Moving abroad?

So Husband and I have been talking lately, seriously talking, about moving to a different country, moving out of America. Our top choices currently are Holland or Canada, but I would entertain the idea of moving to many of the European countries. So I spent some time today actually looking up universities and research in Amsterdam, Groningen, and Leiden, where there are some major dutch universities and research institutions. It seems like there may be lots of opportunities, and we even found that the country is actively trying to make it easier for scientists and their spouses to immigrate to Holland.

The more we talk about moving, the less it sounds like a pipe dream and the more real the idea becomes. We imagine moving upon the completion of my doctorate, so that I might get a post-doc in our new country. Husband already is self-employed, so as long as that continues, we imagine him finding new clients in the new country and continuing to work for himself. The problem about the idea becoming more real is that I feel less and less able to deal with how fed up I am with living in America, and I begin to be unable to imagine remaining here for another 4 years.

Things we consider essential in a new country:

  • Universal healthcare
  • Better parental leave policies
  • Shorter workweeks and more vacation time
  • Better educational system
  • Country is more environmentally conscious

Things we really want in a new country:

  • Legal same-sex marriage
  • Legal abortions
  • Legal euthanasia
  • Libertarian policies on drugs, prostitution, and alcohol (NO war on drugs!)
  • A more ideal climate for us – such as those found in Vancouver and Amsterdam (or even in San Fran).
  • College/University are available from the government for free or low prices
  • More egalitarian policies and less discrimination in all areas
  • Healthcare is government run instead of privatized

Among other things, we recently watched Michael Moore’s Sicko (it was leaked online), and it made us want to get the h*** out. Mostly though, it’s just that I’ve been realizing lately how extremely disillusioned I am with American life, and that I don’t see it getting better even if the democrats get the presidency back. These democrats are still conservative to me. None of them talk about ending the war on drugs. None of them are likely to enact the kind of tax laws necessary to help lessen monetary sex discrimination, and I’d be surprised if any of them managed to get universal health care on the table. And although things are slowly seeming a little better, there’s little hope that America will trust an atheist leader any time in my lifetime. Mostly, it’s all about quality of life. Some things affect us every day; others don’t. But even those that don’t (not allowing same-sex marriages, for example), just watching the fight and the suffering over this and being part of a country that makes these grossly ridiculous moral judgments regarding things that aren’t even their business, just being a part of that is not ok. I can’t stand for it anymore, but I’ve lost the enthusiasm for change through democratic processes in America, because so many of my fellow citizens are hopelessly guided by the ruling class into believing that we need to spend our time punishing people who are different from us instead of working to keep our poor fed and healthy. Americans are scared of the government, and no one pays attention when we march by the hundreds of thousands. I’m fed up, and I want to leave.

*Added June 18, 2007: something I forgot that we definitely want – the country is not involved in America’s “War on Terror”


7 thoughts on “Moving abroad?

  1. Mmm, I wouldn’t totally rule out the UK for many of those features, although the job market is rather difficult and the climate not as ideal as Vancouver. If you want any thoughts on that particular Canadian city (and it’s universities) for doing a postdoc in, drop me an email.

  2. Sweet. I’ll definitely ask you about some of these things. I basically have no clue as to what it’s like to pursue an academic career in a different country. We are open to the UK, but pretty much we don’t think it’s liberal enough. I know someone there in a postdoc right now though, so I’m planning to ask her more questions about it.

  3. I was surprised with your nom de plume that you did not mention Sweden! (“Flicka” means girl in Swedish. I don’t think “Mawa” means anything but then again I don’t really speak the language.)

    True, the climate may not be what you’re looking for, but it is a terrific country and I would totally live there if I got deported from Tennessee or something. (I am crazy and I plan on going down with the proverbial ship, because dammit, this is my home and they can’t take it from me!)

    Anyhow, Sweden, it’s a beautiful country. The people are friendly and they all speak English, it’s clean, it’s safe, it has universal healthcare, generous parental leave policies, mandatory 6 weeks minimum vacation, better education (including free university education), and they are striving to be fossil-fuel-independent by 2020 or 2025 (can’t remember which).

    And as for your desirable list, okay, so it gets kind of cold in Sweden, but they have marriage equality, abortion is legal, I’m not sure about euthanasia, they have much better attitudes about drugs, sex (haven’t you heard of Swedish pr0n?), and alcohol, the universities are free of cost even to foreigners, they have more progressive policies regarding workplace equity, and I’m not sure who runs the doctor’s offices and hospitals, but they are internationally renowned in the health care field.

    Oh, and most Swedes are not religious. In fact, Rev. Phelps, in addition to having his “God Hates Fags” website, also has one called “God Hates Sweden.” Now that is a recommendation for Sweden if I’ve ever seen one!

  4. True. While I did not mention Sweden by name, at the moment Sweden and Norway are next on my list after Holland and Vancouver. And the coldness is not a problem. I like cold. I grew up in the Northeast, complete with blizzards and lots of sledding, and I am looking to move somewhere colder than NYC. Regarding weather, Amsterdam and Vancouver are cooler in the summer but marginally the same in the winter, so that’s perfect for us. But I would go somewhere colder than that as well. 🙂

    We have a friend who is Swedish American but still has family in Sweden, so he tells us about the country and we pretty much think it sounds great.

  5. Very interesting. My husband and I always say the same. We, too, are fed up with the basic human rights injustices, environmental raping, etc. we see here everyday. He’s from Spain, so we often have a different perspective on what’s happening here.

    Very, very sad state of things… This country has the potential to be so great.

    So many countries surpass us it the areas most important to us, too.

    I think that as an academic, you will find what you’re looking for abroad.

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