Friday, August 26, 2011

6 Reasons Your Plans to Move Abroad Will Be Fine

So I've had a few people send me this Cracked article about why moving abroad is about as fun as a barrel of dead monkeys. I mean, this is Cracked, people. You probably aren't going to cite this as a source on that term paper you're rushing to finish, unless you're trying to see if your professor is paying attention.

Got that? It's Cracked. Sometimes funny. Sometimes offensive. Not a "reliable source". They exaggerate for humorous effect. That's their job.

The article lists six reasons why your plans to move abroad will fail, so let's look at what the reasons are.

#6: The People There Probably Don't Want You

In short, turns out that all foreigners are a bunch of anti-immigrant bigots, waiting to stab you in the eye with a fork.

Not true. Yes, you will encounter them. Yes, you will encounter them more if you don't try to appreciate the culture or if you're a jackass. I've had people in the US tell me that they hate atheists but "you're OK".  Seems once you get to know someone, it's a different ballgame. So you might encounter a few anti-immigrant bigots who can't get over their prejudices, but it's been my experience that this is the exception rather than the rule. In fact, as I tend to read a lot about expat issues, it seems many other expats have the same experience.

#5. Their Governments Don't Want You, Either

OK, there's a bit of truth to this one. Frankly, many governments simply can't afford to open the floodgates of immigration. For example, while the UK tends to be extremely anti-immigrant (and they can be damned offensive about it at times), if they simply let everyone in, they would quickly be overrun. That's the sad reality of the world today. As a result, immigrants who can fill roles that locals cannot fill are the first ones governments let in. They have to have some immigration policy in place.

#4. Other Countries Treat Illegal Immigrants Worse Than America

I have no data on this one. I should read up about it, but since I focus on legal immigration, I can't comment.

#3. What You Hate About America, You Find Everywhere

Hah! Hah hah hah! Snort! Hah!

That's hilarious.

What I hate about America is a society in which the slightest suggestion that our government can help my fellow human being means that half the damned population thinks I'm some form of Satanic Communist Baby Eater. What I hate about America is a society which has rejected compromise in favor of an apocalyptic fight to the ideological death. What I hate about America is a society in which people who've never seen another country (much less lived in one) arrogantly talk about how awful those other countries must be.

No, what I hate about America, I don't find in Europe.

Of course, what I love about America, I don't find it in Europe either: tasty Mexican food.

(I'm kidding, of course. There are plenty of great things about the US, but that's not what people come to this blog to read about)

#2. Adapting Will Be Harder Than You Can Imagine

OK, the author nailed this one.

#1. You Will Likely Just Hang Out With Other Americans

Well, I can't speak for other expats, but there are no Americans I've regularly hung out with since I've moved from the US. I've met a couple now and then, but I simply don't do this. And it's not even a matter of conscious choice.

Maybe this will be more true if you hang out in cultures which are further from US culture than I've experienced, but so what? Do we object to China town? Why should the Chinese object to America town? There's nothing wrong with appreciating your own culture and wanting to spend time with those who also appreciate it.


  1. Although it has nothing to do with wanting to help your fellow human beings, I'm pretty sure you are a Satanic Communist Baby Eater. :-)

  2. Getting the thorn of #3 out of my life (as I sit here in America) would make all the other hardships worthwile (or so I believe). I suspect this is what all those applicants you spoke with at OSKON who were interested in working abroad were thinking. There are a lot of folks here who not only 1) have had it with this, but who 2) see it the number one reason why this country is serious decline.