaxed, comfortable and secure. Have absolutely zero desire to move back to the USA.

There were things we missed at first, mostly #firstworldproblems stuff like favorite restaurants and Costco, but we've found ways to cope without those things and in most cases realized we don't need them at all.

We've had 3 kids since moving here. They know they're American but, to them, Norway is home. America is the place we go on vacation to visit Grandma and Grandpa.

It's kind of weird sometimes when I realize that we're now the immigrant family making a new life in a foreign country, but it's really put a whole new perspective on the many friends I had growing up whose parents made that same choice coming to America. I have a much more profound respect for them. The struggles of integrating, of learning a new language, of trying to adapt but not lose your national identity entirely, of trying to educate your children about their heritage... the list goes on.

Despite the struggles, I would encourage everyone (especially those who have never lived away from "home") to move to a foreign country to gain a broader perspective of the world.


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