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Moving countries because of cultural differences; is it worth it?

Community Member
So I've grown up in Tasmania as a mixed race European (Eastern-European/South-East Asian) and disregarding colour differences, I feel a sense of disconnection from my current culture. I tried my best to be 'True-Blue' in order to find belonging but the more I dive deep into my personality and what I liked/disliked, I came to the conclusion that I don't belong amongst Australians.

Of course, I'm under no incentive to perfectly fit a mold, yet I find myself thinking I can fit a little better in a different culture. I find myself quite rigid and rule-focused and have always disliked disorder and imprecision in daily life (ambiguous waiting lines drive me crazy), which is highly contrary to the laidback 'she'll be right mate' culture I'm surrounded by.  I feel that if I even slightly give off the impression that I'm "better" (just different, not better) than them (i.e. pursuing higher education, going to museums, etc.) I'm 'un-Australian'. You can disagree with me about your impressions of the culture but these have been mine.

 I fully understand becoming an expat comes with many challenges and I'm confident enough to say I will gladly endure them. This isn't the only reason why I want to move, but I'll say it's a big one. But is doing so in order to find the right cultural "fit" a silly endeavor? 
4 Replies 4

Summer Rose
Blue Voices Member
Blue Voices Member

Hi there,

You pose a really interesting question. I don’t think it’s a “silly endeavour”, but I do think it’s a really challenging one.

From my experience, there are cultures within cultures and they vary across all nations. 
I can tell you from travelling through the USA that the American culture is vastly different in Texas, California and Chicago. Same goes for Canada and Australia—people here are very different depending on their State and even on their city, regional or rural location.

Perhaps you could consider a change within Australia as a first step? I’ve spent quite a bit of time in Tasmania and have found it to be a different world compared to all mainland cities but particularly to Melbourne and Sydney. 
Or, you could travel through a country that appeals to you and check it out before making a big leap. Or, attending university abroad would give you a great indication.
I would just encourage you to go slow and be careful, so you don’t end up disappointed. 
As someone from abroad who has lived in Australia for over 30 years I can, hand on heart, also share with you that permanently moving countries will be harder than you can now possibly imagine. Exciting, adventurous and sometimes even thrilling, but also really hard work. And the challenges last a lifetime in often the most unexpected of ways.

Kind thoughts to you

Community Member

Hi op.

You might find it's more a state thing you are in Tassie. l'm in Vic and have lived in other states and cities , also Sydney.

Believe me there's nothing at all wrong with galleries museums culture or being what you perceive different. l was an artist 15yrs one sisters an actor ones a writer brothers a builder, so what, someone else is a professor, so what. My family have been around all kinds of people over the yrs. My brother in law is worth about 100 million self made, owns houses everywhere and restaurants and all sorts of stuff, so what.

l've had 100s of even everyday workers and also all kinds of people ask me about what l do or talk about some of my work or even just say l know nothing about art sorry - l say so what l know nothing about being a mechanic or a multi millionaire who cares it doesn't matter. lt's the person not the work.

l think you need to move at least states and cities but eh , try Melb or Syd' there's all kinds of people and cultures from all walks ,,,but eh or countries too if you like.


Good luck anyway.


PS , l also agree with Rose about countries, def' a few trips about first or some sort of real time there before committing. We've known a lot of people over the yrs go all over , my brother Asia, a friend's living in Spain 10 yrs, another in the US, nephews w went back to Germany. As Rose has said it is def' a whole nother very challenging story and so far almost everyone has moved back home or are going to.

Not to say it never works out for others of course it does for many but ldk , there are also many big differences and pros and cons to anywhere from what everyone's told me , for sure.


Anyway, all the best in your ventures.


Community Member

Growing up East-Asian in the early 2000's as a teen I can say that trying to be 'Tru-Blue' was extremely detrimental to my wellbeing, with lasting effects. It toughened me up, taught me a lot but I went way too deep into it as I was so desperate to belong. I feel like I've been spending the last fifteen years relearning large portions of my identity.  I've slowly found my community of people of similar backgrounds to myself who also reject the idea of being 'Australian' and am feeling a stronger sense of belonging. I don't think moving to find answers is a silly endeavor at all, and being viewed as un-Australian may be uncomfortable but there are thousands here who take pride in that. Those that have a narrow view of what it is to be Australian aren't my community and I try not to let them influence me too much.


In saying all that, if I could move overseas I would do it in a heartbeat. The above are ways I've survived without being able to move. I also agree with others saying to try another city, Melbourne is great. Wishing you all the best