People Are Sharing How Their Outlook On Australia Changed After Living In Or Visiting Other Countries And Points Were Made
"I live in the US now and it's awful compared to Australia. Healthcare, safety, schooling, government, salt and sugar-laden food."
There's a lot to love about Australia — we've got some of the best beaches in the world, adorable animals to boot and access to a bunch of mouth-watering cuisines, thanks to our multicultural population.
They asked the Reddit community: "How has living in or visiting foreign countries changed your view on Australia?" Some of the replies had a more positive outlook, which gave thanks to the opportunities Aussies are provided with. Others favoured other countries, pointing out how we lag behind in categories like climate change.
Nevertheless, it made for an interesting debate. Here are some insightful responses from the thread!
1. "Visiting over 60 countries and living abroad in the UK, I've come to realise how lucky I/we are — and not to take it for granted. Simple things like safety, education, opportunities, jobs, minimum wage, infrastructure etc. Nowhere comes close [to Australia]."
"However, I think we need to change how we view education. Stop glorifying sportspeople and put more emphasis on education."
3. "That Australia is incredibly safe and that Australians aren't as friendly or easygoing as we think we are."
"Yes, it struck me how conservative and staid we've become — and how interfering and tongue-clicky we are. We are not an easy going nation anymore. We have an opinion on how our fellow Australians should behave and are not afraid to not only say it, but are happy for the government to interfere in their lives to ensure they behave accordingly. It's like we are the exact opposite of what we think we are."
4. "I'm a migrant. I was in Australia for four years, moved back to China for ~four years and moved back to Oz again this year. The contrast is pretty stark. We have it good here in Australia."
"I mean, we Aussies like to complain. We complain about wage stagnation, about property price, about traffic, about lockdowns, about how cold Melbourne is. Well, let's just say after a few years abroad that just makes me extra proud and appreciative as an Aussie. I guess the only thing that I'm not happy about here is THE FLIES."
5. "Left thinking that Australia was a shit hole with nothing going on, no opportunity, no culture. Lived in the UK, travelled all over the world (~70 countries) and came back after realising we have it so, so, so good here. Safety, opportunity, lifestyle, food, everything."
"Sure, it's not perfect and there are shockingly bad decisions being made and have been made over the past 15 years by governments. But I wouldn't live anywhere else."
6. "We [Australia] are a wealthy nation, but often unhappy despite our wealth. Some incredibly poor people I met overseas seemed a whole lot happier than the average Australian."
7. "It's really flat and dry here and the light is really bright. And there are heaps of birds everywhere here."
8. "After living in Europe for a few years, I realised how much I missed our incredible sunsets, the heat of our sun and the variety of our numerous crazy birds. Also missed pies and Twisties like you wouldn't believe for some reason."
9. "I love Australia, but every time I come home from Japan I feel we are loud, rude and self-absorbed. Masks are a great example. Pre-covid, people in Japan would wear masks so not to infect others with their colds. I've never seen an Australian do that."
10. "When I moved to Melbourne after 15 years based in the Middle East, but mainly working in Africa, Asia and Central Europe, I came to see Melbourne like The Shire from Lord Of The Rings. Everyone seems to be settled and happy and content and a little too keen on 'elevensies' (i.e., indulging quite a bit)."
12. "After living in the UK, you realise how safe and dull Australia is...in the best way. There's a good reason why the English come here and stay."
13. "We're a pretty dull, large place that lacks some of the appealing elements of overseas countries (e.g. US retail/food variety, European culture) and there's way, way too many rules, regulations and nanny-statism here."
"But we also avoid some of the bad stuff from overseas too (e.g. we don't have homeless tent cities the way they do in the US, we're not in a constant state of civil unrest or famine like parts of Africa, etc)."
14. "I was born in the UK and I'm coming up to 15 years in Australia. I think Australia is indeed a wonderful place — fantastic to bring up kids. There is great wealth and opportunity in the metro areas, good healthcare, it's incredibly safe — I've never ever felt remotely threatened, which just isn't the case in the UK."
"It's also clean and well presented — a walk round a UK high street can be a miserable experience these days. The amount of pound shop and bargain basement stores is really prominent and it feels like more people are doing it hard there than they are here. The weather and lifestyle is obviously amazing and I've made it my home.
It's not all great though. You are isolated from the rest of the world and I find travelling within Australia to be quite repetitive and eye-wateringly expensive. The COVID-19 era has made me feel a very long way from anything.
Australians and particularly politicians in Australia have a view about the country being the gold standard or world class in all areas when actually it's very rarely the case. The country could be so forward thinking with all its natural resources and potential, but is in fact often third rate in many areas. The climate change denial issues are a global embarrassment. Living and travelling in Europe is so much more exciting and varied and their people are much less 'nannied' by their governments. Regardless of all this, I still love the place and it's people and I'm proud to be a citizen."
15. "My feelings have been that while we [Australia] might have inequality, we don't have the ingrained class system mindset that makes inequality so much worse in many countries. We're much more genuinely egalitarian than most countries and more than we realise. Similarly, we're not bogged down by archaic traditions and centuries-old feuds with neighbours, though obviously we have unfinished business internally."
"We're practical rather than ideological — even our ideologues are pretty practical at the end of the day. We expect those in power to be good managers first and foremost, not heroes or saints, and we are happy to hire and fire them on that basis.
Things actually work here most of the time because that's a baseline expectation here. We grumble, but we forget that in so many other countries, even many wealthy ones, things working is a dream, not a reality.
This is based on living in or extended stays in about 10 countries across Western Europe, South East Asia and West Africa — and travels in about 30 more worldwide."
16. "Travelling the UK made me really appreciate the fresh food and produce we have in Australia. There was a weird metallic aftertaste to most of the meat, the seafood was small and not very nice and vegetables in shops just looked sad. I'd never appreciated how amazing it is that we can go to our local markets on Saturday and pick up some wagyu eye fillet and fresh prawns and oysters to put on a BBQ before."
"Travelling to London and Paris made me realise how tiny our cities really are — and that I'm okay with. I love that it only takes 15 minutes to walk across the CBD in my home city and that there's like two degrees of separation between most people you meet.
I loved how easy it was to get anywhere in Europe and if I was younger I would have loved living there I'm sure. But going in my 30s, I wanted somewhere safe and relaxed to raise a family and Brisbane does that for me.
Travelling in South East Asia (and sections of outback Australia) opened my eyes to extreme poverty and what can happen when governments go wrong. At the same time, I saw how lovely, friendly and happy people seem in a less commercialised environment."
17. And lastly: "I live in the US now and it’s awful compared to Australia. Healthcare, safety, schooling, government, salt and sugar-laden food."
"Australia isn't perfect, but it is way better…well, except for locking down and not allowing citizens to leave their own country."
Some Reddit submissions have been ended for length and/or clarity.