That said, I've found that living in other countries does have its down sides. The one that's bothered me most is being treated like a second-class citizen. In the countries I've been to, I've often felt like an outsider, or a cash machine, or a target. If you don't speak the language, you're usually treated even worse.
Those experiences have really given me a much stronger sense of empathy for how immigrants and other foreigners are treated in my own country, but has also made living in my own country feel a lot safer and more desirable.
I haven't given up on travel, and still like to do so to expand my horizons and experience places that are really different, but I really think twice about just jumping up and permanently moving somewhere else. Most expats can't take it long-term, and wind up moving back after a while. It's a rare breed who can move to a radically different country and remain -- unless, of course, they feel they have no other choice.
In order of feeling accepted:
- United States
Those are the countries where I've spent more than just a few months cumulatively, though I never actually had a permanent residence in the United States (I did have an American "Inc" and spent lots of time there). Even to this day I have more friends abroad than in the country I was born in (and where I live).
And moving back here was a mixed bag, for one the Canadian paperwork took forever (we really felt that Canadian government was taking advantage of us and stringing us along), for another there was serious concern about the quality of the education in the place where we lived.
As long as you think of yourself as an 'expat' rather than as an 'immigrant' you're on the wrong track.
"here" meaning the Netherlands; is that not so?
This is not the case. You have to make sure you have insurance or the government will fine you. But if you were unable to get insurance for whatever reason, you still don't have insurance.
And Obamacare premiums are not small and the insurance is not very good.
The worst conforming ACA plans are essentially the catastrophic insurance that people think they are clamoring for; they are expensive because health care costs in the US are spiraling out of control. It could be that people actually want plans with a bunch of complicated limitations and limits, but I doubt it.
Just an anecdote, but I have not found this to be the case at all, and I'd figure I'd offer an example of one such "clamorer who thinks he wants catastrophic plans" to balance the discussion.
Prior to ACA I was on a "catastrophic" plan (despite being able to afford something much more comprehensive). I think the "catastrophic" term is kind of dumb, and I'd instead call it "actually-insurance, not a prepaid health subscription".
The premium was around $95/month and I spent maybe another ~$1k/year on medications and office visits. I was totally satisfied with this health coverage and never felt I had to limit my access to health care because of my plan.
As soon as ACA rolled around I tried to find the most similar plan I could (mine was discontinued despite promises to the contrary).
1) I couldn't get as high a deductible, so I was forced to pay for risk-reduction I didn't want. In an absolutely life-threatening 1%-of-insurees catastrophe, my family can absorb say $25k/year out of pocket so I see no reason to insure against that financial risk.
2) The first year my premium was $180, then $220, then $260. I did not save any money on medications or office visits (if anything it got more expensive, but that may also just be a general trend in US health costs).
So post-ACA my insurance premium cost has nearly tripled, and the product I considered satisfactory before is simply not available on the market.
In summary: people can rationally prefer pre-ACA catastrophic plans, and post-ACA such options are not available.
Government can merely redistribute its tax earnings, often in extremely corrupt and wasteful ways. It does not create wealth on its own.
Been there, done that.
It's not a matter of the expected values, it's a matter of their distribution. The fact that you're making 3x as much doesn't change the fact that if you're unlucky for whatever reason you'll be in debt for the rest of your life.
Snopes describes the report you're probably talking about as "extremely misleading": https://www.snopes.com/fact-check/united-states-lower-death-...
On a side note, the NHS crisis worries me a lot, but I’m thinking it must be better than no public health care at all, right?
Never heard working out in America.
In Germany no problem...
Which allows you to live in a small Appartement outside the city and still have like 400€.
If you are not an alcoholic or smoke you can live a good live. And. Have free and good health insurance.
Source: my mom is in exactly that situation. Pension is only 600, state ups it to 800. She needs to move to a smaller appointment to live now. But she is now some without kids and stuff. No need for a big two or three room apartment.
I know it is sad for old people to move. ( I see it with my mom)
But in live you grow and later you shrink ( home size, income etc etc) it's normal circle of life.
I bet I will be sad when I need to move out of my three room Appartement.
If something happens, my medical insurance pays for most, and then past that I spend down my emergency fund from taxable employment income and start drawing un-garnishable private disability insurance.
In our travels the one thing we have found is that medical tourism is becoming a better known option to Americans. I've met doctors and surgeons who keep a small office in Miami for consultation but the operations are done in Colombia, Brazil or Mexico.
Anytime I see a batsh*t crazy headline? Florida. Check the articles you see from now on and you'll notice a pattern.
So to all the internationals: if you like the US but not its extremes, definitely don't move to Florida.
A significant portion of your observation can likely be attributed to reporting bias: it's easy/cheap for a journalist to browse the website of their local Florida police department. In another jurisdiction, that same story might involve: hiring an investigative journalist, spending 3 months, and fighting to have a FOIA request honoured.
I don't think one needs to try to make a place work for them. Sure you can try and adapt. But ultimately most people reading this have the option to live elsewhere. Don't be afraid to take the chance.
Apart from the obvious (weather etc), it's even hard to say. The city just feels harsh to me. One of the things that I first noticed when I moved here was how it's uncommon to find places to sit when you're out and about. If you're out all day you can't just sit in some bench and rest a bit because they're virtually non-existent. You have to go into a coffee shop. I think it's loads of tiny things like that.
Maybe that wasn't very convincing...
EDIT: Of course also the rents. I'm lucky enough that I have big windows to the park, but I'm paying an absurd fortune. The alternative is moving to the periphery where I have to spend 1 hour on the tube each way and when I go home I'm worring that I'm gonna get stabbed.
You just usually need to get off the high street.
Having options is good, and it is fairly easy for American entrepreneurs to move to Europe (Germany works if you have enough backing and a good plan) or back again if they decide that's what is best for them.
Healthcare is definitely a factor and so is the climate but when you're young and working hard neither of those will likely move the needle much (but healthcare is a bit of a lottery in the longer term).
The paranoia angle wouldn't factor in for most people, though I can see how if you are prone to that that it will affect you.
If you're an entrepreneur and you wish to address the largest single market on the planet (one language, one currency) with your start-up the USA is probably the place to be if you can get in in an easy way. If not then the EU is likely your best bet but it will be substantially harder to address the EU market than the American one. You might even get a neat balance if you lived in Europe but treated your start-up like an American entity from day one.
Having said that, in many cases language is not that big of an issue - for example, if you're doing software as a service, or mobile apps, doing them in english, gives you access to the global market from the day one.
An interesting case is Fintech/Crypto - over there it makes a big difference where you begin, US and EU legal/financial systems being so different. In US, you have the advantage of the language uniformity, but in EU, arguably, the law is much more uniform between the countries - if you get a financial license to run in one of the countries, it allows you to operate in all of them. Also, the laws are uniform, although their execution isn't.
Where US really shines is anything physical (e.g. consumer electronics), and anything local (AirBnB, Meetup.com, and so on) - with these, people expect the service to be in their local language, but I feel it's less and less every year.
What we do have is corruption, and lots of it in some places, again, less so in others. The various countries in the Union are at least as different from each other as the American states.
While LV heat is much dryer than Florida's, I hope to never live where it gets so hot ever again. I would push myself to fight the heat and be outside in spite of it, but there's only so much fight.
Only a few, select zip codes have decent air quality in LV. Where I worked, on the strip, mixed disgusting air quality with the highest heat in the valley.
Everywhere you go the sun will beat down on you, the air will offer no comfort, and there will be no shade.
I lived in a fine apartment in a fine area (with mansions and golf courses nearby). The cops nonetheless shot and killed the occupant in the apartment immediately above me one night - while I was in my apartment downstairs. He deserved it, too, but that doesn't change my perception of the violence in LV. A woman was hit and killed by a car just outside of the complex one weekend. I worked on the strip the night of the Oct 1 shooting massacre, too. But that's just the tip of the violence problem in LV. People treat one another with so much contempt and hostility in everyday life there. They will actually come up to you, tell you they do not like you, and that they will do everything they can to destroy you. And they will do it often. You will probably have never met this person before their threat, and have done nothing to earn their hate.
I had mixed experiences with doctors there. I had doctors tell me they did not believe I had the symptoms I described - because I'm a guy. But I also finally got a chronic condition under control with a doctor there, too. Of course, that doctor will still, to this day, suggest we stop treatment at the slightest misstatement from me. Financially though, I once had a doctor send my bill to collections before ever actually billing me. Within days of treatment his collections agency contacted me - as though I were a problem patient. Then, years back, a gastroenterologist was found sharing medical supplies between patients. I forget the numbers, but he gave many people HIV/hepatitis/etc that way.
It took a long time after the great recession for LV to recover. I'm sure it will not fare well during the next recession.
You’re essentially gambling that you won’t be struck by a finance destroying health crisis for a long enough time that you’ll come out ahead overall. But when you think about the fact that 35-40% of people develop cancer in their lifetimes, or the “financial death by a thousand procedures” described in the post, that seems unlikely, at least for a good portion of people.
It's complicated. Broadly speaking, it's an even split between:
1. Icelands software industry being considerably more vibrant than Australias, which is really sad for Aus.
2. Australias government increasingly intervening directly in it's citizens lives whether they like it or not. The Icelandic government is pretty hands off, þetta reddast etc.
3. Icelanders have no idea what the word "heat" really means. They've never under-clocked their computers to keep them stable during summer. I'll take Icelandic winter over Australia summer any day of the week.
It's been hard, but I wouldn't take back my decision, no way. Any one of those reasons is good enough for me.
We're living in the first age in human history where you can really just pick up all your shit and straight up move to the opposite side of the planet, no dramas. I paid ~$8,000AUD to some dudes, they rocked up at my place with a truck full of boxes and paper and wrapped up literally the entire house and drove off. Three months later some other dudes showed up at my new place in Reykjavik and unboxed everything for me. 8k isn't nothing, but it's not unreachable either, and I also paid for the full service move. Easiest move I ever did, but you could probably do it for half the price if you packed yourself.
Out of the whole planet, what're the odds that you were born in the place that suits you best? It's definitely worth shopping around.
Residence permits won't get processed while you're in the country as a tourist, so you apply from outside the country and wait. There are no language requirements as long as someone is willing to hire you. To get a residence permit you need to meet the quality of "support", which broadly means either approximately $22,000 in savings per year of your permit OR payslips demonstrating a monthly income that meets $22,000/yr OR an employment contract from an Icelandic company.
If you go the employment route, you need a work permit. For software, this is usually done on the basis of "expert knowledge". The company usually needs to demonstrate that they're unable to hire a schengen zone citizen to do your job (otherwise you're not expert enough I guess?), and then issue you with a contract that you submit to the directorate of immigration. That's relatively informal though, and mostly means the company needs to advertise in Iceland first and show that it interviewed candidates and they weren't suitable. Iceland is heavily unionized and your work permit will need a stamp of approval from a relevant union. The first time you request this the union will want to see your qualifications. I strongly suggest becoming a member of that union to smooth things over when you get it renewed every one or two years. Iceland is charmingly small-town corrupt like that.
All Icelanders under ~60 speak flawless English, and it's pretty common for Icelanders under 30 to interleave English words into Icelandic sentences in cases where there isn't a good Icelandic word. Unless the company you apply to works heavily with Icelandic language products, it's unlikely that speaking only English would be a barrier to employment.
As for getting the job itself, Iceland is /desperate/ for good programmers. The cost of living is high, the wages are low, and the local universities don't have fabulous software degrees. It's hard for Icelandic companies to hire good programmers. If you want to come to Iceland and you have a qualification, it may not be that hard. However, I suggest visiting for a holiday in June and again in February, to see what this country is really like. If you don't love it as a place to live, you won't stay long.
This might be a good place to start looking: https://www.tvinna.is/
 My friends tell me that slightly pre-banking-crisis, all the universities reformed their software degrees to churn out low level CRUD app webdevs to make lots of web apps for the high flying Icelandic banks. When the banks all crashed, Iceland became awash with relatively inflexible developers, and the universities haven't really refocused their coursework much, so the standard of graduates is, I am told, still relatively poor.
To offer some data for Sydney, Google has of course been around a while, Google Maps is based out of Australia. Atlassian is hiring as much as ever. Amazon has been growing at a rapid clip here in Sydney (I wish I could disclose numbers publicly!) and we have offices in Melbourne and Brisbane, and Microsoft is in the process of opening a dev centre in Sydney right now as well. Still a long ways to go but it's much better than even a few years ago.
What exactly do you mean? And is it Australian government or individual state ones?
A few years ago, the federal government dissolved the Australian Customs and Border Protection Service, which checked peoples passports and asked them stern questions about the suspicious grass dolls they bought in Vietnam. If you did something really stupid, a customs officer might point a pistol at you.
They replaced it with the Australian Border Force, who despite formally not being a military force (how-dare-you-suggest-it-you-unaustralian-piece-of-shit-do-we-need-to-check-your-passport) are armed with the same Steyr AUG assault rifles that are used by the Australian Army and very much like to show them off at all public appearances.
Within literally less than a month of it's formation the government attempted to deploy this new department, which is under unusually direct control of parliament for an armed force in Australia, to spot check for expired visas on the streets of Melbourne. Fortunately, we never got to find out how the Aussie Stazi were going to tell the difference between visitors and normal Australians. Australians are not required to carry ID and due to our wonderful melting pot of cultures cannot always be distinguished by accent. As it happened, Melbourne did us proud and brought the city to a halt in protest:
Meanwhile, in my home state, a new government has just been elected on the back of an unironic campaign promise to deploy sniffer dogs in schools to ensure children don't have drugs:
https://strongplan.com.au/first-100-days/ (ctrl-f "sniffer dogs")
One of the reasons I left Australia is that I am expecting them to close the borders and start granting exit visas within the next 5-10 years. They've already successfully used "won't someone think of the children" to establish precedent for denying people freedom to exit the country: https://www.nytimes.com/2017/12/13/world/australia/pedophile...
The next step will be expanding it to preventing people with "dangerous ideas" from "embarrassing Australia and endangering our neighbors". I expect to see vocal anti-vaxxer proponents denied permission to travel within about 3 years. It'll creep from there.
Basically what's happening is that Australia is sick to death of its two identical political parties, and they're both losing support rapidly in both state and federal governments. Understandably, neither one is willing to accept that it might just not be wanted by the new generation, so both are grasping for provable victories they can display like trophies at elections. This has resulted in huge tax increases on booze and cigarettes, burdensome increases in the difficulty of teenagers getting drivers licenses and reductions in the utility of those licenses, sweeping surveillance and data retention laws, attempts to criminalize the teaching of encryption algorithms, big increases in security theater at airports and a litany of other annoyances.
Mostly I want the government to just fuck off and leave me alone, but it won't play ball. So I fucked off instead.
edit: Thanks for the compliment by the way :) I really do forget my manners on the internet!
edit: If you've got keybase, you can add me with user "arkaroo". Otherwise, what's a good way to get in contact?
At the other end of the spectrum, if you don't have health insurance, you will be bankrupted by the slightest medical emergency. You'll get care, but the doctors generally won't care about you. Oftentimes you end up going to hospitals that are poorer, with more overworked nursing staff that more frequently make mistakes. Even having private health insurance these days or a HDHP from a smaller organization still is a much lower level of service, with much higher amounts paid out of pocket. When I left Google I bought a private individual plan from Anthem, the same insurer I had at Google; despite it being the same company, my existing doctor wouldn't take the new plan, and I couldn't even see the same doctor I'd just waltzed in to see on Google's plan without paying $400 out of pocket or so.
Much of Obamacare's achievement and Obamacare's pain comes from being an attempt to spread the misery around, so that we don't have a caste system for healthcare in the U.S. It's meant that 20-30M people who were previously unable to see doctors at all now have basic health care, but it's also meant that many people for whom health care used to be completely covered, free, now have to pay something close to the real cost of their care, and they're finding out just how much the experience sucked for the rest of America.
So statistically speaking chances are that you'll find yourself on that 'other end of the spectrum'.
You are not a statistic. Evaluate your expected experience accordingly.
A good example is cancer. Cutting edge cancer drugs are pretty universally covered by both public and private insurance, right after FDA approval.
In Canada it can take years before the gov't agrees to pay for it and sometimes they say "no".
"It's crazy that I live in Canada, but now I'm looking at having to sell my house for coverage of my medication."
When I had to enter my kid into a lottery system and cross my fingers he'd end up in a good school, I certainly considered it.
Canada's not too far away.
(Allowing a person to become stateless is illegal if I remember correctly, but my memory's ever-so-slightly fuzzy around this topic.)
I would love to live in Estonia, if not for the weather, and the loooong winters.
Hard to solve this puzzle, I guess.
And, like the article says, you have options. For anybody still on the fence, I can't recommend leaving the UK enough.
2016 year of the chav.
The ethnocentrism is prevalent in US startup culture as well, it is overwhelmingly white and Asian with Hispanics and African-Americans being left out. Underprivileged minorities face steep challenges in the tech industry, almost regardless of geographical location.
2. The entire European pie is roughly 25% of the US.
3. That's racism and it's a problem in the EU too, albeit less recognized. The ethnocentrism is an additional, different one (and it only amplifies racism). It's the way European national identities are defined mostly along ethnic and linguistic lines. American culture and identity is 100x more universalist than the European ones. This means not only will people have a harder time seeing you as one of them, you'll also have a harder time seeing yourself as one.
France and Italy as two very large countries stand out, the former because it's very closed up culturally, the second because it's not in a good shape politically.
I won't deny that the US has a more open culture (having experienced both myself as a German citizen who has worked in the US) but the gap is not so large any more that the generalisation is valid without qualifications.
Sure, there are many nice cosmopolitan cities in Europe. If you want to get a few year-long stint doing whatever - not a problem.
What happens once you get children? Are you going to send them to a local school and have them grow up speaking a language you hardly know? If you're Jewish aren't you going to worry about your children getting hurt? If you're an Arab aren't you going to worry about your children being othered? If you're not a Christian, can you fully practice your religion? (i.e. some European countries ban kosher slaughter, there are plans to ban circumcision, burqa bans, Poland just made talking about some parts of the Holocaust illegal). How certain are you an EU citizenship will mean a thing in 10, 20 years? How strong are your property rights? For how long has your European country of choice been a safe, welcoming place?
For some people these aren't big problems, that's okay. For those that do worry about these, they aren't being picky or unreasonable. US is simply a better, safer deal.
"Europe" is essentially meaningless as an identification of a place you live. The difference in culture, society and lifestyle between, say, Athens, Bucharest and Inverness is pretty extensive. There are of course some elements of shared culture, but there are also a whole bunch of different lifestyles.
The same applies in the US to some extent, though of course a common language and federal government homogenises the country much more.
(I could also be less kind and write: don't feed the troll.)