Americans Reveal How Leaving The US Changed Their Lives (49 Stories)
Leaving your home state isn’t easy. Changing jobs is tough. Moving houses is not something I’d recommend trying out for fun.
Imagine what a whole different experience it is to leave the country altogether. With your friends and fave coffee place far behind, new life begins, posing as many challenges as opening new horizons.
But we can never step into the shoes of ex-American residents without letting them speak for themselves. Luckily, a redditor u/whizzythorne put up a question asking “Ex-Americans of Reddit, how has your life changed since moving out of the US?” on the r/AskReddit subreddit, giving us a better idea of everything that waits there on the other side of the world.
The answers are in down below and they surely give a lot of food for thought.
Not an ex-American (I don’t think that very many US citizens abroad would identify as “ex-Americans”), but a US citizen and cultural American living abroad. The biggest systemic difference I notice (8 years abroad, mostly 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, but 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 basic well-being of the people in Germany is so secure that there is much more breathing room for average people to engage in completely different discussions. In the beginning it was frustrating. I often thought that 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 moved from the US to Germany, I absolutely cannot fathom what it is like moving between two countries of vastly different economic and social levels
Moved to Switzerland 5 years ago. The biggest difference is that there is more vacation time and higher salaries. This 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 absolutely everywhere. We drive 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.
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 to 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.
It’s not entirely clear how many American citizens live abroad, but the Association of American Residents Overseas reported that an estimated 8.7 million Americans were living abroad in 2016. The number today is likely to be much greater.
The AARO has also stated that among the most popular destinations are the Western hemisphere and Canada, Central and South America, which make up to 40% of emigrants. Other destinations include Europe with 26%, as well as East Asia and the Pacific with 24%, which is the same as the Middle East.
Uh, I’m still American. I’m definitely 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 the US.
It has really 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.
I an an American living in Sweden. I have lived here for 34 years and I love it. The weather is crap but otherwise everything is great.
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 7 weeks off from work a year. And many great benefits such as healthcare extra 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 fairly high income. The people who make less pay a lot less. Like 50 dollars a month. The daycares are wonderful with a curriculum and great organic food an awesome outdoor areas.
I have lived almost my whole life I Sweden but have lived in Chicago and LA as an adult.
Nothing compares to Sweden. And my American dad who moved here when he was 30 say the same.
But the weather sucks!
I’ve lived in a few countries outside of the US: Romania, Moldova, Bulgaria, and Georgia (the republic)
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 physical therapists in my city. In the US, I can’t afford insurance and would just not see a doctor since it isn’t extremely painful or life threatening.
Funscrape reached out to Jessica Cutrufello, the creator of the blog A Wanderlust For Life, who is passionate about European food, travel, and expat life, to find out more about the ups and downs of moving to live abroad.
Jessica was born and raised in the mountains of Virginia, then moved to very flat Amsterdam in the summer of 2014 and never looked back.
She recounted the life-changing decision: “Confident [her husband] would get work quickly, we sold everything, packed a couple of bags, and moved to Amsterdam in temporary housing until we figured it all out.” It took some luck, planning, and desperation of wanting to stay and the couple now owns their first home in Amsterdam.
I no longer have to determine if I’m sick enough to go to the doctor or ER because of costs. Medical treatment here is almost entirely covered by taxes, and it’s an amazing feeling after living in the US. 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 now. When I visit the US, I’m always very glad that I no longer live there.
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
My life is good. I expected the language and culture. Didn’t expect that I’d be happier here honestly, but I’m happier and can smile more. Moved US to Germany.
Jessica said that she truly misses her “local creamery’s milk and ice cream.” Also, she said she would like to be able “to pick up A1 steak sauce in the supermarket.” However, she appreciates social norms better in the Netherlands. “It’s a culture that’s direct, which is incredibly refreshing. There’s also more inherent trust all around.”
The travel blogger and expat life enthusiast has also said that “Even though our taxes are way higher, we feel safer, we feel more taken care of, and we are able to travel around Europe quickly and easily because we have an airport that’s a main hub and super close to our house.”
In comparison, it used to take the family 2 hours to drive to the airport when they lived in Virginia.
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.
I’m not even close to as worried about the Coronavirus as if I still lived in the US. 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.
Life in New Zealand is amazing. The work-life balance feels, you know, balanced, and I’ve had many more opportunities to go traveling (ironically, since NZ 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 to afford treatment in the US.
The biggest thing that Jessica she didn’t realize she was worrying about until the family moved to the Netherlands was the healthcare. “We don’t have to worry about it anymore.”
Jessica also revealed that she finds it very refreshing and time-saving that Dutch people are extremely direct. “Americans often see it as rude, which I totally understand, because many of us are taught to walk on eggshells, tell little white lies to make people not feel bad, and just dance around every possible issue,” the woman explained.
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 payed. I took a month of Vacation time last year. Still get payed.
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 still be improved drastically. But the US is a different kind of wage slavery.
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 feel like I missed out on it living in the US (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 your 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.
Still American, but I have lived in England for 16 years.
I have a better job here than what I did in the US 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, 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’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 in the US 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 really miss salsa, fish tacos, and dill pickles but the finest chocolate is cheaper than the US 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.
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 dont remember doing this in the states. Some negatives are: house prices are pretty high. NZ is Sooo far away from anywhere, I’ve only been home 4 times for a 2 week visit. My parents missed out on my kids childhood.
My quality of life has increased 1,000 fold. I am surrounded by much more intelligent people who are much more responsible to not only their fellow man, but also great lovers of animals. I have never been treated with such respect in my life as since I’ve lived here. I have never before seen a people take such good care of their children. I have never before seen a people love and respect animals as I have witnessed here. I’m in love with the west side of Turkey.
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 the US, they get a lot closer to being right on a lot more things, in my opinion.
Left the US 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 going 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
Amazing. We save a nice amount of money. The advertisements here are of useful everyday things. Overabundance is absurd in the US. 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 its supposed to.
Great! Moved to Canada after Trump was elected. Never looked back. More and more I feel like it was the right choice.
Moved to Japan 7 years ago. It’s nice to finally have health care and to be able to actually 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.
I can afford to treat my asthma! It has honestly changed my life. I’m able to be so much more active than before.
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 beat.
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 minutes for a scheduled appointment and the care was far superior to anything I’ve ever dealt with in the US.
A visit for food poisoning and flu ran me $45 USD with prescriptions. $80 USD for the dentist. $700 usd for 3 months of concerta and a meeting with a specialist. Now I’m back in the US, 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 falling apart for a scheduled appointment that lasted all of 15 minutes, and talked to the doctor for just 2 minutes. $650 without any medications.
I’m an expat American, which is not an “ex-American.” I left the US in the 1980s.
I’ve always had healthcare, as have my kidd. 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 costs
I’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.
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 doctors 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 to a huge advocate for universal healthcare and sensible gun control because I live in a country where both have been implemented and both have improved the lives of the people who live here.
Also, preferential voting us 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 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 goes, 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 moved to Sweden in 2006. I love it. I get lots of time off, vacation, parental leave, etc. A house close to the city center, that I’d never be able to afford back in California, and my kids have a great life. I’m not afraid to release a 4 year old to run to a friend’s place on his own. I’m probably less well off financially than if I stayed in California, but less stressful too. I love having 25 vacation days. I love the high quality preschool that is almost free. Sure, I pay lots of taxes, but I feel that I’m getting a lot of benefits from it too. Heck, I’m taking 7 /weeks / off this coming summer.
Negatives: I’d like to say that I walk more, but I drive every where. It snowed yesterday. Having to file taxes to the US. It’s expensive!
Only been living abroad for about a year and a half but I can say I’m generally much happier. Being able to afford health care and prescriptions and overall work life is much better. I actually struggled with not being able to work 45+ hours a week because that’s what I was use to in America even though it’s not necessary here. My boss and coworkers care about our mental health and lifestyles. I love being able to live without a car and use public transportation, walk or bike. The lifestyle is just much healthier here. I find it’s easier to make healthy decisions here.
However, the language is hard. I can get by with English but in a few years I’ll need to take an exam to stay here longer and it’s not in English. In the work place most people don’t speak English so to be included it’s nice to know the other language too. I do miss the variety of stores and shopping in America. Food, clothing, specific brands, things like that. It’s also very annoying constantly being asked about Trump and politics.
I’ve in Europe for 8 years now (Italy/ UK) and I don’t think I could ever move back to the US
I love having cheap medication and healthcare, good public transport, and less tribal politics BUT I have experienced WAY more racism in Europe than I ever have in the US and thanks to Trump everyone here looks down on Americans and America.
Also there is way less variety in terms of what you can buy in supermarkets and drugs stores and stuff like that which can get boring sometimes.
Health care, more vacation time. Lots more international travel and better food. Also fell in love and got married.
Been out of the US for 15 years in Latin America, Asia then Europe.
– Employers have always offered full health insurance
– Food is much less processed. Last time I went back to the US I was in a grocery store and was absolutely appalled at the deli meat section. I couldn’t find anything I recognized as meat. In most of Asia meat has lots of fat on it and you can see which part of the animal it came from. It’s also much more tasty. The american grocery store version just seems unhealthy and unnatural
– Politically I used to be a progressive when I was in the US. Now things have shifted and when I go back i’m basically a moderate in comparison to all my friends, old schoolmates and the young folk
– I travel like crazy, likely because it’s easier and cheaper to get around, plus salaries go much farther when cost of living is cheap (not so much in Europe). Generally I take 4-5 major international trips every year
– My “friend groups” are all expats that live all over the world. Making travel really interesting since I just go visit them, from Lima to Berlin to Osaka to Bali.
– My “tribe” identity has shifted quite a bit from “American” to “Expat” and most of my friends are also Expats but usually from different countries. I feel more in common with an expat from Moscow or London than I might with an American who has never lived abroad
– I haven’t owned a car in 15 years, public transportation is generally quite good in most places I have lived
– I speak fluent Mandarin & Spanish
The list could go on…
I’m still American but living in west/central Africa since 2007.
Negatives about being here: there’s not the variety of restaurants found in the states. Health care often isn’t very good, though it is really cheap (root canal $80 for example). Many cities don’t offer a wide range of activities either.
Positives: I can afford a housekeeper twice a week to clean the place and do laundry. Restaurants and bars are really cheap. 24 oz. beer is a dollar. People are very social and easy to meet. There really isn’t a lot to spend money on so I save quite a bit of my salary. I can piss along side of the road if I need to and nobody cares.
Not me but my brother. He moved to Austria and loves it there. One thing that’s changed though is that it’s absolutely messed up how he speaks English. He’s learned a lot of German but English is so widespread over there it’s still what he usually uses. But all the people he talks to have a somewhat thick accent when they speak it which he’s kind of adopted over time. He has to put a lot of effort into how he talks when Skyping with our mom or she can’t understand a word he says.
Still American, been living in Barcelona for 17 years.
On balance it’s been a great experience. Mostly as a result of sheer luck I wound up in a place where my shortcomings weren’t as big of a problem as they were back in Seattle, and I really came out of my shell. I discovered new talents, started a successful business, met a nice boy, fell in love and got married.
How has my life changed? Well, I have fairly severe ADD, and that kept me from being successful in my chosen IT profession. Here I found a passion for hospitality and opened a burger place that has now become a top-rated mini-chain in the country. Due to the high cost of opening a business like that in the US, I never would have been able to manage it. Here I did.
Quality of life is better in general: good free healthcare, public transport everywhere, awesome food and wine, great climate and weather. Cost of living is generally pretty low compared to the US, even though I’m in one of the most expensive real-estate markets in the country.
On the other hand, something I’ve noticed and discussed with my American friends is that by comparison, life here is harder than the US (depending on where you are there). By hard I mean so much is a hassle. Those cute mom-and-pop stores here are great until you actually need to buy something and have to go to six places and they are all out of it because they only stock one so you’ve wasted half a day and still won’t get the thing you need until next week. So much paperwork and bureaucracy, city governments and state agencies with entire hierarchies of functionaries who only exist to prevent you from doing what you need to do. Sooo many lines to stand in. Supermarkets that are anything but super and keep bankers’ hours. Sky-high taxes. It costs thousands of Euros and the better part of a year to get a drivers’ license here, but everyone drives like a drunken toddler so what was the point? I could go on.
Life here is great, but I suspect we’ll wind up back in the US in a few years.
I’m still an American, but I have been living outside of the US for the better part of the last decade.
It’s nice to have affordable medical insurance and to be able to go to the doctor without worrying about the price. It’s also nice to have amazing and affordable public transportation, not just in my city, but throughout the whole country. Other positives include low crime, clean cities, not a ton of aggressive homeless people. Apartments are also extremely affordable, even in the most desirable parts of town.
On the downside, I’ll always be a foreigner here, and the air pollution is way worse here than in the US. Also, fresh produce is way more expensive here than it is back home.
Moved to NZ in 2010.
The good: Was able to take care of some non-urgent medical stuff that greatly improved my quality of life right off the bat. Was able to go back to school without having to worry about working too much thanks to student allowance. I also have loans now that will never accumulate interest if I stay here, and that I only need to pay once I earn enough and then only a portion of what I earn. I’ve been supported by my government between jobs.
The bad: The housing market. I have been very lucky that I found the house I have been renting for seven years. My landlord is a good guy and only significant raised rent once (most do yearly). But I’m stuck. Unless we can really get our s**t together buying a house which is a pipe dream. If we rent another place the rent will be way higher, but we’ll never find a place that takes our pets because every rental has so many applications they don’t need to. We’d love to move, but it’s not going to happen. The second is finding permanent full-time work. We’ve both only gotten freelance/self-employed work despite postgrad degrees. We just don’t have the connections that you need to into that first industry role. So our income is good at times, and non-existent at others. But as I said, we get help when we need it. Overall, pretty happy.
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.
Moved to China in 2007 and from there to Australia in 2013.
– I’m healthier. I eat less and walk more. I’ve forgotten how to drive almost entirely.
– I earn less that in would be able to in the US (as a Software Developer)
– In Australia I work less than I did in the US (China was similar)
– I use more vacation time to visit family (back in the US)
Going from rural countryside to a progressive European city has been extremely life changing in so many good ways. First of all, I never felt like I “belonged” where I lived before. I always felt different and constricted in ways. Coming to Europe made me realise that my mindset is not unique but was definitely constricted and not appreciated in rural America. I am WAY healthier. I walk everywhere, eat healthier, go to the doctor when I need it and without fear of debilitating debt when before I wouldn’t do so. Work/life balance is so much better. Now I work in a field where I want to work and there is almost zero stress. I don’t make much money, but I am much much happier and I definitely have what I need. I almost never eat processed food (only as a treat) and eat very high quality protein, fish, and vegetables every day. I shop every day or every other day at the corner shop instead of filling up my cart for weeks at a time. I live amongst people with the same mindset as I have (workers rights, taking care of the elderly and the poor, not cutting funding for students, etc. etc.). I have grown and matured a lot since moving here and feel way more confident in myself and feel more inspired as a citizen of this world. Part of me would love to go back to my small, rural town and make changes that I see here that really improve the lives of people, but I could NEVER see myself moving back to the US and living there long term.
Moving back to the US after 6 years away was harder than moving away. My mind set 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.
American living in Singapore for 3 years
Public transportation is cheap, nice, and simple
Food is great! Tough finding Mexican food that’s affordable but you gotta work with what you got. We have a lot of major brands here for food:
McDonald’s, KFC, shake shack, five guys, Carl’s junior, A&W, etc. Basically no lack of a good burger. McDonald’s is a million times better here FYI.
You can find a variety of any ASEAN food here so there is never a lack of options to try here
Healthcare is affordable and good here! The local GCP’s kind of suck though but you only use these places for like a common cold or picking up prescriptions.
Education system is far better than the US.
Cellphone data is cheap. I pay $20 usd for 50gb of cell data.
Switching jobs is a Hassel. Working on PR to make it easier but aside from that it’s really difficult to jump to a new company
Customer service here is horrendous. You end up making choices on certain restaurants if you like the service or not.
Singaporeans love to que. So be prepared to wait in long lines for certain events, restaurants, etc.
You’ll always be treated as an Ang Moh sadly so you can face quite a bit of discrimination but it’s very subtle. This mainly occurs with a lot of older uncles or aunties. Example: my fiancé is singaporean and because she’s holding my hand and walking with me, you’ll have older uncles and aunties judging her and Tsk’ing her.
Driving here is Hella absurdly expensive. Cars are 3x the price here and the cert to own the car is also expensive, it’s considered luxury. Housing here is also expensive.
Drinking is super expensive here. Order a pint of guiness and you already down $12 usd.
Gym membership is quite expensive as well about $65 usd a month.
I miss my friends and family back home and my ability to travel anywhere and everywhere I want with my car. Singapore is quite comfortable so it’s also quite hard to leave as well.
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.
Currently living in Glasgow, UK after living my entire life in California. The weather is quite brutal and the drinking culture feels like living with a bunch of frat boys. Travel is pretty cheap! It’s really easy to go to different countries on the weekends when the flights are only £30 or so. Public transportation is a breeze and everyone uses it. Surprisingly more vegan/vegetarian conscious than most places. Everything is labeled and almost every store has some option. It’s not uncommon for people to be friendly to each other on the street either. You’d get weird looks if you said hi to a stranger in the states.
Transformative. I have much more time to enjoy myself, and much more disposable income. The real kicker though…..is the 400mbps upload AND download connection I have for a whopping $22.18 a month.
US born, emigrated to Canada 15 years ago, took on dual Canadian citizenship 4 years ago.
Remember “truth, justice, and the American way”? We do that in Canada. You don’t do it so much in the USA anymore. We and friends sponsored a refugee family to settle here. Countless folks here went out of their way to help.
Canadian universal healthcare is much better than the employer-based, private-profit hodgepodge of the USA. It was wierd here at first to finish a doctor visit and then just — leave. No copay, no financial transaction at all. The doctor visit was just about healthcare. I have since gotten used to that.
In the last year, I and my spouse have both developed moderately expensive medical conditions. We don’t worry about how to pay for the healthcare. It won’t drive us bankrupt.
There is a COVID-19 pandemic going on. My metro area is one of the Canadian hotspots. Our provincial and national governments are responding competently, taking the advice of experts. They have an idea how bad it is. There are enough tests. I expect our death rate will be lower than that of the US state across the border.
(Yes, Canada is not perfect. Griping about our country’s flaws is a national pastime. But that was true in the USA also. You asked how life had changed.)
I don’t have to worry about health insurance anymore, I get paid 4x as much, have 5 weeks of vacation time I can actually take, got enough money to travel and see the world and I don’t run the danger of getting shot while going (insert any action or place here).
I spent 11 years in Canada and my whole family is still up there. Love love loved it. Quality of life was better. Even though I have healthcare down here I spend a lot of time very very worried about the state of everyone else’s healthcare around me.