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Many people throw around the idea that they will leave the country at the first inconvenience, but a few netizens out there have actually done that. So we’ve gathered stories from Americans who decided to move abroad and decided to share what happened to them. 

From people who realized why “the grass is always greener” remains an age-old cliche to folks who love their new life, everyone’s story was different. So get comfortable as you scroll through, upvote your favorite tales and if you have done something similar, share your experience in the comments below. 

#1

“The Grass Is Always Greener”: 40 Stories From Americans Who Decided To Try Living Elsewhere I had a "good job" in the US before I came here. Work was regular hours +1 Saturday out of every 3, and I was on call 24/7 for consultation. I had 1 week vacation plus Christmas and Thanksgiving each year. No insurance, and I barely made my bills each month. Still my friends were often jealous of my office job.

I left the US in 2006. Now, I have great health coverage for about $100 per month for a family of 3, and it isn't tied to my employer so if an employer is s**t, I can just quit and move on. It includes dental and eye care, and a yearly free check up. When I am sick, cost at the Dr and pharmacy are less than $5 each.

I now have 15 days vacation plus about 10 holidays each year. I work Monday through Friday and when I'm off the clock, I'm off the clock.

In my first year here, I paid off 10k of student loan debt, and had a bit of savings. By 2010, I had 50k saved.

The US is like an underdeveloped nightmare dystopia compared to the rest of the world. But the constant media propaganda proclaiming it is the best, most advanced country in the world, and paints every one else as backward thinking oddities keeps the population grinding away at the deadend, under compensated jobs.

Knosis1723 , Sora Shimazaki Report

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TheAmericanAmerican
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1 month ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

This is so accurate. I'm achieving the similar thing living abroad in Europe. I'm never moving back to the US! I'm truly free now 😁

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#2

“The Grass Is Always Greener”: 40 Stories From Americans Who Decided To Try Living Elsewhere Eye opening. I’ve always known that the US has a lot of propaganda and Nationalism. But it wasn’t until I moved to Europe that I got to experience the being an outsider looking in.

I’m not sure if what I said makes sense, it’s kinda hard to explain.

gnarlydarling , David Dibert Report

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BoredPossum
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1 month ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

It made perfect sense. That's the feeling we have every time the "America is the best country in the world"-people come in and downvote us.

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#3

“The Grass Is Always Greener”: 40 Stories From Americans Who Decided To Try Living Elsewhere I moved to Europe seven years ago. At first, our motivation was the ability to have children without going into debt. After living here for a few years, we were able to buy a house and live a lifestyle that was once considered 'the American dream.' I also found that life is less materialistic here. People still have gardens and walk to places they want to go to. I just find it to be a more sustainable environment for my family.

Netwelle , Aubrey Odom Report

#4

Having lived in England, Sweden, Japan, Argentina, and Uganda; I can assure you that it's great! Honestly all Americans should spend at least a year abroad at some point. Most people here have such an insular view of the world and have been brainwashed to believe that we are somehow the "best." People are great and experiencing different cultures and ways of life can truly help you relate to others in a much more altruistic way.

mynewme Report

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BoredPossum
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1 month ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Yes, that brainwashing is what downvotes any negative comments regarding the US.

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#5

“The Grass Is Always Greener”: 40 Stories From Americans Who Decided To Try Living Elsewhere I live in Berlin now, and I'm still trying to get used to my five weeks of vacation. All vacation is paid vacation, and it's standard everywhere. I also get a two-hour lunch and have a 32-hour workweek. All of this adds up to years that I can spend with my family. It just makes the quality of life so much better.

witaji , Robert Ponce Report

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#6

Black American. Moved first to Japan and was there for eight years. I won't say more about the place except to say I had some awesome experiences there (and met my wife there), but dear God, the xenophobia is real (I can't think of any of the places I lived in Japan, or visited, that I WASN'T stared at as if fire was shooting out of my head; wife too (she's European).

After that, moved to Hungary, where I've been for more than a decade now. There's lots to say. As an American, some doors are very open, others strongly closed, because Hungarian is the key. That said, at least in Budapest, it's possible to get around without Hungarian, even with jobs (mind, I do speak Hungarian, but not a high level).

Weirdly maybe, I find myself feeling more free here than back in the States. EVERY time I go back home, someone, somewhere, reminds me that I am in fact Black, and that information has to somehow enter the conversation or affect our interaction (seriously, how many times can I get an exaggerated 'bro' or 'was up' or whatever? Or, and I joke you not, have the N-word worked into the conversation somehow).

It's different here. Unlike Japan and the US (where being black was an absolute hinderance at times) in Hungary it just doesn't seem to mean much. In my work, much more than in Japan, I'm judged based on what I do and accomplish. It's nice to be just taken at face value. Mind, language is a barrier sometimes, but even that is slowly being chipped away at here (and the younger generation is WAY above the older in their language skills).

As someone said about Britain above, Hungarians REALLY like to gripe about Hungary (and to be fair, there's plenty to gripe about). That said, for me, it's been a pretty good place (and I say that as a person that came with basically nothing in the bank; moving from Japan was hyper expensive, especially back when I did it).

For example, as others have said, I strongly appreciate the healthcare system. Like, a few years ago, my wife and daughter had women's issues that needed surgery and a few days in the hospital. All I paid for, for both, was the "semi-private" room (and that was only 5000 HUF per night, so...$15?). When I myself had heart failure two years ago, I ended up in the local hospital for 10 nights, and then another one later for a check-up for 1 night. I paid absolutely nothing for that; even got a semi-private room for two nights for free since I was on the mend and they wanted to make space for patients needing closer care. My first hospital was even a suburban one, which tend not to be funded too well, but it was totally fine really (and fun side note - the room of old Hungarian guys I stayed with were super helpful and hilarious; one night, one of the guys decided for some crazy reason to take out his IV, which meant blood everywhere; guy next to me said (I think): "Nezd? Itt a fasza!" (which means: See? Here's a d**k); we then went out and got a nurse to help him).

Also, really like that most government services are online. A lot is done online in fact. In the US, I get the impression we only do online government things reluctantly with technology, and then we make it as difficult as possible to actually use them (and of course, in the US, we don't update anything, ever; my brother-in-law works for the army and tell me they're still using pay systems that run on Fortran 77). I also had a case once where I had to call for some issue to the state government in my home state, and I couldn't, because the line didn't accept calls from abroad; despite being a suggested number for people to call from abroad!

Anyway, the downsides. I'm originally from the east coast and I MISS seafood like crabs and shrimp and stuff. You can get it here, but it ain't cheap. Also, sometimes, I kind of miss American optimism; people sort of think "Well, maybe we can!" A few of my Hungarian friends seem to defeat themselves before they even try. And the bureaucracy gets to me; there's an incredible amount of paperwork (I mean, a lot is online now, but you STILL have to do it; all of it - there's an old joke that if you go to an office to do anything, they're try hard to find something you forgot so that you have to come back). Despite all the bureaucracy, I feel things are disorganized or unclear anyway.

I think I touched the highlights. I mean, there's certainly more, but overall, I really like it here. I already passed the point of working enough to qualify for a pension once I retire (however small it will be); I have no intention of leaving anytime soon. And it's nice being in the EU (despite what others sometimes seems to imply), and being able to travel and what not.

inostranetsember Report

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Traveling Lady Railfan
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1 month ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Thank you for this post, I found it very interesting. I loved your comparisons between the three major areas you lived in, and how you perceived the people to be accepting or not. And all the pros and cons you experienced.

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#7

“The Grass Is Always Greener”: 40 Stories From Americans Who Decided To Try Living Elsewhere I moved to Europe and always thought I would go back to the US one day. That changed when I had kids. As weird as it is for someone who grew up being fed the whole 'land of opportunity' narrative, Europe simply provides more opportunity, more security, and a better quality of life for my kids. Staying here for them has been a no-brainer.

ParsleyFun , Yan Krukau Report

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BoredPossum
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1 month ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

That narrative is what bugs us, not that you are Americans but that you love yourselves so much.

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#8

“The Grass Is Always Greener”: 40 Stories From Americans Who Decided To Try Living Elsewhere I moved to Europe and my favorite thing about living here is that it's so easy to pick up and travel somewhere completely different. In America, you have to travel a long way to get to a place with a different culture. But here in Europe, in just a few hours I can drive to France, the Netherlands, or Germany. And in a few hours on a plane, I can be in Italy, Greece, Spain, or Portugal.

Doggyboy , Oleksandr P Report

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#9

“The Grass Is Always Greener”: 40 Stories From Americans Who Decided To Try Living Elsewhere 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.

drshields , Helena Jankovičová Kováčová Report

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#10

“The Grass Is Always Greener”: 40 Stories From Americans Who Decided To Try Living Elsewhere 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!).

sark9handler , Pixabay Report

#11

“The Grass Is Always Greener”: 40 Stories From Americans Who Decided To Try Living Elsewhere I lived in Taiwan for a year, six years ago. Almost weekly I wish I was still there. Unfortunately, I was engaged at the time and promised by my fiance that I'd come home and marry him, and I did.

The people were very friendly, the food was great, I loved the markets, and riding a scooter. I earned enough that I could travel when I wanted to and I had a group of friends to hang out with. Public transportation was easy to navigate and cheap. The Taiwanese never made me feel unsafe or uncomfortable even though I lived in an apartment by myself above a shop.

There was a cafe that I liked to take my work to. When I started going there, the menu was only in Mandarin and I would use a translation app to read it and order. After two weeks, they made their menu bilingual just for me! It's probably the sweetest thing strangers have done for me. I wonder what some of the people I used to order food from regularly thought when I stopped coming. I should have said goodbye properly but I was awkward with the language barrier.

any_name_today , Belle Co Report

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SobyKay
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1 month ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Ive travelled extensively and lived in Taiwan for 6 yrs. Best country to live in, hands down. Would def go back.

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#12

“The Grass Is Always Greener”: 40 Stories From Americans Who Decided To Try Living Elsewhere I moved to Norway 15 years ago. For the first 10 years, there were no regrets. Recently, though, I'm not as certain. I will likely reside here the rest of my life, but it's not quite as wonderful as it seemed at first. Here's a few reasons why:

1. You will always be the outsider. In Norway, identity is closely tied to language. If you can speak Norwegian well you are more accepted, but never totally accepted. You will always be "han amerikaner" (that american). This is far less pronounced in the US. You might be from somewhere else that the states, but if you are a citizen few people will dispute you being american.
2. Norway is a small country and as such they are have a need to compartmentalize others so that they can retain a national identity. You will be stereotyped. Even if you've never owned a gun, people will expect you support gun ownership, because that's what they think all americans do. They will expect you are big american football fan, because that's what they think all americans are. Even good things, like cooking, you will be expected to make the best "real american" burger in any given group. Which is kinda embarrassing , if you are not good at making burgers. This is not restricted to Americans, I have German and Spanish friends here, and they are subject to the same "us and them" thinking. In the US people don't stereotype nearly as much, but that's mostly because they don't care. Which for me, if a good thing.
3. Do not criticize Norway as a foreigner - but especially as an American, you should be wary of saying anything that can be perceived as an negative towards the country or its politics, laws and culture. You shouldn't speak up about places you are visiting, I understand that, tourists are not qualified to make analysis of the countries they are visiting, but if you have lived here for years and years you should be able to say when you think something is awry. Not in Norway, it's not your place, because (see note 1 - you are the outsider.) This is even more true when you are from the US because they look at the USA as third world country now. People have the perception that most americans are dying in squalor without any healthcare - this is supported by some very popular but biased and one-sided documentaries made about the US recently, which aren't concerned with nuances of the american situation. All of these 3 point have to do with Janteloven. Look it up if you are interested. It is the dumbest cultural concept which is basically codified nationalism.
4. Lastly, there's some very strange laws here. There are also very strange laws in the US, but here they often have to do with alcohol. You can't buy alcohol in shops after 8pm, or 6pm on Saturdays and on Sundays you can't by it at all. You also can't buy alcohol the day before or the day of national holidays. Also most everything is closed on sundays, even grocery stores (but small ones can stay open) due to labor laws as such. Not necessary a bad thing - but some of the laws take getting used to and it seems there are ways to improve service. Due the føre var principle (the precautionary principle) change is very slow here. "The old ways are best", "slow and steady"...this is the crux of it.
5. Norwegian food is so-so. I like some of the dishes a lot, but there isn't much amazing. In the cities, there is a focus on foriegn food (Asian and American are most popular) which underlay the fact that norwegians also could do with more than kjøttkaker (meatcakes). American food wins.
6. Getting a driver's license is very expensive. Think upwards of 3000 USD.

Now, I'm still here, so there's a lot of good in Norway too!

1. It's beautiful. Especially the west coast and up north, but also in the south with small cozy villages and lots of nature. The US is also beautiful, but it's so much bigger, making it a bit harder to get places.
2. There's a lot of attention paid to work life balance. Workers have real power in Norway and Unions are strong enough to demand wage raises and worklife improvements...much better than the US.
3. Which brings me to vacation, you get 5 weeks! To start with! You can save a certain amount for the subsequent year, so it's possible to have longer vacations if you are willing to put it off a bit. It's a lot better that the US.
4. Your taxes are easy. They are deducted from your monthly wages and if you owe something at the end of the year you are notified. Same if you are getting a return. No need to send anything, you can review the tax papers if you like, but if you trust the calculations you don't have do anything. None of that hire an account cause april 15th is coming.
5. Travelling to other countries WAS easy before Corona. There were a lot of flights for a small country. I think this will return later on.
6. There is a well functioning healthcare system that is of good quality mostly (if you have a rare disease, sometimes there are not facilities in the country to treat you, but the national health insurance often covers treatment abroad if its a serious condition.). The wait times are reasonable and it's nothing like the beauacratic hell that FOX news wants you to believe it is.
7. If you have kids, there is a lot of focus on their well being. It's a great country to grow up in.
8. There is a positive focus on economic fairness that at least tries to avoid big income differences, and as a consequence, there are less social problems that come with income inequality. Not so say that there is no rich and poor here, but it's much less pronounced.
9. Public transport is much better than in the US, or at least outside of New York.
10. Norway has Haaland who is the next Ronaldo.

Overall, moving to Norway has been a net positive. But it helps to be mentally prepared for living abroad. It does something to your perception of self and of the world, both for the better and the worse. In my opinion the negatives in norway for Americans are social, but the positives are structural. If you like a challenge, I would recommend it.

TW_new3 , Petr Slováček Report

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Morten Jul Lægaard
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1 month ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

If you don’t speak English and do no effort to learn it in 10 years, how will you then be treated in USA? You will be that “weirdo from abroard”.

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#13

“The Grass Is Always Greener”: 40 Stories From Americans Who Decided To Try Living Elsewhere Been living in NZ for the past 3 years now. It has its issues but man it is an amazing and beautiful country. Highly recommend.

GangstaGrillz30 , Tim Grundtner Report

#14

“The Grass Is Always Greener”: 40 Stories From Americans Who Decided To Try Living Elsewhere Expat in Germany for the past 5 years. I moved out here for graduate school and now work at a university and am married with a kid on the way. For the most part I really love it here, but there are of course drawbacks.

Positives:
- cost of living (I have never once felt like I had to sacrifice other expenditures just to pay my rent, in contrast to the US)
- healthcare affordability and quality (had my appendix out last year for a grand total of 50 €, had an MRI in the US once and it cost $800)
- work-life balance (30 days vacation and no one makes you feel like a lazy POS for taking off. Also i am very happy that my wife will not be expected to go back to work after only 6 weeks of maternity leave)
- safety (granted that I am a 6'5" white male, i find that german cities are MUCH safer than US ones. I was mugged twice in two different cities in the US and had a gun pulled on me once. In general I find it far more comforting that not everyone is able to have a gun here.)
- public transport actually exists and is useful and well-maintained
- being able to travel to really incredible places that are relatively close by

Negatives:
- I do miss my family back home, but at least there is social media and I can call any time. It is mostly rough not being there in person for big events.
- Nosy neighbors. Everyone is watching what you are doing, which can be quite annoying.
- Finding friends is a bit difficult because Germans are quite reserved as a rule. This is especially hard because I am not the most extroverted person
- The bureaucracy can be very annoying. Especially if you have some special circumstances that require perhaps a bit more thought for a solution.
- Nationalism is definitely still a thing here. While it is maybe not quite as openly flaunted as it is with many Americans, there are definitely quite a lot of people who still hold the 'Deutschland über alle' mentality, they just are not as vocal about it.
- Food is a bit mixed in quality.

handwavingmadly , Karolina Grabowska Report

#15

“The Grass Is Always Greener”: 40 Stories From Americans Who Decided To Try Living Elsewhere 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.

thebundok , Juan Pablo Guzmán Fernández Report

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Bobert Robertson
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1 month ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

My sister moved to the lofoten Islands and I am so jealous. Also, your kids are 1st generation Norwegian, not American if they've lived there their entire lives!

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#16

“The Grass Is Always Greener”: 40 Stories From Americans Who Decided To Try Living Elsewhere I lived in Armenia for 3 years and loved it after the initial adjustment. My biggest life regret is moving back to America. I miss it every day and fully intend to go back when my child is grown to live out the rest of my life there.

anon , Gevorg Avetisyan Report

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#17

“The Grass Is Always Greener”: 40 Stories From Americans Who Decided To Try Living Elsewhere My wife and I have been living in Japan for the past few years (wife's job had a temporary overseas opening). We actually are moving back to the US this year. We love it here.

Living in Japan has been the best time of my life. The language barrier was hard, but we picked up enough to manage. Being outwardly polite as the social norm is really nice. Driving has been also a big change, no one is in a hurry, everything is so chill, and driving in the city wasn't stressful at all (well at least where we live, can't speak for all of Japan). Not looking forward to the craziness of US city drivers when I get back.

We also live right by the beach, so we go snorkeling on the reef all the time in the summer. I'll miss that, and taking a walk on the beach after dinner to watch the sunset with my wife. We realized that we are going to have to retire and live next to the ocean, we never get tired of looking at it.

The main thing I'll probably miss most, besides snorkeling, is the food. It lacks variety that the states has, but it is delicious. There were some local items specifically that are not easily found outside the area, I'll have to bulk buy stuff before I leave.

That being said, it is very apparent we would always be considered outsiders and treated differently, even if we lived here. There is a general mistrust of foreigners that some people have, it has caused a few problems since we arrived.

Japan has its fair share of problems like any other country, and as much as I love it here, I doubt I would actually want to live here permanently.

-PM_me_your_recipes- , Bagus Pangestu Report

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SCamp
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1 month ago (edited) DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Japan is a great country to visit, I love the place, I have lived there, been back and forth multiple times and am culturally tied there but I couldn’t live there for the rest of my life. The OP is right, you’re never quite accepted if you aren’t Japanese and as polite as Japanese are, you are made to feel that quite clearly in a range of ways

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#18

“The Grass Is Always Greener”: 40 Stories From Americans Who Decided To Try Living Elsewhere 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.

ninjaboyninety , Aleksandar Pasaric Report

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MisterE
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1 month ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

I thought only Americans were racist or xenophobic??? Humans are not perfect not matter where you live on planet Earth.

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#19

“The Grass Is Always Greener”: 40 Stories From Americans Who Decided To Try Living Elsewhere My wife and I immigrated from USA to 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!

avsalom , Jack Winbow Report

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Bartlet for World Domination
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1 month ago (edited) DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Check out the Dutch-American Friendship Treaty if you want to come over: start a business in the Netherlands, invest $4800, get a residency permit. Of course I left out some conditions and the paperwork, but that's the gist of it.

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#20

“The Grass Is Always Greener”: 40 Stories From Americans Who Decided To Try Living Elsewhere Living in the Turks & Caicos and can't see myself ever going back to live in the US. Only been off island once in the last 15 years.

lobomago , Nicole Keller Report

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#21

“The Grass Is Always Greener”: 40 Stories From Americans Who Decided To Try Living Elsewhere Been living abroad for 11 years in several countries. Currently in Thailand. It's better in almost every way. I can afford to go to the hospital anytime, food is less processed, I save more money, and no guns = no shootings.

Simple things like dealing with the electric company can be frustrating. Language barriers.

Every country has its drawbacks. I say live where you have the most positive connections(friends/family).

Teachjzy , KIM JINHONG Report

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rullyman
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1 month ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

The inequality is really stark in Thailand, but maybe less so if you're integrated and living there rather than visiting. We stayed at a luxury hotel on Bangkok and tried to find a coin laundry place as the hotel's laundry service was crazy expensive. The one in the neighbourhood had reviews saying that the washing machines stop all the time because of the power grid dropping out. Down by the river you see people living in shacks over the water. I hated having to drink bottled water too because the tap water isn't safe... all that plastic is so wasteful and it's weird to be surrounded by glam skyscrapers and luxury malls but not be able to drink the water

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#22

I moved to New Zealand a year before the pandemic... I consider myself incredibly lucky every single day.

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OnlyMe
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1 month ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

I'm a NZer and I consider myself lucky to be. I've travelled extensively and there are many places i love, but the freedom in NZ is better than anywhere - it's one of the best places in the world to be a woman.

#23

“The Grass Is Always Greener”: 40 Stories From Americans Who Decided To Try Living Elsewhere I’ve lived in Spain for about 9 years now - and it’s wonderful. Spoke (nearly) fluent Spanish before moving, so really never had a problem with the language. Now I feel more comfortable speaking in Spanish than in English, ha. Having “free” (paid for through taxes) healthcare is such a huge difference, but sometimes doctors seem rushed and don’t pay as much attention to you as they should. Even in Spain, the private healthcare system is much, much more effective and comfortable to deal with (at least in my experience). Being vegan, sometimes it’s difficult to find things other than tomato, bread, and simple iceberg lettuce salads in small town bars or restaurants - but the bigger cities are full of more options than I could ever have dreamed of. In the beginning, I had to explain to people time and time again that, no, ham and tuna are not, in fact, vegan.

I miss houses in the middle of countryside that don’t have huge walls around them or bars in the windows.

Since I’m living in the south of the country, I miss wild forests and swimable lakes.

And sometimes I wonder when I’ll stop being looked at as “guiri” - I am not a tourist, never really was since I came here to live. Will people continue speaking to me in English even when I’m an 80 year old grandma and have been living here for around 60 years? So far my solution is just to pretend I don’t understand their English and respond in Spanish, but it’s a little annoying to think that you’ll have to continue explaining where you’re from to people for the rest of your life - especially when most always ask you exactly where but then are confused when they don’t know “New Hampster.”.

alimemouse , JESHOOTS.COM Report

#24

“The Grass Is Always Greener”: 40 Stories From Americans Who Decided To Try Living Elsewhere People assume moving to France has been like going on permanent vacation. Every time I complain about something a friend says, 'but you’re living in France!' I have to remind them that it’s cool, but it's still real life. I have to work just like anybody else. And it’s even harder here because there are fewer jobs available to someone who doesn’t speak French perfectly.

djazzie , Chris Molloy Report

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Melia Janssen
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1 month ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

This applies to most of Europe. If you want to compete equally with a native of the country, you have to be able to speak the country's language fluently, even perfectly. It doesn't matter how great your qualifications are, you'll never get the job you want if your linguistic skills aren't perfect.

#25

Been in Vietnam for over two years now. Amazing country with an incredibly low cost of living. Honestly too many great things to say about it, but I'll list a few:

- the people! The Vietnamese are hardworking, kind, and very open-minded towards foreigners. Many locals will walk up to you at the beach or the park and ask to have a conversation to practice their English. Especially younger Vietnamese, which there are many. It's a very young country.

- very affordable rent (Currently paying $350 a month for a massive one bedroom with a huge balcony and private rooftop)

- AMAZING and incredibly cheap local food, as well as a growing international food scene in all the major cities

- commuting/traveling by motorbike. It's just what you do here, and it's a really fun way to experience a country.

- strong internet (I teach online and the internet has never been a major issue.)

- affordable travel. Flights around the country can be as low as $50 roundtrip. Probably even lower if you book at the right time.



Things I'm still getting used to:

- the language. It's incredibly hard to learn due to it's tonal diversity. One word can mean like 10 different things if the tone is changed on a particular sound or letter.

- the weather. Summers are brutal here. Humidity like I've never felt in my life. Winters can get cold as well in the north, which isn't fun when you're commuting via motorbike

- pollution in certain parts (Hanoi especially). It can almost take your breath away how smoggy the capital of Hanoi can be. Sometimes it's the worst in the world according to pollution index measurements. Let's just say that wearing a mask was pretty common here even before COVID...

- lots of construction in major cities. Of course this isn't a bad thing though. The country is really seeming to boom and rightfully so. Vietnam is going to be a country of the future, no doubt.

anon Report

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Isak Nygren
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1 month ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

I stayed 1.5 year in Vietnam and I can confirm this. However, I prefer Saigon over Hanoi any time.

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#26

“The Grass Is Always Greener”: 40 Stories From Americans Who Decided To Try Living Elsewhere Been living in Taiwan and I feel super safe. I can take my dog out to the park at 1am and never have to worry about getting mugged. Only thing I miss from the US is the food.

uhuhisee , tonny huang Report

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Donkeywheel
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1 month ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Everyone, everywhere, from every country or even sub-division of the country, will miss the food they have been eating since they were young. That’s a deep psychological imprint. But that’s obviously not objective. Some countries definitely have better food than others. And the us is clearly at the bottom of the class.. by the way, talking about diversity makes also no sense. You can find ethnic/cultural food everywhere in the world.

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#27

“The Grass Is Always Greener”: 40 Stories From Americans Who Decided To Try Living Elsewhere I moved to England about 3 years ago and I feel like the only way to describe it is the grass is always greener on the other side. I felt so trapped and bored in America that England felt like the place to be but I think we romanticize places we aren’t from. I do of course, love it here. I love the history that’s literally everywhere, I love the amount of sheep and dogs I’ve seen, and everyone is so kind (albeit not like it is in the south). As Americans we expect to be able to find everything we love in the super market, but you’ll find british equivalents or things just don’t exist (Corn tortillas! Nearly impossible to find and I so took that for granted). There’s always an adjustment period/learning curve and I’m still learning new “English” words everyday at work but overall, it’s been such a good and positive experience.

Hopeful_and_jolly , Dominika Gregušová Report

#28

I moved to Sweden for love 3 years ago (my partner is Swedish).

Things I like
1. The system works so well here. Paying taxes takes no time at all and I’ve had really positive health care experiences. I have an infant and so far, everything from getting in line for daycare to scheduling check ups has been a dream.
2. I’ve learned to appreciate the weather in a whole different way. Sunny? I’m outside. Raining? I’m outside. Snowing? I’m outside. This is true for everyone from toddlers to retirees.
3. Swedes are notoriously hard to get to know but once you have a Swedish friend, they are a real friend.
4. The quality of life here is unmatched in terms of what a normal person can attain. You are encouraged to take all of your vacation days (unlike the US) and even working class people can afford vacations.

Things I dislike
1. I want to preface this by saying that I speak Swedish with a difficult-to-place accent (I’ve heard German, Norwegian or Belgian). Swedes say they are open minded and accepting but I don’t think that’s entirely true. I have been told in interviews for English speaking positions that they’d rather hire a Swede. I know dozens of people who have moved here with doctorates or Masters who work as interns, baristas or warehouse staff. Swedes usually say that it’s because you need a very high level of Swedish to compete in a highly bilingual society. I don’t think that’s true. I think that because Sweden was, up until recently, homogeneous and is still consensus driven, foreigners can be seen as rocking the boat too much.
2. Because of jantelagen, there’s pressure to not stand out. In some ways, this is great because you don’t hear people bragging or trying to one-up each other. However, this means that sometimes, success or excellence is downplayed; my partner won’t tell his parents about his raise or promotion.

Overall, I like living in Sweden and I’ve managed to create a happy, fulfilling life here.

bellster_kay Report

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BoredPossum
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1 month ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Unfortunately Sweden has a political right wing party that has gained voters during some years, and it is more or less openly racist. It wasn't the case 12 years ago, but people have normalised being a$$hats to foreigners.That your partner won't tell his parents of his promotion is not jantelagen. He will in time but he'll wait for when it comes up.

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#29

“The Grass Is Always Greener”: 40 Stories From Americans Who Decided To Try Living Elsewhere We just moved back from Madrid last summer due to covid. We were there for only 2 years but lived in the south of Spain for a year in 2015. I loved it. So much. Yeah it was hard being away from family and spend days I’d think “what am I doing here, this isn’t home” but it did feel like some sort of home. Like some else said on here it’s not perfect but god, the lifestyle was SO much better. Their way of life, cost of living, etc. I think it’s worth mentioning that that might come from a place of privilege. My husband kept his American job so was making American money, and I was working so we were living really well. That’s not common at all and there are a lot of problems in Spain with work (pre covid) and salary. But I think the lifestyle keeps people there. It’s beautiful, most of Europe in general just feels nice to be in. I had my son there, c-section even and didn’t pay anything. Even gave birth at one of the best hospitals there but nope, no bill! If you anyone is ever thinking of moving aboard, just do it! Even if you move back after 3 months bc you miss home, who cares just do it!

Thatonemexicanchick , Jorge Salvador Report

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Notme
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1 month ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Well done for acknowledging your privilege. Yes, Spain has been voted several years in a row as the best place to live… for expats. Like you said, on a s****y Spanish salary (or lack thereof, as unemployment is sky-high) life is just as expensive as anywhere else.

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#30

I think I may be one of the very few that moved to Turkey. I met my wife through a friend who married a Turkish woman. I've been here in Turkey 6 years now. I am a military veteran and spent time overseas and such so I thought things shouldn't be too difficult. My first few years were tough socially and getting adjusted then to top it off we had a failed coup. Now we are having a difficulty time with the economy well before COVID. Financially I am good because of disability compensation through Veterans Affairs. My wife had our son 4 years ago and i quit work to take care of her and him while my wife works. It's been really tough because I worked since i was 14 and enjoy working. I plan on getting my citizenship soon and then maybe get back in to the work force.

As far as the Turkish people and Turkey I cant speak highly enough of their hospitality. I've never had any problems and always treated as family. The landscape is amazing and historical areas are fascinating. The beaches are amazing and seen some of the bluest waters. Food is out of this world. ( Much much more than döner kebaps lol). I am always trying to get friends and family to come visit but everyone is always too nervous about it.

mikloh78 Report

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#31

Moved to Sydney Australia from Chicago back in 2017.

Sydney is much like a big US city. Fast paced, tons of traffic, great shopping and tons of great food. I think some things people don’t think of when they hear Australia is that it’s actually very diverse here. The ethnic population is something around 40% in Sydney (I believe). There are McDonald’s, Subway, Hungry Jacks (Burger King), and massive shops like Kmart, Big W, Target so my point is that it’s very similar feel to living in the US.

The biggest difference is the pace is slower here. People appreciate their time off and actually use vacation time, called PTO here. It’s the opposite mentality from the US where you’re seen as loyal and hard working if you’re burning the midnight oil, where in Sydney for the most part, we go home at 5 so we can actually enjoy our lives and not worry so much. Don’t get me wrong, working late happens but there is much more value on your quality of life in Australia compared to the US.

Downside is that most shops close at 5 pm but you can still find the big box stores open until 8 pm if you really need something.

The mall culture is huge here. Most of my shopping is done in a mall and you park underground a lot of the time. Just something that I wasn’t used to with Walmart and massive parking lot, you don’t see that in Sydney.

The cost of living here is much higher though. Property is a premium and our 3 br townhouse was purchased for $1.5m, but you do make more wages here so it evens out a little.

Best is that you don’t have to worry about medical bills for the most part. I still have private health insurance but if just want to go to the dr when I’m sick or break my arm it’s pretty much taken care of by Medicare, although we are taxed higher than in the US. Still nice to not have so many worries about it.


Covid doesn’t exist, no masks except for a random few that’s extra careful. We are actually just given $100 each citizen to use on restaurants, movies, travel so help stimulate the economy, which is awesome.

Last, on the news you never hear of gun violence ever. No guns here. There are “bashings” here and there, like a robbery, but mostly very peaceful and news stories are typically more uplifting of focused on something stupid like a corrupt building owner or something like that. Nice to not have to hear about constant gun murders.

Come visit when you can! Weather is in the 70s-80s most of the year and the coldest is about 55 or so. Beaches are stunning and we love to have big nights out and get “pissed” (drunk). Oh and gambling is huge here, pokies and betting places everywhere if you’re into that.

Cheers!

stackchi32 Report

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Tucker Cahooter
Community Member
1 month ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Not true that Covid doesn't exist; we had the pandemic just like everywhere else. Big difference is that our politicians listened to the recommendations of the medical advisors to try to limit the spread

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#32

I'm not the one who moved, but I live in Serbia and I've met numerius people from the US who came to Belgrade, Serbia either for professional reasons or they stumbled upon Belgrade in their travels, and amazingly, they all stayed.

Most of them have got married, have children... They are all happy, even more than that, they are amazed by the way of life here. Which is really surprising for most of us here, as no Serb will ever tell you they're happy living here, unfortunately.

The most interesting thing which is recurring pretty much every time I've spoken with an American living here is they mention they enjoy the "real freedom" of living here and the people. I've probably heard the exact term "real freedom" from three or four different people. This is interesting to me because the US boasts of being the land of freedom. Having never been in the US, I guess these expats seem to believe the freedom there is somewhat artifical?

I don't know, I wouldn't really say we have real freedom here in the sense of true democratic processes, but they seemingly mean the freedom of expression and living life your own way. I don't know, just found that very curious.

Dandoliki Report

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Brandon Parisien
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1 month ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

America is about 15th on the freedom index; politicians and the media tell you they rank 1st.

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#33

If you don't want to miss Costco, move to Australia. Pretty good other than being so far from everything, and too many people emulating America, the good and the bad. You be you Australia, or just copy it and make it better!

projectkennedymonkey Report

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Pamela Bracken
Community Member
1 month ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

I moved from San Francisco, California to Australia over 40 years ago. We now have a Costco, FYI. No regrets. Miss my people & some food....but will never go back. Best decision I've ever made.

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#34

I lived in Switzerland for 5 years and Singapore for 2 (and now a digital nomad who’s been living in roatan, Honduras for 3 months).

You miss the convenience of America and the fact that you can get literally anything you want whenever you want it. You also miss being able to rely on the power/internet working (obviously, this is a Honduras problem and not a Switzerland/Singapore problem). That said, it’s nice to be insulated from the many problems in the USA as well as your new adopted home, as well as to experience a new culture/language/way of doing things.

glwillia Report

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#35

Living in France and the cheapness and availability of healthcare is insane. When i first moved here i didnt believe my friends who told me that going to the doctor without insurance is 25€ for everyone...

Sunshine_gnome Report

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Geoffrey Scott
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1 month ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Our exchange student's parents came over (US) to see her "graduate". Got along well, with them and TRIED to learn Danish as much as possible. Speaking with her Dad, told him I admired their society very much and wished the US could emulate their social safety nets. His reply "You have to watch them ( politicians) every minute". Oh well, a guy can dream can't he? ..Not gonna happen with our unplugged citizenry.

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#36

“The Grass Is Always Greener”: 40 Stories From Americans Who Decided To Try Living Elsewhere I moved from the US to the UK 12 years ago. I have had an immensely hard time fitting in and finding friends. I firmly believe I will never truly be anything but a novelty here. Isolation is a huge problem for me here.

mrsbunnyrabbit , Keenan Constance Report

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Verena
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1 month ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

In many European countries it is normal to do volunteer work and being member of a hobby club (sports, music, acting, handicrafts, ...). OP doesn't even face a language barrier. In Europe it is usually the "new one" introducing themselves to the community. The easiest is to join a club and do volunteer work at your place. It is easy, because you have a task. Much easier for an introvert than these expat-smalltalk-networking-events, where you only will meet other expats. In a club or volunteering you will meet like-minded people, which become acquaintances over time and friends. You immediately get to know people to ask questions. And make fun of one of your nicer home stereotypes and get good at it. I am German and known as the meticulous one. Guess who they ask for translations.

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#37

“The Grass Is Always Greener”: 40 Stories From Americans Who Decided To Try Living Elsewhere It's technically moving abroad but feels more like moving to a second home. I started living in South Korea after I graduated university, which was around the beginning of 2012. Both my parents are Korean, but my mom received her US citizenship while my dad always worked in Korea, sending money to the US. So there was this weird reunion when my family somehow all ended up being together again, except this time in Korea. And it's sort of been this way ever since.

It's good here, but I seriously miss America at times. The food, the multicultural atmosphere, the people. Everything. I often get nostalgic. I got married last year and things have gotten interesting, but there are some very Korean things I can't get over. I still really like it here, of course, and it definitely feels less like I moved to another country and more that I moved to an extension of what I'd call home.

eldakim , Pixabay Report

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#38

“The Grass Is Always Greener”: 40 Stories From Americans Who Decided To Try Living Elsewhere I have loved ex-pat life. I've been abroad for almost a decade now, mostly living in China and Korea, and I've really enjoyed the new cultures, experiences, and people I've met. For me the hardest part is not the isolation, but the fact that so many of the close friends I do make move so often. Ex-pat life can be very fluid as people come and go. On the whole, however, daily life is not so different than it was back home. I wake up, go to work, exercise, and go home. The weekends can be a bit more exciting and the travel opportunities are much better than being back home in the states.

deleted , Brett Sayles Report

#39

“The Grass Is Always Greener”: 40 Stories From Americans Who Decided To Try Living Elsewhere I have been living in Switzerland but am moving back to the US in a month due to three main factors: Better job opportunities, a language barrier, and social integration. I think everyone fantasizes about how great it is to move from the US, but they totally overlook the challenge of social integration and a worse job market. The US has one of the best job markets in the world, and I think that's overlooked. Although I make more money in Switzerland, the growth opportunities here can be limited. Worker's rights, though...that's another story.

xenaga , H. Emre Report

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Verena
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1 month ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Disagree on the job market. There are tons of very good jobs available in Europe. However, with Switzerland not being a member of the EU, they are harder to approach. Switzerland is very unique in several ways, especially with foreigners wanting to stay. In this every ctizen of a neighbouring country would face the same challenges.

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#40

“The Grass Is Always Greener”: 40 Stories From Americans Who Decided To Try Living Elsewhere I’m an American who moved to Russia (Saint Petersburg) about 5 years ago and I can say that it’s been amazing. Sure, there are a few things at home that I miss such as the food and the warm, sunny Florida weather but on the whole, not that much. Keep in mind that Saint Petersburg life is a lot difficult to small town life.

The good:
The public transport here is great. I say great, what I mean is that it isn’t a steaming pile of s**t like America’s public transport. It costs me less than a dollar to take the train the city center from where I live or to take any bus anywhere. There’s trams quite often and the metro is cheap too. My phone and internet bills together are about $12, I can walk to literally anything in my city if I want to. Night life is everywhere downtown. It feels like once Friday and Saturday night roll around, you can just continually walk around the center and find places to hang out that are good and fun. It’s super cheap to go to Europe, especially Estonia or Finland.

The less good:
People are less friendly than in america. It’s seems very common for people to try to cut you in line if they see any opening at all. People seem to be totally unaware of personal space in public places and smoking seems to be the national sport.

longboardingerrday , Сергей Велов Report