CHECK ALL THE PROS & CONS HERE FIRST
PLEASE NOTE: The following series of Pros & Cons is drawn from the contributions of over 90 Brits who have emigrated to the countries listed below and remain there or have returned to Britain. The evaluation given each country IS NOT the point of view of one person - but many, and they are all first hand, honest, and to the point.
Scroll down for the Pros & Cons on emigrating to these countries:
Australia, Canada, U.S., New Zealand & South Africa
and for lots of helpful LINKS to agencies & embassies.
Are you thinking of emigrating? Friends or family thinking of emigrating? Done all your homework? Read everything - everything - you can about the place you'd like to go to? About getting a job, a place to live, the culture, the way of life, about being British in another country? We bet you have. You don't make a move like emigrating, lock, stock, barrel, kids, and Mum, without checking - everything - every last, little, important thing. Right? Wrong!! Most of us who have emigrated did not. We just wish we had checked it all out, if we had, a lot of us might never have never left 'home.' Well we have news for you. It's all here. Every last, little, fiddly, picky, detail you might have overlooked. So - just read on!
WE ARE NOW LISTING
AUSTRALIA, CANADA, THE USA, NEW ZEALAND & SOUTH AFRICA
in that order.
SKILLED Brits with experience in all the TRADES are needed in AUSTRALIA.|
Once more there's a call from Australia for immigrants from Britain. Like other countries throughout the industrial world there is a desperate shortage of Skilled Tradesmen and women. A recent feature on BBC World focused on the need in Australia for skilled workers in the trades. Everything from plumbers to electricians, to mechanics and building workers, to hairdressers and bank tellers, the need downunder for experienced trades people is such that if you are one of these needed skilled people you will be helped on your way by the local council of any of a hundred major cities. The Mayor of Woollogong, a picturesque coastral city said if you're any of the trades that we need - we'll fly you out tomorrow!
It seems Australia has at present all the professionals they can handle, so if you're a doctor, a teacher, or a nurse then you'll just have to go to the back of the queue. Also, they have plenty on unskilled workers for all those necessary jobs where little or no skills are needed, so, if you have any kind of skill in the all important business and service trades then you'll go to the head of the queue. Australia has a points system so you have to clear that hurdle, and they list in a booklet ALL the trades and skills they're in desperate need of, so apply today and you could be on your way very soon. Getting there can be by assisted passage, or if you want to just try your luck for a few years, pay your own way and you're then not beholding to them should you want to return to Britain after a year or so. Either way you need to qualify and pass their points system. Here's how to get ALL the information you need: www.immi.gov.au
Education: Australia has one of the best education systems in the English speaking world. The public school system, which accounts for 70% of students, has not suffered the financial cutbacks found in the UK, and therefore provides first class academic study. A large 30% of students attend 'private school', a sincere hangover from the UK influence, and much is made of its 'better education.' After secondary school there is the Australian equivalent to the UK & Canadian 'vocational' school, called 'Technical & Further Education' in Australia. From then on the preferred university education takes effect with everyone getting the opportunity to attend by way of government loans, usually paid back through the taxes of the individual once a career is achieved.
Employment: Australia is a country where all the best prospects for a wide diverse spectrum of employment happens only within its few major cities. Outside of Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane & Perth, opportunities only arise in a few selected fields. There is a huge casual/part-time work force in Australia, the Aussies liking their freedom to move around and not become 'stuck' in a city with a city job. Many of these workers are happy to hold down several jobs to make ends meet. As with any go-ahead country there is always room for one more well qualified, well educated professional. UK 'qualifications' in the fields of health care, education, and related professional work is considered 'down a peg or two' from Australian qualifications, and you will have to work a year or two to prove yourself. The following website offers information of securing work in OZ: www.workingin-australia.com This following website: www.ausivisa.com offers information on obtaining work in Australia as well as information on visas, business opportunities, and skills assessment.
Environment: Australia is known for its wonderful sunshine. If your day gets off to a better start with a sunny blue sky then Australia awaits to please you. Not to say the Aussies don't know snow. Believe it or not the very first ski resort was opened in Australia! But forget the snow, Australia has one of the best climates in the world, albeit back to front to us on the upper half of the world - our summertime is their wintertime. Forget your umbrella - not needed here! Hot, dry summers around 28C are the norm, with cloudy, sometimes chilly winters. You'll live in cool, mostly wood construction houses and you'll have air conditioning. Your source for buying or selling Real Estate in NORTH BRISBANE and beautiful BRIBIE ISLAND, contact Brent Jacob at: http://brentjacob.point2homes.biz
Lifestyle:If you haven't heard the expression 'the barbie' or you've never heard of Bondi Beach and witnessed those high-stepping, muscle-bound capped men doing their boat-in-the-waves thing - then get ready, Australia has a lifestyle built for sun, fun, and healthy pursuits. It's a young persons country. Bright, breezy people, tanned and healthy looking, seem to rule the roost. Along with the 'look' goes that friendly nasally accent that sounds like a bunch of guys with pegs on their noses! In Australia everyone is a mate. And sport is their reason for living. Give an Aussie a ball and he'll run half a mile, kick it through two enormously high posts, then some guy who looks like an orderly from a 'funny farm', does his legs to attention, arms slam down, with fingers pointing forward! Quite a sight. They love their own Aussie Rules, they clobber nearly everyone at Rugby, and take the greatest pride in making England cricketers look like rejects from the 'Acme School of Cricket.' They're not into football (soccer) where it warrants about the same interest as it does in the U.S. They've taken up baseball, US style, with all its gum chewing showmanship. They're not embroiled in watching the 'box' like Brits, Cans, and Yanks, having only five worthwhile channels. The country is like one big Las Vegas - or like betting-Britain. There are one-armed bandits everywhere. Aussies are gamblers. From lotteries to scratch cards, to racing, to sports - they'll bet on anything.
Politics: Politically the Australians are once again the 'we do it our way' type of people. The two main parties are Liberal; not in the style of Canada - being more tory than bleeding heart - and Labour, the latter much akin to the British style of Labour. There is a more aggressive mentality however in the corridors of power, not like the soft-shoe shuffle of Canada and the 'stand on ceremony' attitude in Britain. In Australia they'll say what they mean, Aussie style, right across the chamber floor! They recently sent a once popular 'One Party' (no Asian immigrants that means) politician named Pauline Hanson to the slammer for three years - for claiming hundreds of registered party members that were not - registered! Australians in general have a healthy disrespect for politics and politicians, which keeps Australia from getting too serious with its political self (bunting, straw hats, placards & teary speeches as in the US) and reminds the leaders who run the country they're no more qualified to do so than any ex-teacher, ex fish & chip shop owner (Pauline Hanson) or any clapped-out ex-professor of economics!
Overall Australia is listed third in the 'best places to live' category put out by the UN. It is the most acceptable country within the top five best places for immigrants - to adapt to, and to be adopted by. Aussies will take you in, even if you're a, 'Gawd Ethel they live in wooden huts and drink beer with X's on the cans' - Brit. They'll tolerate 'some' criticising, but not a lot. They'll give you a good start down under. They'll call you 'mate' long before you actually are - their mate. They don't like pretentious people, whom they call 'Tall Poppies', and they'll love 'cutting you down to size.' This includes cocky Yanks, whiney Brits, bleeding heart Canadians, and, picky New Zealanders. But overall, if you're young, have a good, wide open attitude towards life, and you like all the modern pursuits of a trendoid existence, living in a snazzy-word country, where its mostly put-up, with little put-down, then you'll love Australia.
Before you pick up the phone and get the forms sent to you, you should know there are a few - no, let's face it, a lot of disadvantages. I always love telling people the following. If you don't mind those pesky flies buzzing your tower day in and day out, and you can go to sleep without thinking of one of those deadly spiders crawling over your bed and up onto your shoulder, and you can handle the thought of a deadly venomous snake sliding across your lawn as you put another shrimp on the barbie - then you'll get by! The Director of Health Economics Unit at Murdoch University in Victoria revealed Australia has very few deaths due to their poisonous crawlies and slidies, but they do have nearly 2500 suicides every year and over 5000 very preventable in-home deaths! Which makes the average Aussie appear to be a glum person prone to depression and, a very clumsy one around the house!
Crime in Oz is surprisingly high, compared to the US and the UK. It was recently put into the same category as South Africa and in some crimes it is higher in Oz than in the US - but not murder. The US far outstrips every country for that - 1500 plus, every year in New York alone. But - crime in Oz, is on the rise. Two commissions have been recently formed (NSW and WA) plus a Royal Commission has been created to find out what's wrong 'in paradise.' Dogs are more disliked in Australia than whining Brits. Dogs are barred from all National Parks and from all national transport. A subscriber to the 'Brits Abroad Newsletter' left Australia two years ago (after being there 13 years) when a neighbour deliberately ran his yappy dog over, only to have the local plod say -'so what mate.'
Australia is a long way from everywhere! An Aussie coined the phrase. 'You can't get there from here.' Going 'home' to visit your parents, (and UK to Oz & back is one of the worlds busiest international routes) can cost you a fortune and take days. Australia is a big, wide, flat, isolated and often a very lonely country. The first Aussie movie I ever saw (they make mostly good movies by the way) was about a couple of lonely-hearts looking for love in Melbourne. You can drive ten miles out of the city and you'd swear you were at the entrance to the 'Moonscape National Park' - it looks that isolated. The local Aborigines have never taken to the 'settlers.' They're a black looking bunch, but really quite harmless. A well-known aborigine died recently and a reporter asked him what his plans were now - typical Aussie humour - he replied, just as he took his last breath, "I'm gunna see your God and I'm gunna ask him for my country back."
Food is more related to British tastes than that available in Canada and the US. Aussies love meat pies, and make some of the best. Sausages & bacon can be found that are close to being British in type and flavour. Aussies like a good curry (although Chinese food is the number one ethnic choice - it's that boxy-chopsticks-in the movies image that's done it) and they like their fish & chips. Although a lot of the lingo and indeed the spelling is American; (Aussies can come over looking very Yanky at times); the word humour is Yankyfied to spell humor, yet there is still that comforting feel of being closer to Britain than Uncle Sam. A lot of Aussies refer to going home for a meal as, 'going home for tea' - which is British, and is not 'tea' in the strict sense. Aussies grow their own tea by the way. And they like their black Indian tea, but orange pekoe has become 'trendy' so if you like that milder, sweeter, orangey stuff you'll find it. Aussies LOVE beer! Their beer. Lager. I worked a short while at Heathrow airport back in the 1960's when I was just starting out in life, and Aussies on their way home would come to the bar and say, "two lagers please." That's all I ever heard. Not 'lagers' with that hidden 'r', (larger) but 'laaaagers' with a longggg 'a.' To this day, when I hear an Aussie accent I mime,'two laaaagers please.'
Remember - if you're British going downunder to live you'd better forget Alf Garnet ever existed. Aussies never thought him funny. And Aussies favour the Irish (any Irish) more than the Brits, so revise your Irish jokes! Once you arrive in Oz you'll need to get rid of the 'proud Brit' image and say very quickly, 'I'm here to blend in and one day become a proud Oz', attitude. No one downunder wants to hear sod-all about Britain. They hate the British yobbo accents, the British weather, the British terraced-house image, the British homesickness you'll mention from time to time, and they hate most of all the Royal family, and - let's face it, just about everything else British. NEVER mention anything good about Britain. Aussies take great fun in poking fun at the newly arrived Brit. You either accept it, give as good as you get, or join that spineless bunch of ex-Brits who quickly adopt the Aussie accent and pile scorn on the country they just left. And Australia has lots of turncoat Brits! An Aussie once formed the notorious 'Benedict Arnold Club' for ex-Brits, but it never caught on! And, like lots of expat Brits in Oz you then can write those long letters to the editor (see them every week in The International Express) where you let off steam about everything you now hate about Britain, proving to Aussies you really do know how to whine. That pleases the Aussies no end, and the Cans & Yanks too, who read our written whingings and wonder what makes us so damn un-proud of our heritage once emigrated. Aussies have a very thin skin if criticized and you'll fall out with the entire country if you dare say, 'ah yes mate, but a good bottle of pale ale beats a fizzy frothy see-thru lager any day.' Next day they might just find you staggering around the rough end of Sydney mumbling something about having been forcibly mated with a kangaroo! You have been warned.
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Education: Canada has many obvious advantages for the emigrant Brit. As a single person coming from Britain with a complete academic education you'll find you'll not be lacking in the basics needed to adapt to a new modern society. The education in Canada, linked entirely to the American system and using a majority of American text books, is far more complete than that in Britain. Going to university after 'graduating' from High School is quite the norm, and with student loans and other kinds of public assistance available you'll have more opportunity to progress than you would in Britain. Note: Currently in all major city High Schools across Canada the average balance of non-whites to white students is: non-white 65% - white 35%, and rising. In Vancouver central, south, and east, it is 80% non-white to 20% white. By 2020 most young married people in Canada will be by far, non-white.
Employment: For the married couple, with or without children, the availability of good jobs, especially professional and career-based, are quite extensive. There's always room for one more well qualified and well experienced individual in the three most important work fields: education, health care, and technical. Work outside of these fields is less available, and not so well paid.
Environment: Much is said about Canada's climate (8 months good skating - 4 months bad!) but it is still a climate-friendly place to live. The west coast (British Columbia) has a climate much the same as Britain but with long, hot sunny spells, although it does have twice the annual rainfall as Britain does. Ontario has a mostly pleasant climate, as does lower Quebec. All other provinces are prone to arctic-like winters (40c below is not uncommon) with short summers, quick growth spring, with splendid autumns.
Lifestyle: If you have no qualms with American influenced lifestyle you'll get along famously in Canada. Canadians have a similar American type accent, using most of their terminolgy, expressions, and embracing all their interests, even their heroes! Canadian sports are all American - American style football, baseball, ice hockey, with only a token interest in soccer - although interest in soccer (not called football in North America) is increasing through 'live' TV games from Britain, Italy, and around the world. A 'soccer' game relayed on digital TV live from England in April 2003, (Man Utd v Arsenel) captured a bigger TV audience than any other sport shown on TV in that month. Architecture, city planning, likes and dislikes, and the day to day lifestyle is virtually American in every aspect. Canadians watch more American TV, per capita, than Americans do! On Canadian digital TV there are 108 channels - only 14 are Canadian, and most of them are news stations. Canada actually has a 24 hour a day weather channel. Yeah! Weather - all day long! In a mostly two season country!
Politics: The political landscape of Canada is Liberal - in every sense of the word. Canada is an easy-going, live & let live society, that hinders and hassles no one, (except proud Brits and Indians - East & Native), and goes out of its way to give every small group & cause its say, except the aforementioned! There are Conservative parties & governments in the Provinces but even these tory politicians are more liberal than anything close to tory as we know it. There is a sort of, kind of, loosely styled 'labour' political party, New Democrat Party - NDP, but it comes in and goes out of power Provincially as the nation feels it needs to prod its more liberal minded parties! The NDP is not taken seriously - in the national sense. But politics in general is everything to Canadians - everything. All their past heroes are all politicians. But of late (2005) they are mired in corruption and fraud.
Overall Canada was listed by the UN (2002) as the best place to live. It offers the working and middle class, middle educated, young modern family the safest environment to live in, in any western society. It has a national health system, with university for everyone, and although it has currently 7.5% unemployment (more in head count than Britain however) it still offers work for all the well-prepared, and the well educated job seeker. There is much to be said for its happy-go-lucky harrah for the underdog society, its overall laid-back lifestyle, and its quiet, back-water, un-newsworthy worldly existence. Canada also offers the immigrant Brit dual citizenship. After you've lived in Canada a few years, pulled your weight, stayed out of trouble, you can become a Canadian citizen. And you do not have to give up your British citizenship. You are allowed to hold BOTH passports.
There are many, and they are all minor, but they add up to a lorry-load of niggly little things that can have you on your way home joining the 9.5% discontented who return to Britain within the first three years. The big one, and the one you must take note of immediately, is: 'do not bring your pride in Britain with you.' Canadians (and Australians) do not like to hear Brits say anything really nice about their home country Britain. If you do you'll get an immediate: 'What the hell are you doin' 'ere then mate', (Australia) or: 'Why the hell come 'ere and start praising the place you just left, eh.' (Canada)!! You'll soon find out it's okay for Australians, Americans, and Scandinavians etc., to praise their homeland and their lifestyle when in Canada- but not if you're a Brit talking about your homeland and your lifestyle. Sadly a lot of Brits look the other way, or even worse join the put-downers and run the old country down. Nothing good to say - then keep it closed.
The Canadian rate of crime is surprisingly high in certain catagories. For close over four years the RCMP forensic experts have been excavating a pig farm in the Lower Mainland of Vancouver in a small town named Port Coquitlam. On this farm they are digging up the bones of close to 75 (seventyfive) missing women. These women are mostly prostitutes and have been missing from the streets of Vancouver for up to 10 years. Police do not go out of their way to investigate missing prostitutes simply because any woman who'd climb into a car in the slum area of Vancouver late at night with a person she doesn't know is hardly asking for protection from the police. The trial of the main suspect in this, one of the worlds top three cases of serial killer crime, won't begin for at least another year. And in March 2005 in Vancouver a judge threw out the charges of two Indians (east) in the 'Air India' bombing trial after 20 years (YES 20 YEARS) of hearings, delays, and 27 million dollars ($27 million) in tax payers money. He said, quote: 'there is not enough evidence to convict them.' After 20 years - not enough????Also in a B.C. town 20 years ago a brutal child serial killer named Olson was caught.
Healthwise. The World Health Organisation has listed Canada as perhaps the most unhealthiest of all western countries, including the U.S., Australia, New Zealand, and white South Africa. Canadians suffer more allergies per capita than any other country (see HEALTH KICKS section of this website) being on average 10 per person, and are second in being overweight to their neighbours the Americans. Another ill-health factor is asthma, due mainly to the forced-air heating system used 8 months out of every year in Canada that eats oxygen from the heated air used for this kind of central heating. They say the Canadian climate spawns most ills, being cold most of the time interspersed by hot, clammy summers. Other high rated sick complaints are diabetes, heart disease, skin diseases, arthritis, all forms of cancer, and suicide (second to Australia) with over 6,000 every year. Canadians eat more potato chips (crisps) than anyone else in the world and are number two behind the U.S. in fast food eaters.
You'll start doing without a lot of things. Forget about those good British style Heinz baked beans! They're BANNED in most parts of Canada! Yes - banned. Seems they don't meet the high standards of North American baked beans, which are over-cooked and have great big lumps of fatty pork in each can! There are many food items that you'll not find in Canada, apart from British style baked beans, the number one item being tea - as we know it. Black, Indian tea, the kind you're brought up on at home is not readily available. Canada is a one-item, one-type country, and they all drink the milder, sweeter, orange pekoe tea. Everything is 'sweet' in Canada - the pickles, the so-called mustard, and even their sweet yukky version of piccalli. There is only one kind of bacon, and that is streaky, which they simply call 'bacon.' Forget full-rasher Wiltshire, Gammon, or Irish back - you'll not find it. Sausages are bland, not like the ones you're used to. You'll never see black pudding, saveloys, pork pies, or any good meat pies again. In Canada it is 'pot pies', round, tasteless things full of bland gravy, peas & carrots. The bread in Canada is made from a different GM type wheat and therefore comes up very light, full of holes, and tasteless. There are NO toast racks in Canada because their bread just doesn't make toast. Left un-buttered it will go rock hard and snap!
Sports are very very very American. If you don't like ice hockey, baseball, and grid-iron American style stop & start 'football' then you'll have to subscribe to digital TV to get the real sports the world plays. Cricket produces an annual put-down on TV (Global & CTV) full of giggling Canadians who think the sport is for fops and played by twits! An Australian national team on a world tour declined to tour Canada - in case they had too many punchups when educating the giggling locals! You liked fishing? Coarse fishing? Forget it. It's ice cold, fast flowing, shallow river fishing for salmon only. And not more than a few months a year. Some fly fishing for trout exists, but in boulder strewn, ghostly looking rivers, a hundred miles from anywhere. Like their 'inlets' that are all creepy looking and incredibly identical. A quiet, easy flowing chalk stream is unknown of in Canada. Soccer (football) is only a token sport here, not taken very seriously at all. Even Formula One racing gets the 'look at those cars Wayne - all banging into each other, he he he - eh' treatment. They much prefer the US style, round and round in circles and crashing every now and then - akin, but not quite the same.
Brit bashing is not as common as it is in Australia. However, any mention on the Canadian TV news about anything British or anything happening in Britain is made with tired, smirky grins, leaving you feeling as if you have come from a third-world country. The monarchy is somewhat of a joke. When Princess Diana died the Canadian government had to force a government official to attend the funeral in London. The French-Canadian Prime Minister Chretein just scoffed saying he was 'too busy.' It tickles their funny bones to poke fun at Britain - never ever at Uncle Sam by the way. There has NEVER EVER BEEN a joke made about Americans by Canadians on their TV farce shows or on any TV show they produce! Imagine that for adoration and shaky fear of another nation! And they adore the Irish in Canada. History is taught in their schools that the Irish were, & are the backbone of Canada. Even the Irish in Canada don't buy that. They also teach in ALL their schools that England were not the victors at the Battle of Waterloo! A magazine called 'The Beaver', which is supposed to be thee 'Canada's History' magazine, has NEVER printed a 'favourable' story about the British in Canada. Never. Nothing about the British who opened Canada up, made it what it is, and defended it in 1812. Nothing about the British who put up the money and most of the know-how in building its railways, cities, and roads. The British built whole cities, like New Westminster in B.C. But nothing about the British who gave Canada its only significant and recognizable cultural image - the red coated Mounties - imagine if they had been green jackets from Irish history, there'd be statues & parades! Most Canadians have no idea who Sam Steele is, the only true Canadian hero next to Terry Fox, and the only two outside of politicians.
National humour is virtually non-existent in any recognizable sense. Beyond their child-like, dress-up, funny-face, lavish makeup, comedy farce TV shows that are all Bronx accents and American style take-off, there is little to laugh at. People have been known to die of boredom in Canada. The suicide rate is well above that of Australia and the rest of the western world, with 552 topping themselves in British Columbia alone (just one of ten provinces) in 2004, and 612 in 2005. With nothing much to laugh at, because they have an innate fear of upsetting just about anyone, except Brits & (east) Indians of course, you'll end up an endless box watcher and spend a lot of your time shopping. Say goodbye to up-front British humour. (Pssst - there is BBC Canada on cable - real humour & first class shows & BBC World for unbiased news)
Overall, Canada is no place to emigrate to if you're a proud Brit. If you're ready to be a fence-sitting, prissy-toed, liberal minded, Yank-loving individual who will quickly lose your sense of humour, then Canada is made for you. Canada is a superficial country lacking depth in anything worthwhile. And if you are ready to bury your heritage, adopt a new and oh-so laid-back, backpack, water-bottle, power-walking, 'have a nice day' lifestyle, and ready to change the colour of your coat, and give up your British allegiance, and pretend you don't give a damn about Americans while all the time you copy everything they do, everything - then, and only then, Canada is for you. Canada has a huge mental block about its identity. Tell them they're just like Americans - and they gasp in disbelief. What us, they say. Never! As a Brit you'll be accepted just above East Indians and Native Indians but just below the Chinese, so being somewhere in the middle of the bottom four most disliked races & immigrants - ain't that bad! Can't stand anything about Britain anymore? Then emigrating to Canada might be your best bet. A couple near me here in Vancouver arrived from the UK three years ago. Last year for his birthday he was sent a UK flagged T shirt from England. He threw it in the dustbin. Nothing like being a proud Brit abroad to strengthen our international ties - eh?
Education: Standards of education, from elementary through high school to the peaks of your chosen profession are the best in the world. Every child, not just those from the middle class white majority, but those from the poorest black areas and hispanic areas, can attend school from age six through eighteen and graduate from high school with a diploma that is accepted anywhere in the world - and it's all free. From high school on it's simply a matter of how hard you want to try and what heights you want to reach. Loans, scholarships, ethnic group support, can help everyone through university. All you have to do is work a part-time job to help with the basics. From your A.B.C's to your Ph.D's the education in the United States can get the graduated scholar a position in any major profession, in any country in the world.
Employment: Although there are between five million and ten million unemployed (includes those marginally employed in casual and short-term labour) the work force exceeds 140 million, so on any given day that's 135 million, earning probably the best living standard on earth. The U.S. booms, and people in the professions (teaching and medicine particularly) are always needed. Qualified professionals from Britain, Australia, and Europe are generally recognized among the best to enter the U.S. with opportunities to advance into every facet of every profession. And not just the career-minded professionals. America was born and bred on the 'snake oil' salesmen, and if you've got the 'bottle' you can sell anything to 260 million buyers, who watch on average 9 (nine) hours of TV commercials - commercials - every week, and believe nearly every word. Anyone with half a brain can get a good job in the US.
Environment: The United States is the most widely diverse country in the world. In Alaska and parts of Montana and Oregon it's like Siberia with coca-cola signs! In the mid west it's like the wheat prairies of Canada and Australia - combined. In the south, from Texas through Louisiana, Alabama to Florida it's a tropical paradise infiltrated with cowboys in high-heeled shoes! There's oil derricks in Oklahoma, thousands of square miles of cattle country in Texas, fruit trees, vineyards, and crop fields from the top end of California to the Mexican border, and they make some of the finest wines outside of France and Italy. If you wanted to invent a country it would come out just like the U.S. You picks your climate and you takes your choice - of state. And every part of the U.S. comes with its indigenous locals! White ex-colonials, black ex-slaves, Mexican/Spanish hispanics, and all those odds and sods in between. The U.S. is the end result of multi-cultural immigration - so you won't spoil anything!
Lifestyle: If you've only lived just a fraction of three score years and ten, you'll know very quickly all about America and, that America has its own very unique lifestyle. It's has a lot of swank, a great deal of swagger, a ton and a half of self-confidence, and a staggering amount of self-pride. You can show-off in the U.S. - and nobody will notice anything different. You can dress up like a cowboy, do your John Wayne impression, and they'll not know you're not for real. Inhibitions they have none. They don't even know what we mean (us Brits) when we say, 'taking the mickey?' They just don't embarrass easily. They live for the love of life and the love of themselves. What we see of them in the movies - is what you get. They love their self-image. Their big brown paper bags full of groceries are a fixture of every US movie, ('aren't we lucky - the horn of plenty'), they love for some weird reason the crowds of reporters screaming for interviews ('aren't we popular?'), the cowboy hats, the Stars & Stripes flying from ramshackle wooden shanties, to the White House itself, ('aren't we proud'), their police with their arms outstretched, holding guns and yelling & screaming as if in fear ('aren't we in love with guns and this arms out image') - it's endless. The self-image, the self-love, the attitude of, 'if we ain't done it - it ain't worth doing.'
If you're retired and want to settle in the US you'll need a special visa. These people supply it: www.robinsonoconnell.com
A country that drinks diet (lite) beer from small pop-sized cans, has no pubs as we know them, just dark, narrow, 'diner' style drinking 'holes' where everyone sits looking sadly into their booze, and where every other person is fat, wobbly, and full up to the brim with fried potatoes, fried hamburgers, deep fried chicken (skins and all) yet insists it's washed down with diet coke ! - has to have problems! Americans are the fattest people in the world - per capita! Where one kid in seven doesn't get enough to eat, and the other six get too much, and where millions scratch out a living on things called 'food stamps', being government issue for the millions below the poverty line. It would appear the US betrays itself by coming across as being the wealthiest and most advanced country in the world, but where poverty, crime, and racial discord are more rampant than in any other English speaking country.
The US has some horrorfying crime figures. The overall crime rate has actually come down a bit - but not for MURDER! In the whole of the U.S. there are over 11,000 (eleven thousand) murders every year. Yeah. 11, 000. In Britain, by the way, there was just 68 last year (sixty eight) with about the same in Canada. In New York, and in the Los Angelas area, over 1500 murders occur in both cities - every year. Every year. And that's an improvement on the totals of the last five years. Some of the crimes are in themselves right out of Hollywood horror movies. Tune into their A&E TV channel ANY night and you'll see two to three hours of in-detail true accounts of horrible murders. There is so much murder in the U.S. it keeps the A&E network rolling in TV commercial sales! In New York, parts of Los Angeles (remember those riot scenes shown around the world), Detroit, Chicago, Miami, and a score of other places, it is now considered 'unsafe' to walk alone after dark. Some areas of these cities are virtual killing grounds for the unwary and unwise. There is one bright spot. Traffic accident deaths in the U.S. are down from 50,000 a year to around 40,000. But only 18% are the direct result of drunk driving - the other 82% occur mostly through speed, and really bad driving. Close to 8 million are injured each year - over a million very seriously.
The US is a racially charged country. The United States was built partly on slavery, and up until a short hundred years ago blacks were still tied to their 'masters.' The blacks (Afro-Americans) are gradually gaining some resemblance of real citizenship, but a black stands a lousy chance in any US court or in any situation where a crime might, or might not have happened. Their unemployment figures are staggering. If the whole country had the same overall number of people out of work - the US would go down the path of any current South American country. But blacks aren't number one in the non-white category anymore. That position has been taken over by the hispanic community - mostly in California. The US is a melting pot, but for a long time now the pot has been overflowing with the poor and the have-nots.
The US is a gun-loving, self-loving, war-loving nation of very self-indulgent people with way too much self-image. The argument is still made as to whether American culture takes it's cue from Hollywood, or Hollywood is actually telling the truth about what it is portraying. No one knows. The Hollywood image of America is adored - by Americans, Canadians, and by every kid around the world who plays 'cowboys & indians' or 'cops & robbers.' When the tragedy of 9-11 happened it came home to Americans that even in their own country with all its military might, and CIA, and FBI, they are very vulnerable. Their first reaction was - someone has to pay. That was Hussein & Iraq. They went in, clobbered the entire country, and now they've realized that maybe their knee-jerk reaction to terrorism is not worth the $1 billion-plus a week it's costing them to stay there. They've won nothing, and now they have to leave.
America with all its faults is still worth the visit. You'll love the overall feel of the place - but shudder at the poverty, the back-alley filth, and the racial un-harmony! Very few Brits go there as immigrants. America might like the British underneath all its Hollywood vindictiveness, but it has never really taken the Labour-minded Brit to heart. There is so much there that is British. Except the sense of humour. They have their own, and what we laugh at they might get uptight about. Never mention that the map of the U.S. has a natural phallic image if there ever was one! And never refer to any good looking woman from Texas as having a nice Tex-ass! But its society is British based - 28% can trace roots to Britain. Washington and Lincoln to name just two. The entire east coast is 80% British place names, from Boston, to Newark, to Richmond, to Portland, to Jersey (New), York (New), to name a well-known few. It's even called 'New England', and their grid-iron American-rules football team from Boston, the 'New England Patriots', have part of a Union Jack in their logo. But try to witness an event with British roots - and you won't find one. They're tight-lipped when it comes to that kind of praise. After all, they gave us Brits a good licking in the 1770's because they can't abide people being put upon - unless you were a black slave at the time. So go - if you must. WE all did. And only one of us now lives there, part-time - and he's on assignment!
New Zealand believes in the complete education of every person who lives there. More people get more chances to go all the way from elementary school to university than any other place in the western world. The system is similar to that of Australia with again a large number of 'private' schools which offer that little extra in the teaching of all subjects, plus, that extra bonding not found in the basic come-and-go public school. As a university head recently told me with a wry smile, 'if we don't teach it then it ain't worth teaching.' And in New Zealand more students remain in the education system for the long haul than in Australia, Canada, the U.S. and the U.K.
New Zealand has at present the widest range of opportunities for immigrants in all of the major career fields. Even those in the trades, technical and otherwise, will find there is plenty of jobs to choose from. Going to New Zealand doesn't mean scratching around for a job, as long as you arrive with needed skills and a good U.K. education. There are agencies, government and private; the latter being fee-based, who can line up a few interviews for you before you arrive. Such as: www.newjobz.co.nz both are fee-based job creation agencies
The landscape of New Zealand is more diverse and more spectacular than any country of similar size. The north island is subtropical, the south is a mountainous region of fjords and forest. Each island having an almost different climate. Summers reach 30C, with winters dropping very rarely below 10C. It's where they filmed 'The Lord Of The Rings' which tells you everything.
You can't find a country much more laid-back than New Zealand. To the average 'Kiwi' everything will be fine, and if it isn't he'll worry about it tomorrow. It's a family oriented place, where kids come first, and everything negative comes last. Even the humour here is slow to show itself, as every New Zealander hopes the laughs will never be on them. It's not a country you take your troubles to - it's a country you can go to and leave your troubles behind. If you want glitz, exaggerated pace, and to show-off to the world, you won't be in step with their culture. But if you want to adjust into a lifestyle that cares for the individual and takes its time about everything, then New Zealand is for you.
New Zealand created politics for the people long before anyone else did. It's a truly democratic country where the individual counts, and where politics are only a system to channel taxes and benefits where they're best needed. It's Labour & Conservatisim combined, with a large helping of Liberalism. It's hard to define, except to say you feel a lot closer to what's going on in New Zealand than you do in Canada, OZ, and the U.S. You're looked after, just don't be too far left or too far right, and most of all if you're going to 'activate' - don't knock the system. It works for them, and it'll work for you.
In a country where there's a well known bird that doesn't know how to fly, where you can catch trout in the mountain streams by just putting your hand in and grabbing them, where sheep are part of the family (in more ways than one!), and where the natives (Maoris) used to eat visitors, one has to wonder if it has changed much. An explorer, way back in the 1700's sent a boatload of sailors ashore to offer salutations, and they all got eaten. But thanks to 'fast food' outlets like McDonald's and Burger King the chances of being the main course at a Maori feast is long past.
What New Zealand is known for is its lack of humour. Chances are any Kiwi reading the above paragraph hasn't laughed, or even smiled, and might even be offended. Brits arriving (when you finally do arrive - after an 18 hour flight with lots of stops and transfers) should smile, but please do not make any silly jokes for at least a year or two. Get to know them. Find out what tickles their funny bone - if you do find out let us know! Some say it's the isolation, being as it were at the very end of the world. You can't go any further, if you do you start going back up the other side. Some say its the dour immigrant Scots influence, being mostly sheep (more sheep than people), the isolation, the isolated dwellings, and, their very bad beer - which is improving I'm told.
Brits arriving in New Zealand come up against an unusual type of anti-Brit prejudice, being, they (the Kiwis) really think you left Britain because you must hate and revile it, otherwise why go all the long way down to New Zealand to live. I was once told by an ex-Kiwi that it's their very odd trait, based on the New Zealanders lack of inner self-confidence, whereby they think you haven't really made much of an improvement by moving down there with them. They really do feel 'cut-off' from life at times. Their attitude being: 'well you must have run away from something to want to come all the way down here.'?
Brits in New Zealand have long had complaints about the food there. Kiwi's don't eat like Brits or Americans. They eat more like worried Canadians or trendoid Aussies who think fruit, salads, and diet-this and diet-that is the only way to eat. Restaurants in New Zealand, with the exception of a precious few, are mostly in-and-out snack houses where food is bland and in small quantities. They eat lots of fast foods but shun the UK sunday dinners and the like. A Maori told me they often wonder why they (the Maoris) ever gave up eating people. Beats the local food!
New Zealand is at the end of the world. It is a beautiful place. It has a really small population, just about all being of British stock, but you wouldn't want to brag about that. Crime is nothing over the top or anywhere near the UK or the US, percentage-wise. Drugs are there, but then they're everywhere. Sports are one major world sport and half of another world sport - that being rugby, and then cricket. Outside of that football is soccer and has a worse following than it does in Canada. One big problem in this lower part of the world is that New Zealand is nearer the ozone hole than anywhere else is. It's UV levels are amazingly high. If you bronze on Brighton beach you'll fry down here. Sunscreen is a way of life, necessary when simply watching local sports on NZ TV, and skin cancer is on a par with the Aussies. Remember, whites, us northern members of the human race, were never meant to live in such climes. That's why Aborigines are black and Maoris are much the same.
Education.The school system in South Africa is geared to cater for the broad cultural differences. Based primarily on the 'grade' system, there are schools for those who speak Afrikaans, private schools for the white English-speaking minority, and all black schools where eleven languages are spoken, and a growing number of English-speaking integrated schools. The standard of education varies somewhat between the cultures, as certain races learn under different methods, allowing for the upbringing of the different classes within their culture. In general there is a base system that loses direction as the child progresses. There are 'grades', and 'standards' similar to the English 'form' school, and the finals of 'matriculation.' that give the school leaver a 'Certificate' stating that academics have been completed. There are no GCSE or similar.
Employment. The average immigrant Brit enters South Africa 95% of the time on a pre-arranged work position. You just don't emigrate and then start looking for work. There is high unemployment amongst the blacks, coloureds (half-caste, being mostly white & black), and the lesser privileged but self-employed Indians. There are many shortages in the highly technical fields which can only be filled it seems by the resident whites and the few immigrants from the UK and elsewhere. The professions; medical, teaching, and computer technology, offer a wide range of opportunities to the immigrant from around the western world. The black sector is slowly coming to terms with an education system that will finally put them on a par with the whites. But it is many years away yet.
Health Care. South Africa doesn't come across as being the healthiest place in Africa to live, with two main health problems facing the vast majority of the black population, that being HIV and TB. This is linked to the lack of proper nutrition and very few health clinics. South Africa battles all kinds of health care problems, one being the simple question of health care communication. There are eleven recognized languages in South Africa, with English finally becoming the official language, yet Afrikaans still dominates the inner workings of most hospitals and health care systems.
Politics. South African politics to the newly arrived immigrant Brit or immigrant from any other western country may seem to be a highly confused and difficult thing to understand. The country is run by The African National Congress which came to full power in 1994 with Nelson Mandela. That parliament is made up of 90% non-whites and has the most difficult job of bringing the black South African into a democratic 21st century. South Africa has a long way to go politically, and all the immigrant can do is leave it to them to raise the levels and standards. Don't expect a neatly understood policy of liberal, labour, or tory government. There isn't one. Apartheid is still blamed for all of South Africas set-backs and failings. It will be decades before it is finally laid to rest.
Environment. Like it or not South Africa for the small minority of resident whites can indeed be a scary place to live. Just about every white family has their property surrounded by six foot high wire fences and keeps several dogs. Any white living in or near any large South African city or town will tell you they hate leaving their house unattended. Any white travelling through the vast expanses of the South African interior do so at great risk of being robbed or even murdered. The Afrikaans still feel it's their country and still despise the blacks. The whites feel intimidated by both. The blacks wonder when will the 'Robin Hood' effect come into being. They've made advances but in most areas you wouldn't notice it.
South Africa has the highest murder rate in the world. The U.S. murders just over 11,000 of its own people each year, far outstretching any other modern society, but next to the South African murder rate that is nothing. South Africa murders over 22,000 (twentytwo thousand) of its population every year. The U.S. has 260 million population. South Africa has only 44 million. The high was in 1994 when the police reported over 26,000 murders. Last year in South Africa there were 52,698 violent crimes where death or serious injury occurred. These murders happen virtually entirely within the black population. There are only 4 million whites in South Africa and the murder rate among them does not even compare to the minute rate of 68 murders in the U.K. last year - a population of 60 million. 22,000 murders means 423 each week, or 60 each day, or 2.5 murders in every hour. (these figures can be verified in the South African newspaper, 'Sunday Times' of September 28th, page 19 - see their archives)
People only emigrate to South Africa for two reasons. One, they have been offered a well-paying career-building job, or two, they are joining friends and family. No one just emigrates to South Africa, as they do to Canada or Australia. I do know three people who went to South Africa simply because they are activists, who not only talk up a do-gooder storm but act it out in reality as well. They're the kind of no-makeup, no-smile, badly dressed, hippie'ish, anti-Apartheid activist once found shuffling about in sandles in large quantities in Canada and the UK. They were thrilled at the sudden rise of an African fighter for human-rights who had got the worlds attention. Hundreds of High Schools in Canada have huge murals all over the school walls depicting Mandela. He is worshipped and adored by all the oppressed, or those who think they are - or once were. There is something about the way Mandela came to power that sparkles the eyes of the children of immigrants in Canada and Australia (specially non-whites) who have, through their parents, felt the pressure of an Imperial Britain, or something similar! So if you're a dog-fighter for the underdog and want to liberate the down-trodden - South Africa is the place to go. But if you are just a normal, peace-loving, work-a-day person looking for a better life - try elsewhere. South Africa has 40 million non-whites and 4 million whites. The latter are on the decline. But it's the latter that provide most of the pace, the energy, and the technology. It's your choice. You're needed - but are you really wanted?
CHECK OUT THESE VERY HELPFUL LINKS FOR BRITS GOING ABROAD.
Don't just take our word for it. There are several websites that help Brits make that life-changing decision to emigrate.
This London Property Management company will look after your property in London whilst you're away: www.tasmanproperty.com
Another good place to start is with: www.newlifeabroad.com and visit their forum & chat room.
A very informative website offering advice on emigrating is: www.outbound-newspapers.com Want to emigrate to the US but you're retired? Contact: www.robinsonoconnell.com
And there are quite a number of websites already downunder (OZ) and downthere (NZ) just waiting to help you make your move to a whole new way of life: For information on Australia and finding a job visit: www.immi.gov.au which is the Australian government migration information centre.
www.workingin-australia.com and: www.ausivisa.com
Study your degree in Australia. Details: www.ozdegree.com
Going to Brisbane: www.brisbanebound.com or try this Aussie run website: www.newcomersnetwork.com and that other 'welcoming' website downunder: www.initialwelcome.com.au
For real estate in North Brisbane & beautiful Bribie Island: http://brentjacob.point2homes.biz
Also a great website that helps Brits contemplating going to New Zealand and who are looking for jobs 'down-there' is: www.workingin-newzealand.com or:
Over 90 people have contributed to this series, all of whom have emigrated to the countries listed above. Some have been there for 55 or more years, and some for just a few years. In all there are now over 70 contributors to the series, whose names are listed below. We thank them all for their contributions. They are:
Ken Shippam, Maggie Moran, Andy Bottom, John Chandler, Jason Field, Bob Carter, John Coleman, Eric Layte, Pat Styles, John Stephens, Keith Miller, Bruce Leowens, Mandy Earley, Christine Carrington, Pete Cooper, Vanessa Trent, David Tranter, Ken Fisher, Orlean Parnell, Barry Leader, Alfred Gleeb, Shirley Rayner, Reg Altrip, Pauline Walker, Josh Tristan, Margo McCauley, Eli Moran, Ted Rawlins, Jordan McCall, Barry Reed, Daniel Kelly, Ralph Partridge, Wendy Benton, Sarah Smith, Jennifer Batt, Bill MacDonald, Farley McGuire, Terrance Morton, Chris Cook, Paul Holmes, Carolyn Reddell, Gareth Evans, Gerry Caldwell, Anne Brown, Adain Parnell, Susan Smythe, Danniel Lockstar, Beryl Burdette, etc etc......
email us at: Britmail@aol.com If you have any opinions, questions, comments or additions.
THEY DESIRE A BETTER COUNTRY
by the English Poet
What seekest though, far, in the unknown land?
In hope, I follow joy gone before,
In hope, and fear persistent more and more,
For long the journey is that makes no stand.
More than a thousand hopes in jubilee,
Dearer the music of one tearful voice,
That forgotten, calls and calls me...
"Follow me here. Rise up, and follow here."
One exile holds us both, and we are bound,
To selfsame home-joys in the land of light,
Weeping thou walkest with him: weepeth he?
Some sobbing weep. Some weep and make no sound.