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Why move to the US?

Why move to the US?

Old Oct 2nd 2012, 5:27 pm
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Default Why move to the US?

I have to say I always wonder why people are so keen on moving to the US.

I have a friend who lives in a developed country far away and she is all excited because it looks as though her visa is going to be approved and she'll be able to move to Los Angeles.

My response being, why? You have plenty of money, you earned it where you are, the place you live has decent weather - what's the point? How are you better off? "Oooh, the shops are better."

So you can live in a country with massive unemployment, crumbling infrastructure, epic debt levels, an overpriced healthcare "system" that is a mess, a lowly ranked education system, a dysfunctional government etc.

Heard of mail order?

Are people still naive enough to think it's going to be like Baywatch?

I can kind of understand it if you have friends or family there (which I do) or you've been offered some fantastic job but there seem to be an awful lot of people who just want to live there for an unspecific or rather trivial reason.

I blame American media for brainwashing everyone. I suppose living in Canada we get all the US national and local news too which puts the US in a more realistic light. But there is this thing called: "the web" nowadays.

Grass is greener on the other side syndrome.

Last edited by Steve_; Oct 2nd 2012 at 5:29 pm.
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Old Oct 2nd 2012, 5:44 pm
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Default Re: Why move to the US?

I'm going to stick my neck out slightly here. I think there are three (main) reasons people come on BE looking to move to America:

1) They believe that moving here will result in a better life and allow them to live the 'American Dream' (Whatever that is!) and look for any opportunity to come over

2) They've fallen in love with an American and want to move here to be together

3) Work has presented an opportunity they couldn't turn down to come and live in the US

I actually far prefer life here to life in the UK but the reasons why are not exactly simple. It's certainly a lot more expensive than it appears to be from the outside. I've often wondered from reading people's comments on here if people who come over for work (3) are happier than those that come for reasons (1) or (2) because it was completely in their control to move or not move and they were presumably presented a good offer to do so. Of course, it's never as simple as that and I'm not saying people shouldn't come for reason (2) or even (1) if they want to, I'm just curious if coming over to a good job relieves some of the stress and anxiety.

Last edited by Bink; Oct 2nd 2012 at 6:14 pm. Reason: clarification and because I can't spell
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Old Oct 2nd 2012, 5:53 pm
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Default Re: Why move to the US?

For me the reason is exceedingly simple - I have fallen in love with an American. (2) from the list above - and this is the only way essentially to be together.

In terms of moving I have actually always fancied Canada and have a significant amount of Canadian relatives, and indeed spent some time growing up there.
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Old Oct 2nd 2012, 6:08 pm
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Default Re: Why move to the US?

I think some people come for an adventure. If the opportunity of a move falls into your lap, like it did for us, if you don't give it a go, you would always think "what if?" We always said we would give it 1 year and go back if we didn't like it, at least we would have given it a go and if we had returned, been happy knowing that we had tried something different.
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Old Oct 2nd 2012, 6:42 pm
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Default Re: Why move to the US?

Originally Posted by Steve_ View Post
I have to say I always wonder why people are so keen on moving to the US.

I have a friend who lives in a developed country far away and she is all excited because it looks as though her visa is going to be approved and she'll be able to move to Los Angeles.

My response being, why? You have plenty of money, you earned it where you are, the place you live has decent weather - what's the point? How are you better off? "Oooh, the shops are better."

So you can live in a country with massive unemployment, crumbling infrastructure, epic debt levels, an overpriced healthcare "system" that is a mess, a lowly ranked education system, a dysfunctional government etc.

Heard of mail order?

Are people still naive enough to think it's going to be like Baywatch?

I can kind of understand it if you have friends or family there (which I do) or you've been offered some fantastic job but there seem to be an awful lot of people who just want to live there for an unspecific or rather trivial reason.

I blame American media for brainwashing everyone. I suppose living in Canada we get all the US national and local news too which puts the US in a more realistic light. But there is this thing called: "the web" nowadays.

Grass is greener on the other side syndrome.
The grass is just a different shade of green.

People come here for all sorts of reasons all of which, presumably, justify the decision to come for them.

I think most people realize that is most certainly not Baywatch or anything like it. You get up in the morning and, for the most part, you go to work; just like pretty much everyone else.

The big difference, for me, is when we get home, we spend most of our time outside, in the sunshine. That of itself, was not enough of a reason to come but it certainly helped the decision.

Another cold, wet, miserable winter in the UK or sunshine here? Another wet weekend stuck indoors or a day at the beach? Put those together with the other reasons to come and it was a no-brainer - which is good, according to my wife, as I have no brain.
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Old Oct 2nd 2012, 6:42 pm
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Default Re: Why move to the US?

Because for me it was

never being told I could not do something I wanted to do

never being told I did not come from the right background (social class)

never again having to listen to the teacher laugh at my best friend when my friend said he wanted to become a commercial airline pilot

never being told I did not go the right school

never being told I missed my chance to get higher education

never being looked down upon because of my working class background

never having to listen to that tripe about one's station in life or lot

and so on, I could go on.

Mind you I have been in the USA for > 30 years and I suspect attitudes in the UK have changed some
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Old Oct 2nd 2012, 7:48 pm
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Default Re: Why move to the US?

I must admit it's puzzling when people come on BE saying it's their lifelong dream to live in the US, even though they actually know nothing about it.

Can't really knock them though, we fell for the brilliant PR job the US does ourselves.

Some days it seems like the whole place is literally falling apart.
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Old Oct 2nd 2012, 7:54 pm
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Default Re: Why move to the US?

Originally Posted by N1cky View Post
I think some people come for an adventure. If the opportunity of a move falls into your lap, like it did for us, if you don't give it a go, you would always think "what if?" We always said we would give it 1 year and go back if we didn't like it, at least we would have given it a go and if we had returned, been happy knowing that we had tried something different.
This is true for me. I said that I couldn't turn down the opportunity because I'd have always have regretted not trying it.
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Old Oct 2nd 2012, 8:00 pm
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Default Re: Why move to the US?

Originally Posted by COSPhil View Post
For me the reason is exceedingly simple - I have fallen in love with an American. (2) from the list above - and this is the only way essentially to be together.

In terms of moving I have actually always fancied Canada and have a significant amount of Canadian relatives, and indeed spent some time growing up there.
Pretty similar here, i've always liked the idea of living in Canada. But yeah, likewise I'd fall under category 2.

Although I dont mind living in England, the state of the country doesn't particularly inspire me either. That's not a 'it's going to the dogs' attitude, nor is it a 'the grass in America is soo much greener' one, it just happens that the situation of things here doesn't particularly inspire me, and the girl I love lives in America. If she was from Canada or Japan or somewhere else, I'd have given the same answer just with that country's name instead (although ive always liked the idea of Canada).

There's definitely things I prefer about the UK though, be good to be able to take the NHS, welfare and football with me!
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Old Oct 2nd 2012, 9:08 pm
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Default Re: Why move to the US?

Originally Posted by mwdake View Post
Because for me it was

never being told I could not do something I wanted to do

never being told I did not come from the right background (social class)

never again having to listen to the teacher laugh at my best friend when my friend said he wanted to become a commercial airline pilot

never being told I did not go the right school

never being told I missed my chance to get higher education

never being looked down upon because of my working class background

never having to listen to that tripe about one's station in life or lot

and so on, I could go on.

Mind you I have been in the USA for > 30 years and I suspect attitudes in the UK have changed some
Absolutely spot on, and I've only been here 8 years.

And I'll add my own reasons:

- Getting paid a living wage to teach at a university and do research

- Getting to work with some of the cutting edge people in my field

- No one pigeonholing me because of my background

- No provincial or Middle England attitudes (depends where you live for this one probably)

- No dismissive or negative attitudes right out of the door

- A focus on community building

- The ability to reinvent oneself

- The entrepreneurial spirit

I've been caught up in all of the bad stuff that's happened because of the recession, and things aren't always easy. But I'm doing far better there than any of my UK friends in terms of job security, income, housing, and a stable community of people around me. I've done better here than I ever thought I would because I never thought I'd find a job or a life to keep me here permanently. I could see going back to the UK one day, but I moved here at such a young age that I just don't know whether I'd fit back in.

Last edited by Rose tea; Oct 2nd 2012 at 9:11 pm.
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Old Oct 2nd 2012, 9:33 pm
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Default Re: Why move to the US?

Family. Married to a local.

In my times traveling, the USA merited a 12 hour stop over in New York (other than trips to what became family), so it was never high on my list of must-dos or want-to-sees. It just happened that I ended up here, no plan.
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Old Oct 2nd 2012, 10:47 pm
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Default Re: Why move to the US?

Originally Posted by mwdake View Post
Because for me it was

never being told I could not do something I wanted to do

never being told I did not come from the right background (social class)

never again having to listen to the teacher laugh at my best friend when my friend said he wanted to become a commercial airline pilot

never being told I did not go the right school

never being told I missed my chance to get higher education

never being looked down upon because of my working class background

never having to listen to that tripe about one's station in life or lot

and so on, I could go on.

Mind you I have been in the USA for > 30 years and I suspect attitudes in the UK have changed some
Originally Posted by Rose tea View Post
Absolutely spot on, and I've only been here 8 years.

And I'll add my own reasons:

- Getting paid a living wage to teach at a university and do research

- Getting to work with some of the cutting edge people in my field

- No one pigeonholing me because of my background

- No provincial or Middle England attitudes (depends where you live for this one probably)

- No dismissive or negative attitudes right out of the door

- A focus on community building

- The ability to reinvent oneself

- The entrepreneurial spirit

I've been caught up in all of the bad stuff that's happened because of the recession, and things aren't always easy. But I'm doing far better there than any of my UK friends in terms of job security, income, housing, and a stable community of people around me. I've done better here than I ever thought I would because I never thought I'd find a job or a life to keep me here permanently. I could see going back to the UK one day, but I moved here at such a young age that I just don't know whether I'd fit back in.
I think both of the above list are horses for courses.

- right background/looked-down upon due to working class/one's station in life - the US looks down upon its own working class (blacks, white trash, southerners). This might not matter in a personal sense as they might not recognize your British working-classness. (I do think that this sounds more like the UK in the 1960's mind)

- paid a living wage to teach at Uni - my SIL and BIL both taught at US Uni's and 2 years ago moved back to the UK to teach - for nearly double the salary. Happens both ways.

- provincial or middle-England attitudes - not really sure exactly what this means, but my experience is that USCs are frequently more parochial.

What it often comes down to is a change in the expats mindset and chance to start from scratch - no different than immigrants moving to the UK.
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Old Oct 2nd 2012, 10:52 pm
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Default Re: Why move to the US?

Originally Posted by Cape Blue View Post
I think both of the above list are horses for courses.

- right background/looked-down upon due to working class/one's station in life - the US looks down upon its own working class (blacks, white trash, southerners). This might not matter in a personal sense as they might not recognize your British working-classness. (I do think that this sounds more like the UK in the 1960's mind)

- paid a living wage to teach at Uni - my SIL and BIL both taught at US Uni's and 2 years ago moved back to the UK to teach - for nearly double the salary. Happens both ways.

- provincial or middle-England attitudes - not really sure exactly what this means, but my experience is that USCs are frequently more parochial.

What it often comes down to is a change in the expats mindset and chance to start from scratch - no different than immigrants moving to the UK.
Good points.

I do now wonder if my husband did the right thing by giving up a tenured university position for one dependent on the grant income he can generate.
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Old Oct 2nd 2012, 11:33 pm
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Default Re: Why move to the US?

I think both of the above list are horses for courses.
That's is why I started with..

For me it was...
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Old Oct 2nd 2012, 11:33 pm
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Default Re: Why move to the US?

Wife has extended family here, I would only come if it was to certain areas. Not Florida or somewhere in the boonies. Love and hate the northeast for various reasons. California is middling, plus sits nearly half way between the wife's immediate family and mine, 7000 miles in opposite directions, and direct flights to both. I had a good job in the UK but I'd floated immediately below director level for years and had enough of that.
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