12 Bad Things About Being An Expat In The USA

12 Bad Things About Being An Expat In The USA

Many people think that the USA is the best country in the world including Americans themselves. Of course, there are great things about this country, but it definitely has its flaws, as all countries do. Having lived here for 5 years, I’ve determined what are personally 12 of the bad things about being an expat in the USA.

I moved to the US for the first time in September 2009 and have lived here since, except for a couple months in Mexico and a few more months in India in between the years.

I lived in South Carolina, North Carolina, and Oregon. In addition, I have also visited Washington, California, Nevada, Colorado, Texas, Florida, Georgia, Tennessee, Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Maine, and Michigan.

Oh, and I married an American (been married for almost 4 years now.)

So I think I have a pretty good grasp about this country.

12 Bad Things About Being An Expat In The USA

1. The Work identity.

The first thing you will be asked when meeting a new person is: “what do you do?”. It’s always an uncomfortable question for me. People here live to work instead of the other way around. I think they need to take a step back and relax and enjoy life outside of “success” and money a little more.

2. Everything seems to be a competition.

Americans are always striving to be the best or better than others. People play to win instead of to enjoy the journey of the game.

3. Fahrenheit, yards, miles…

Why do you have to be the only ones not using the metric system? Well, almost the only ones.

4. Tall and Old[er].

This one is personal: I feel very short and very young (not in a good way) in this country! Women my age look way older than I look, and I get carded ALL the time. It doesn’t help that I’m short either. I would wear heels more often, but no one wears heels and I feel overdressed when I do.

5. Lack of fresh food.

Packaged foods aisles in a grocery store in the US. source

It’s very hard to eat fresh, like have a meal without any processed foods. Most of the food here seems to be somehow chemicalized (made-up word.) In Mexico and many parts of Europe, food is so fresh and delicious.

6. The lack of real Mexican food. 

tacos al pastor

Tacos al pastor

Another one of the bad things about being an expat in the USA is personal. I have been spoiled with real authentic Mexican food since I grew up there. Last weekend we drove almost 50 minutes to a hole-in-the-wall Mexican place that an almost stranger recommended to us. Desperate much? It was amazing and worth it.

7. Ice

I don’t like freezing cold beverages and I often forget to ask for water without ice. It’s a minor thing, but still one that I don’t like.

8. Obsession with money.

It’s kind of all they care about. Their goal is to have more money, no matter how much you have. I will add here: Banks. Banks are terrible, there is not a single good bank. They’re all trying to get as many fees from you as they can.

9. Lawsuits.

Suing is like a hobby here. People sue for everything! I guess this goes back to the obsession with money, if there is an opportunity to get some more money, people will take it.

10. Heritage.

I’m Irish! I’m Italian! And I’m 1/4 Australian! Um… you are American. So many Americans say these things and it confuses me because it’s not really true. Okay, you might have some Irish or Italian heritage/ancestry but you are not one. I have never in my life said that I am German because I have a German great-grandfather. I am simply Mexican because that is where I was born.

11. Drinking legal age and ID’s.


Having a beer somewhere in Washington.

I’ve seen 60-year-olds get carded at the grocery store. I have been carded because I was with someone who was buying a bottle of wine, and I have been told not to sit at the bar in a restaurant because I wasn’t carrying my ID. It’s ridiculous.

12. Nationalism.

Thinking that they are better than any other nation in the world. This is especially annoying when they’re traveling and they think that anything other cultures do is wrong, not different. Patriotism and loving the country you are from is great, but nationalism (feeling superior to all other countries) is not.

I will add here, the fact that they call themselves “America” and not the United States. I don’t know who or when that started but America is a continent y’all.

Please note that not all Americans are the same and when I use the words “no one” and “everyone” there are obviously exceptions. This is quite generalized but it is just a personal opinion based on personal experience.

Plus, the US is not all bad, there are great things about living in the US too!

Have you ever lived in the US? Do you agree with any of these bad things about being an expat in the USA?
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