Americans Who Left The U.S. For Political Reasons Explain What Made Them Leave

Americans Who Left The U.S. For Political Reasons Explain What Made Them Leave
Photo by Aaron Burden on Unsplash

Expatriates living abroad have a slew of reasons for doing so. Spoiler: living in the wealthiest country on Earth and becoming bankrupt while trying take of your own health is NOT a feather in the nation's cap.


Plenty of Redditors are living across the pond as we speak, and plenty proud to be there.

One Reddit post prompted expats to reflect on the moment life in the U.S. became to much. Of course, the decision to do so is a thoughtful one, full of a variety of considerations.

But most did report an identifiable moment, a tipping point which prompted only one next possible step: book some flights.

theiguana_32 asked,

"Americans who left the US for political/cultural reasons: what was the final straw? What moment made you go "Okay, I want/need to leave?''

And the List Goes On

"American in Germany here, really, so many things."

"Work environment: 28 days paid vacation and pretty much unlimited sick leave, better work culture."

"Cheaper groceries and services."

"Health care here is the same, but actually covered by my insurance."

"Public transportation is actually usable."

"Long maternal and paternal leave. You get a stipend per child to cover their expenses when you have them."

-- hootacootnboogy

Giving Too Much to Have Too Little

"Working 4 part time jobs at once. Had no healthcare. Got hit by a car while on my bike 6 weeks before leaving the country to go teach debate at a private foreign academy."

"Lucky all I got was a concussion."

"Leaving was the best decision I ever made. I still work crazy hard, but at least now I have something to show for it."

-- malfight

First World Problems 

"Medical debt. Paying $8k for a simple out-patient surgery even with insurance was so infuriating. We left in 2012. We live in Taipei now, where a hospital visit is a couple of dollars and I can have a child without declaring bankruptcy."

-- wakethenight

Starting to Fresh

"College. I realized I could never afford it in the States and didn't want to spend the majority of my adult life paying off a degree I wasn't sure I wanted in the first place."

"Improved my foreign language, ended up switching my major at a European school twice and I'm on my way to graduating soon."

"Will be the first one in my immediate family to graduate with a Bachelor's degree and will have $0 in student debt when I am finished."

-- JustMissedTheBus

Seeing a Myth for What it Is

"I love the idea of America, I just don't like its execution. Way to stressful of a place for me to live and raise my daughter. I'll gladly pay 50% taxes and drastically reduce the chance of accumulating more money than I could ever need in exchange for a far more equitable and moral system."

-- pardi777

The Orange Tip of an Iceberg

"I decided to leave after Trump was elected. Trump is a symptom, not the disease, but it just represented everything that frustrated and saddened me about the country. It was also good timing for me, as I graduated from college about 5 months after Trump was inaugurated. So, I used my grad money to buy a one-way ticket to Taiwan."

-- caseyesac

Not All Expats Cross an Ocean

"The so-called 'election' in 2000 and the fact that Bush killed over a million civilians in Iraq. I moved 7 miles and after a long series of events became a proud Canadian citizen. (I'm an ex-Detroiter.)"

-- ------username-----

Foot Soldiers Too Important to Leave

"I wish I had the ability to leave. My last straw was having Trump elected president knowing that he had no respect for females, the disabled, and many other groups that I have spent my life working to protect."

"It's hard to be a social worker in a broken system that shows no intent or motivation to change."

-- schrodingerssavage

A Punch in the Gut 

"The 2017 Las Vegas shooting did it for me. All the mass shootings actually, including the one at my university (UCSB), but Las Vegas was the final straw."

"I stopped feeling safe doing everyday activities (going to bars/clubs, attending concerts, shopping at malls). It prevented me from living my life the way I wanted to."

-- xoxoxoborschtxoxoxo

A Difficult to Verbalize Difference 

"Maybe I can sum it all up with an experience I had yesterday: I went to a few stores to stock up on some basics. I live in a very diverse city and the stores were packed with people from six continents, every imaginable shade of color."

"Everyone stocking up, everyone with heavy carts. The checkout line in one grocery store stretched across entire store."

"And people were so. goddamn. friendly. Smiles. 'Sorry.' 'After you.' Patience. It was incredible. It was legitimately enough to bring a tear to my eye, and I'm an a**hole."

-- Historical-Regret

Rid of the Bootstraps 

"The problem was that every job I had, no matter my insistence, I was expected to go above and beyond, work overtime, constantly seeking promotions, etc. Basically, making work my life. The expectations became exhausting."

"I knew from frequent trips and a network of European friends through studying abroad, that the work-life balance in many European countries is better."

-- americainperdu

We All Remember that Confirmation Hearing...

"When Betsy DeVos became Secretary of Education. I was in my last semester of college to become a teacher and began applying abroad." -- Ethel12

GOTTA HAVE IT

"It wasn't a primary driver by any means, but holy f*ck it didn't realize how much time and energy it was eating up in my daily life: rampant consumerism. Not from me, but from witnessing people doing it and trying to tell them about how spend within their means."

"I was just surprised on the nonsensical nature of it, and how it was everywhere. I moved to London, and I legit didn't see a pickup truck for 4 months. And when I finally saw one, there was sh*t in the back."

"Compared to Atlanta rush hour traffic where pickups are just as common as cars, and almost all of them aren't carrying anything."

-- bitwaba

When Individualism Feels More Like Selfish

"I find my countrymen to be kind of insufferable. Even the good ones. I just think Americans are generally not very conscientious people."

"I left for pretty much all the same reasons everyone else has listed. Near free healthcare, better quality of life, very straight forward interviews, and I've been able to get a master's degree here for free. Even the dating scene is better."

"I have no plans on returning. I do miss doing outdoorsy stuff in the US though."

-- BobisBadA**

Existential Threats

"I left towards the end of the Bush administration, but his reelection is what made me realize I had to go."

"I'm gay, and seeing someone win reelection in large part because he campaigned on a constitutional amendment to ban me from marrying was too insulting to take."

-- mylesleo

Strategic Decision-Making

"I left for Canada after I realized how much the War on Terror was costing the US. This was around 2006-2007."

"It occurred to me that that level of military expenditure is unsustainable, and that sooner or later Americans would pay the price. Bush was borrowing the money to shift the costs into the future."

-- jz187

Because of Guns. Nuff Said.

"It was my mum's decision. I was held at gunpoint by a neighbor, at the age of ten. Because some boys knocked on his door and ran away. He came out of his house packing heat, and took the first children he saw hostage."

"He rang our parents, we lived just round the corner. When the police came my mum assumed he would be arrested. Nope."

"My mum was threatened with arrest for swearing. We moved to England soon after, it's lovely here."

-- cfcnotbummer

It Sets In

"Working in field hospice in rural Louisiana. I was like 'I can't die here.'"

"Honestly I'd rather die in prison than in a Medicaid nursing home in rural Louisiana."

-- SweetPickleRelish

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