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3 Reasons Why Life is Better for Americans Abroad

3 Reasons Why Life is Better for Americans Abroad

Each day, more Americans believe that life may be better abroad. With the recent presidential election, many people have stated their intention of moving to Canada as a better alternative.

What if we removed the Trump equation? Would people be so anxious to live abroad if Hillary Clinton won the election?

There are many reasons Americans decide to live abroad: 35% of American expats are looking for an adventure, while 31% simply enjoy living abroad. As an expat entrepreneur, I have lived abroad for almost 3 years in multiple countries. I enjoy the adventures and daily life.

Many Americans do not realize that they can experience a higher quality of life abroad. According to last year’s InterNations statistics,[1] 81% of American expats are generally satisfied with their expat life. Almost one-third (32%) of them stated that they would consider staying in their new country forever.

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Here are three reasons why life is better for Americans abroad.

1. Education Opportunities

The cost of higher education has continued to rise in the United States. As a result, college enrollment rates have decreased in the last four years.[2]

So, there is no doubt that rising tuition rates are keeping students away from obtaining a college degree. However, there are better alternatives abroad:

  • Germany is the economic powerhouse of Europe, and offers free tuition at public universities for foreigners. There are 1,000+ college programs that are taught in English.
  • Norway is one of the Scandinavian countries where Americans can get free tuition at their state universities.
  • Czech Republic is another European country that allows anyone to study for free in Czech (their native language).

There are some other countries that offer free tuition to foreigners, including (but not limited to) Argentina, Finland, and Brazil.

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2. Healthcare Opportunities

I have been amazed at the quality of health care in so-called developing countries. In Mexico, I was able to get a dental cleaning for $26, and a full thyroid blood panel test for $50. You can get surgery, blood tests, and other health procedures done for 40-60% off prices in the United States.

But Mexico is not the only example. You can find high quality health care in other countries, including (but not limited to) Panama and South Africa.

3. Housing Opportunities

Do you prefer to live in an apartment or house? Both options are cheaper and more plentiful in most countries abroad.

In Spain, I paid 15% less than the average monthly rental price in the United States. In Mexico, bargain deals are not hard to find at all. In San Miguel De Allende, it is not uncommon to find houses to rent for $400 a month, outside of the downtown area. Most of these $400/month houses are not furnished, but I was fortunate to find a furnished one.

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These amazing deals are not limited to Mexico and Spain. You can find great deals in countries, including (but not limited to) Panama, Colombia, Ecuador, South Africa, and China.

The Final Word

You probably noticed a common thing in these three reasons. Low prices! They are significantly lower than prices in the United States.

Why pay more when you can pay less? Many American expats are retirees who find that their retirement checks buy more abroad than in America. Whether you are a retiree or not, living abroad offers a higher quality of life with a low cost of living. Many Americans aspire to be wealthy. If Americans could live a luxurious life abroad for less than $100,000 a year, I do not think most people would care about earning a six-figure salary anymore.

The expat population is growing. There are 8 million Americans abroad.[3] If the American expat population was one state, it would be America’s 13th most populous state.

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Perhaps it is time that you join the club!

Featured photo credit: Alex Mihis via pexels.com

Reference

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Kallen Diggs

Bestselling Author / Magazine Editor / Syndicated Radio Show Host

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Last Updated on October 23, 2018

Science Says Knitting Makes Humans Warmer And Happier, Mentally

Science Says Knitting Makes Humans Warmer And Happier, Mentally

My mother was a great knitter and produced some wonderful garments such as Aran sweaters which were extremely fashionable when I was young. She also knitted while my father drove, which caused great amusement. I often wondered why she did that but I think I know the answer now.

Knitting is good for your mental health, according to some research studies. The Washington Post mentions a 2013 survey of about 3,500 knitters who were asked how they felt after a knitting session. Over 80% of them said they definitely felt happier. It is not a totally female occupation as more and more men take it up to get the same benefits. Harry Styles (One Direction) enjoys knitting. So does Russell Crowe although he does it to help him with anger management!

The Neural Knitwork Project

In Australia, Neural Knitworks was started to encourage people to knit and also become aware of neuroscience and mental health issues. Knit-ins were organized but garments were not the only things created. The knitters produced handmade neurons (1,665 of them!) to make a giant brain. The 2015 project will make more neural knitted networks (neural knitworks) and they will be visible online. You can see some more examples of woolly neurons on the Neural Knitworks Facebook page.

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While people knitted, crocheted and crafted yarn, they listened to experts talking about mental health issues such as addiction, dementia, depression, and how neurons work.

The knitting and neural connection

The human brain has about 80 billion neurons. Learning new skills, social interaction, and physical activity all help to forge neural connections which keep the brain healthy and active. They are creating networks to control movement and make memories. The knitters learn that as they create the woollen neurons, their own neurons are forming new pathways in their brains. Their creations are mimicking the processes in their brains to a certain extent. At the same time, their brains are registering new and interesting information as they learn interesting facts about the brain and how it works. I love the knitworks and networks pun. What a brilliant idea!

More mental health benefits from knitting

Betsan Corkhill is a physiotherapist and has published some results of completed studies on her website, appropriately named Stitchlinks. She conducted some experiments herself and found that knitting was really helpful in reducing panic and anxiety attacks.

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“You are using up an awful lot of brain capacity to perform a coordinated series of movements. The more capacity you take up by being involved in a complex task, the less capacity you have for bad thoughts.”- Betsan Corkhill

Knitters feel happier and in a better mood

Ann Futterman-Collier, Well Being Lab at Northern Arizona University, is very interested in how textile therapy (sewing, knitting, weaving and lace-making) can play an important role in mood repair and in lifting depressive states.

She researched 60 women and divided them into three different groups to do some writing, meditating and work with textiles. She monitored their heartbeat, blood pressure and saliva production. The women in the textiles group had the best results when their mood was assessed afterwards. They were in a better mood and had managed to reduce their negative thoughts better than those in the writing and meditation groups.

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“People who were given the task to make something actually had less of an inflammatory response in the face of a ‘stressor’.” – Dr. Futterman Collier

The dopamine effect on our happiness

Our brains produce a chemical called dopamine. This helps us to feel happy, more motivated, and assists also with focus and concentration. We get a boost of dopamine after sex, food, exercise, sleep, and creative activities.

There are medications to increase dopamine but there are lots of ways we can do it naturally. Textile therapy and crafting are the easiest and cheapest. We can create something and then admire it. In addition, this allows for a little bit of praise and congratulations. Although this is likely not your goal, all these can boost our dopamine and we just feel happier and more fulfilled. These are essential in facing new challenges and coping with disappointment in life.

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“Sometimes, people come up to me when I am knitting and they say things like, “Oh, I wish I could knit, but I’m just not the kind of person who can sit and waste time like that.” How can knitting be wasting time? First, I never just knit; I knit and think, knit and listen, knit and watch. Second, you aren’t wasting time if you get a useful or beautiful object at the end of it.” – Stephanie Pearl-McPhee, At Knit’s End: Meditations for Women Who Knit Too Much.

If you thought knitting and textiles were for old ladies, think again!

Featured photo credit: DSC_0012/Mary-Frances Main via flickr.com

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