Leaving the place, you have been born and brought up in is not easy. And shifting to a place to start a new life is even tricky. But people are brave, and they do this. They are even taking new challenges opened in new horizons that they are moving to.
Regarding this thing, a Redditor u/whizzythorne put up a question asking, “Ex-Americans of Reddit, how has your life changed since moving out of the U.S.S.?” Scroll down to see the response.
“I am an American living in Sweden. I have lived here for 34 years, and I love it. The weather is crap, but otherwise, everything is excellent.
Almost free healthcare. My 2 c-sections cost me 0 money. 0! A visit to the doctor otherwise is like 10 dollars.
Free school with free lunch. Amazing lunch!
I have seven weeks off from work a year. And many great benefits such as extra healthcare money (300dollars /year) to spend on a gym membership or other health-related activities.
My kids are at daycare every day. I pay around 150 dollars a month. And I pay the highest amount because I have a reasonably high income. The people who make less pay a lot less. Like 50 dollars a month. The daycares are lovely with a curriculum, great organic food, and significant outdoor areas.
I have lived almost my whole life in Sweden but have lived in Chicago anL.A.L.A. as an adult.
Nothing compares to Sweden. And my American dad, who moved here when he was 30, says the same.
But the weather sucks!”
“American that immigrated to Canada here,
I’m no longer surrounded by political extremists all the time. In America, a huge chunk of going to work was arguing with idiots that thought the world was 6000 years old, Trump was some kind of savior, and I was a stupid millennial that would understand that all of this is true when I’m older. In Canada, most conversations with people at work are about what happened on the weekend.”
“Uh, I’m still American. I’m never giving up my citizenship.
I moved to France at the end of 2017. My husband is French, and with Trump getting elected, it made more sense for me to move there than for him to come to U.Se U.S.
It has opened my eyes to the rest of the world. I feel like America is in this weird bubble of being hyper-focused on ourselves. My knowledge of history, politics, and different cultures has jumped considerably. I’ve met people from so many different countries that it truly amazes me.”
“Moved to Switzerland 5 years ago. The biggest difference is that there is more vacation time and higher salaries. It causes lower stress in general—people are always talking about their next holiday. In fact, it’s hard to get together with friends sometimes because someone is always on holiday!
Less road rage and better drivers, and public transit goes everywhere. We drove much less here and didn’t have a car for the first three years.
Subsidized pre-school (spielgruppe). No school on Wednesdays. Two-hour lunch breaks. All the shops are closed on Sundays and holidays.
No Mexican food 🙁
We cook a lot more because eating out is incredibly expensive. We also lost about 10 lbs each from walking everywhere / eating better.”
“American in Canada for about 15 years now.
F**kin’ love it up here, bud.
Canada is truly what America is supposed to be. I know that this is going to rankle the MAGA crowd, but I feel a hell of a lot freer up here than I ever did in the States.
Canada’s not perfect, but they f**king try – and compared to U.S. he U.S., they get a lot closer to being right on a lot more things, in my opinion.”
“I’m living in Germany. What I love is the city is designed for people. There’s a park every couple of blocks. The sidewalks are super wide and well maintained, bike lanes are well observed by drivers, well-marked, everything. Going to the doctor is awesome. I rarely need to go, but they can fit me in right away, write referrals, and I still don’t know what I paid. I never want to live U.S. the U.S. again. Not till they fix the system. Germany has 2 or 3 months of paid sick leave, and it’s super difficult to fire an employee. I have this ease and peace of mind. I don’t have to worry about illness or injury ruining my life. I miss salsa, fish tacos, and dill pickles, but the finest chocolate is cheaper U.S.an the U.S. cheap stuff. I’ll accept that trade. Oh, other bonus: groceries are subsidized. It’s about 20% cheaper to buy good food. Seeing the affordable food prices reminds me I’m living in a government that cares about its people. I can live without a car. I can fly all over Europe for super cheap. We travel once a month now. I feel like I’m living an extravagant lifestyle, but our income hasn’t increased that much.”
“My quality of life has increased 1,000 fold. I am surrounded by much more intelligent people who are much more responsive to their fellow man and great lovers of animals. I have never been treated with such respect in my life since I’ve lived here. I have never before seen people take such good care of their children. I have never seen a people love and respect animals as I have witnessed here. I’m in love with the west side of Turkey.”
“Not an ex-American (I don’t think thatU.S.ery many U.S. citizens abroad would identify as “ex-AmericU.S.s”), but a U.S. citizen and cultural American living abroad. The biggest systemic difference I notice (8 years abroad, mainly in Germany) is that people here do not discuss:
1. The cost of studying
2. Medical expenses (at all. At all. Just imagine this.)
3. Whether or not they should see a doctor or dentist for a problem
4. The fear of losing their jobs
5. Getting a third job
6. The s**t hitting the fan on a personal economic level
7. The guilt of taking two days off work in a row to recover from illness
Instead, people discuss:
1. Politics and economics, on a high, evidence-based, internationally-minded level. Of course, people bitch about how dumb their local representatives are and whatever stupid thing someone said at a press conference. Still, there is so much more content-based discussion over a historical perspective.
2. Family and friends
3. Hobbies and travel
5. You get the idea
Of course, there are exceptions, but generally, the essential well-being of the people in Germany is so secure that there is much more breathing room for ordinary people to engage in completely different discussions. In the beginning, it was frustrating. I often thought everyone here was whining about pointless first-world problems, but now I see that it is a massive luxury. As a result, I would argue that the national discourse is healthier and more relevant. Germany has its issues, but it still feels utopian to me.
Keeping in mind that I U.S.ved from the U.S. to Germany, I absolutely cannot fathom what it is like moving between two countries of vastly different economic and social levels.”
“Moved to Japan 7 years ago. It’s nice to finally have health care and be able to afford medicine / the hospital when I need it. The language barrier was a little steep at first, but luckily my first job here afforded me plenty of time to study.
Also, it’s really nice to be able to go for a walk or explore the woods and not have to worry about someone shooting me. I have never felt safer than I do in this country. It’s a surreal experience.
I miss real pizza and decent hamburgers, though.”
“Great! I moved to Canada after Trump was elected. Never looked back. More and more, I feel like it was the right choice.”
“Like most ppl here, still American, just live in Australia. I am so much happier and less stressed than in America. My employer treats me with respect, no doctor’s notes, no guilt trip if I want to see my kid run in the school sports carnival.
I went from being the right-wing Republican my parents raised me to be a huge advocate for universal healthcare and sensible gun control because I live in a country where both have been implemented. Both have improved the lives of the people who live here.
Also, preferential voting is amazing, and I think it is superior to first past the post.
Everything is a bit more expensive here. That’s the biggest downside.”
“I’m not even close to as worried about the Coronavirus as if I stU.Sl lived in the U.S. I live in Germany now.
I also eat much smaller portions. Not because I want to eat less in general, but because Americans eat giant food portions.”
“I no longer have to determine if I’m sick enough to goE.R.o the doctor or E.R. because of costs. Medical treatment here is almost entirely covered by taxes, and it’s an amazing feeling U.Ster living in the U.S. I won’t lose my savings if I get cancer or have a car accident. If I don’t feel well, I just pop down to my doctor for a free visit. (Yes, I know nothing is truly free.)
I have more free time and less stress. Work-life balance is valued more here. No one questions or cares if I take a sick day or need time to go to an appointment. I’m able to pursue hobbies and have a decent social life without other areas of my life being impacted. Life is just more laid back. It took me about five years to adjust to it, but I’ve fully embraced it nU.S.. When I visit the U.S., I’m always very glad that I no longer live there.”
“Moving back to the U.S. after 6 years away was harder than moving away. My mindset changed. I appreciate national health care, gun control, a more open mindset to other cultures. It was hard coming back and not having these things and not having people who think in the middle and not the extreme.”
“Life in New Zealand is amazing. The work-life balance feels, you know, balanced, and I’ve had many more opportunities to go travN.Z.ing (ironically, since N.Z. is about as far as possible from anywhere else).
But the biggest change is probably becoming a parent. New Zealand offers free IVF to citizens/permanent residents (if they meet qualifying criteria) – I would not have been able U.S afford treatment in the U.S.”
“Still American, but I have lived in England for 16 years.
I have a better job U.S.re than what I did in the U.S. and free healthcare.
The weather can be a downer, especially when I have to take the dog for a walk. And I have to take vitamin d supplements.
I have some great friends and a boyfriend, 2 cats a dog, a car, and a flat. before I left the US I was in retail and recently divorced. With maybe 1 friend and I was living with my Mom.”
I’ve lived in aU.S.ew countries outside of the U.S.: Romania, Moldova, Bulgaria, and Georgia (the republic)
The main everyday benefits are public transportation is really easy, convenient, and cheap to use every day. I also eat out a lot more because it’s much cheaper and more relaxed.
I haven’t had to deal with health stuff much, but when I have, it’s awesome and life-changing. For example, I recently partially dislocated my shoulder and am able to afford out-of-pocket service at one of the best physicaU.S.therapists in my city. In the U.S., I can’t afford insurance and would just not see a doctor since it isn’t extremely painful or life threatening.”
“My life is good. I expected the language and culture. Didn’t expect that I’d be happier here honestly, but I’m happU.S.r and can smile more. Moved the U.S. to Germany.”
“I moved from America to Northern England around early December last year to finally live with my LDR spouse and partner of 6 years. I can say with confidence that I have gone to get doctor visits MULTIPLE times in the past couple of months at basically no cost, it’s pretty surreal and awesome. Also, the food, in general, is much better, as far as quality and taste go, but you have to go shopping every few or couple of days because they don’t last on the shelf for as long. I also really like how public transport is EVERYWHERE, it’s not always perfect (buses often are late and even broke down once), but it’s a step up from having no car in the USA and being helpless lol.”
“I can see a much-needed therapist for free. Even though it was a whole process. It’s still f**king free. I will have to go on mood stabilizers soon. Free. I get chronic migraines. They are debilitating. I stay home. I still get paid. I took a month of vacation time last year. Still get paid. In my last job in the states, I had 5 sick days a year. 5 vacation days a year. Honestly, the worker rights in my current country (and most) need to stiU.S. be improved drastically. But the U.S. is a different kind of wage slavery.”
“Newly minted ex-pat. Just coming up on my first year in Europe.
• public transportation. We don’t have a car and have rarely even had the need for it. When we do, we can always grab a Vozilla (or similar)
• healthcare — just went for an annual checkup. Had a dr consult, EKG, full blood work/labs — out of pocket was $9 USD. My wife just spent 9 days in the hospital, lots and lots of testing. Total OOP for that was $0. Knowing that, when you leave the hospital or doctor’s office, you will never get a bill in the mail is so liberating, it’s really hard to oversell how big of a relief that is.
• Food — much fresher and more flavorful from the markets and cheaper in the restaurants
• Beer is much cheaper and flavorful
• Not knowing the language is tough. I’m still able to get through the day, but it’s a lot tougher than it has to be and I plan on getting lessons very soon.
• As others have stated, shopping is usually done at much smaller “bodega” type stores so you might have to go to a few stores to get all the ingredients for a single meal
• Just about everything is closed on Sundays (except the last Sunday of the month), so you have to plan accordingly
Overall, it’s been a very positive experience and I don’t plan on going back to live in the states”
“Amazing. We save a nice amount of money. The advertisements here are useful everyday tU.Sngs. Overabundance is absurd in the U.S. Exercise is not a gym or a pill it’s just walking to get groceries. Or just being outside to walk to a cafe. The food is way better. Not full of chemicals. Fresh food tastes like it’s supposed to.”
“I’ve lived in several different countries so the changes were different in each one. The one major/constant one is that I travel a lot more now. Not because I have some sort of passion for travel or because I feelU.S.ike I missed out on it living in the U.S. (I traveled a lot as a kid). It’s just so damn easy, that it’s not even much of a thought. Traveling outside of yU.S.state is a hassle but outside of the U.S., that’s a major trip. Traveling to a neighboring country now is a 1-2 hour train and I am in a completely different culture, with a different language, different food, etc.”
“I moved to Canada in 2013, so not a drastic change culturally. The biggest difference is that I was able to build myself as a freelancer and artist without the fear that I wouldn’t have health insurance. I was able to join a union pretty easily and I get all kinds of supplemental perks from that. Things are more expensive here, but even accounting for the currency conversion I make triple what I did in the same job in my home state.”
“I was living in Hong Kong for a few years but returned due to the protests.
The best things were public transit, having fast, reliable public transit and just getting on a double-decker bus after work and spacing out on my phone or jumping on a train and being on a beautiful mountain ready to hike within 40 minutes was amazing.
The food was incredible. I think a lot of westerners go and get pizza or pasta or whatever they’re used to but it’s expensive and not very good. The little dumpling shops and random Sichuan noodle places though can’t be beaten.
And of course healthcare. There’s an inexpensive public option that you have to wait for and also an expensive private option that still has to compete with the public option. So the prices aren’t bad at all even with the private doctors and you get something for the extra cost. I never waited more than a couple of minutes for a scheduled appointment and the care was far superiorU.So anything I’ve ever dealt with in the U.S.
A visit for food poisoning and flu ran me $45 USD with prescriptions. $80 USD for the dentist. $700 USD for 3 months of concerts and a meetiU.S. with a specialist. Now I’m back in the U.S., my wife had to go to an appointment at the nicer local hospital. We waited for an hour in a dirty waiting room with furniture that’s falling apart for a scheduled appointment that lasted all of 15 minutes and talked to the doctor for just 2 minutes. $U.S.0 without any medications.”
“Left the U.S. years ago. Still an American (since it’s a long process to get new citizenship and I like having options)
I moved to Japan. I was able to buy a house in the countryside that was a decent price. I’m able to afford a house, a car, and a kid on a single income. I can afford to go to the doctor which is cool.
For the most part, it’s easy to get Western media such as Netflix and Disney deluxe.
Food is crazy-expensive. Like a $1 for a single apple or heaven forbid if I want watermelon.”
“I enjoy not getting harassed on the street by random strangers, even in a country where I stick out as a foreigner like a sore thumb. People leave each other alone, with the exception of the occasional drunk old man or generally rude ***hole (everywhere in the world’s got at least a few). Civilized societies are nice.”
“Dual citizen. 20 years in Nz. Some positives are: plenty of work, don’t have to worry about health insurance or paying for an ambulance, gun control ( I grew up hunting). Also when there is a major issue the country needs to decide, we have referendums. They mail out a voting form and you tick yes or no on the issue and post back. I don’t remember doing this in the states. SomeN.Z.egatives are: house prices are pretty high. N.Z. is Sooo far away from anywhere, I’ve only been home 4 times for a 2-week visit. My parents missed out on my kid’s childhood.”
“I’m an ex-pat AmerU.S.an, which is not an “ex-American.” I left the U.S. in the 1980s. I’ve always had healthcare, as have my kids. I’ve had 4 operations myself and my kids have had another 4 in total, and I never paid a penny for them. I’ve had sick days at every job I’ve ever had. Jobs must pay transportation costsI’ve been able to pay my bills without writing a check for decades. Most are done by direct order these days. My salary is directly deposited in my bank once a month. Taxes are automatically deducted. I don’t have to pay for incoming cellphone calls. Most official things are done by text these days. For example, when I get a package, the post office notifies me by text rather than sending a slip.”
“I am a Norwegian-American and I have lived in Iceland, Norway, and the Faroe Islands. I am now living in Moscow, Russia, waiting for my residency to be processed. The main change from moving from the States to Russia is the availability of great health care without buying health insurance. I had an MRI done for $20 and they gave me a thumb drive of the scans so I can take it to whichever other clinic I might want to. Then I had 3 ultrasounds during one session, with blood work, and it all only cost around $45 dollars. These appointments were all done on the same day I called to make them and within a 5-mile radius of my home. This was all with a private healthcare clinic too, which is more expensive than just the State-run healthcare. So yeah, it’s amazing to have that. It’s also nice to be able to buy a nice apartment and Summer house without taking a mortgage. I’ll just add that life in Russia is much more similar to the United States than it ever was while living in the Nordic countries that I had lived in.”