US Expats Share the Biggest Misconceptions about Safety in their Adopted Homes - MarocMama Skip to Content

US Expats Share the Biggest Misconceptions about Safety in their Adopted Homes

US Expats Share the Biggest Misconceptions about Safety in their Adopted Homes

Living in Morocco has opened me up to a new level of judgement and assumption based comments. It’s very common to have people I know (and in some cases barely know) share their own thoughts on the country I call home. Sadly, most of the time those comments are based on nothing more than assumptions. They’ve never visited Morocco nor do they really have that much knowledge about the country. In many cases they couldn’t even find it on a map. I’ve heard a lot of random “fear” talk about life in Morocco and thought I’d ask other US expats around the world their own feelings about safety in their new countries as well as the things people have told them to be afraid of. The answers may surprise you (or maybe not!) 

Czech Republic

 

Easter weekend in Prague’s Old Town Square. #Prague #VisitCZ #instaprague #czechrepublic #praha

A post shared by Just A Pack (@justapack1) on

 
Last City or State you Lived in the US: New York City
 
Current City/Country: Prague, Czech Republic
 
What is one myth/belief people have about safety in your new country?  Well I’ve heard a lot about possible pick pockets here and people back home always ask me if I’m worried about a terror attack or “refugees”.
 
When it comes to personal safety what is one concern that does exist in your new country? 
Absolutely none, unless you are a germaphobe, or worried about getting too fat drinking the delicious beer here.
 
Do you feel more safe, less safe, or the same in your new home than in the US and why? To be quite honest i feel much “safer” in Europe than I do back home. While there is the potential of something happening just about anywhere, I almost never find myself looking over my shoulder here. In Prague I have yet to see a single act of violence. Heck, I rarely even see people raising their voice at one another here. All in all I’ve been robbed in New York City (at gun and knife point) at least 5 times. My apartment had been broken into twice, and the sound of police sirens was a constant. Since I began traveling full time 4 years ago, I have experienced ZERO instances of theft or violence. So, my long winded answer is that I feel FAR safer in Europe than i do in the USA. 

Hong Kong

Nomads Nation Expat Safety

Blog: Nomads Nation 

Last City or State you Lived in the US: Southwest Florida

Current City/Country: Hong Kong

What is one myth/belief people have about safety in your new country?

Well, when I mentioned to fellow Americans that I was moving to Hong Kong, many of the reactions went something like…

“OMFG you’re moving to China?!? Aren’t you scared of the government?!? What if you get kidnapped or thrown into a labor camp or something?!?”

(Deep breath in)

Truth be told, not all Americans reacted this way, but I was shocked by how many actually did.

While Hong Kong is a Special Administrative Region of China, the two are (currently) drastically different. Yes, there is increasing political pressure from China, and there are instances of civil unrest…. but it really isn’t felt on a day to day basis.

When it comes to personal safety, what is one concern that does exist in your new country?

Eating too many dumplings?

No but seriously, if I had to choose something it would be the increasing big-brotherness of mainland China. While Hong Kong is proud of it’s democracy, the mainland government is much more oppressive, and is beginning to flex it’s muscles. Hong Kong is set to be dealt back to China in 2047, and there is a lot of anxiety in HK about that transition.

But, to be honest, I haven’t personally felt any of it. And even if I did, it would just mean living more like mainland China (think Shanghai or Beijing). While living in mainland does come with an asterisk, I have many friends who have lived or are currently living there, and I would love to live there myself at one point.

I want to emphasize, this is me realllyyyy streeettttcchhiing. Hong Kong is stupid safe.

Do you feel more safe, less safe, or the same in your new home than in the US and why?

More. Statistically speaking Hong Kong is one of the safest cities in the world. Crime is almost non-existent here. I’ve never felt the slightest sense of endangerment once, and my local and expat friends would agree. I know it’s difficult for many Americans to wrap their mind’s around this, but crime is simply just not a thing here.

Which is awesome! It’s very comforting walking home from a late night out and not having to fear anything. Sure, bad things are possible in HK (just like anywhere!), but statistically, the chances are almost nonexistent.

Malaysia


Blog: As We Saw It

Last City or State you Lived in the US: Florida

Current City/Country: Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

What is one myth/belief people have about safety in your new country? Malaysia is a Muslim country and everyone there is going to want to kill you.

 When it comes to personal safety, what is one concern that does exist in your new country?Purse snatching is a real issue, even in crowded places. The thieves usually move on motorbikes and try to grab a shoulder bag as they pass by. My worst fear is that they may drag me along with them (with my bag).

Do you feel more safe, less safe, or the same in your new home than in the US and why? I feel safer in Malaysia than I did in the U.S., even walking late at night. You can tell there is relatively little personal crime, because purse snatching is newsworthy here.

Mexico

Blog: Always a Gringa
Last City or State you Lived in the US: Michigan 
Current City/Country: San Luis Potosí, Mexico 
 
What is one myth/belief people have about safety in your new country? : 
That Mexico is an underdeveloped or primitive country. While Mexico does have some indigenous groups that still exist they are quite separate from the rest of the country. Metropolitan Mexico City has over 21.2 million people and believe me they are not all living in huts. Friends and family back home are always shocked to hear that we have a Costco and Home Depot down the street. Many cities in Mexico are quite developed with modern infrastructures and some of the most renowned universities in Latin America.
 
When it comes to personal safety, what is one concern that does exist in your new country? 
Transportation can be quite unsafe here in San Luis Potosí, which is not true everywhere in Mexico. Taxis are especially unsafe here and Uber is a much safer alternative.Taxis are known to rip you off if you are a foreigner, steal your bag, and sometimes be part of short-term kidnappings. Uber is actually illegal in many cities in Mexico right now due to politics and money. However, Uber drivers continue to drive because they know they offer a reputable and trusted service. 
 
Do you feel more safe, less safe, or the same in your new home than in the US and why? 
I do feel less safe than living in Mexico then I did living in Michigan in the USA. I am extremely fair-skinned and easily stick-out here in Mexico, which makes me an easy target. I feel safe enough to walk by myself in the city center and run errands alone, but need to be much more cautious in unfamiliar areas or traveling at night. However, I don’t feel any safer in  the USA when visiting an unfamiliar city. It comes down to just being aware of your surroundings and making good informed decisions. 

Mexico

 

Love how these moms carry their babies. The little boy with hat and shoes is stealing my heart ?

A post shared by Colors of Mexico (@colorsofmexico) on


Blog: Los Gringos Locos

Last City or State you Lived in the US: Louisville, KY, USA
Current City: Uruapan, Michoacan, Mexico

What is one myth/belief people have about safety in your new country? Many people who haven’t lived in Mexico, or extensively visited Mexico, believe that it is a dangerous country. This is simply not true in our experience over the past three years.

When it comes to personal safety, what is one concern that does exist in your new country? My safety concerns in Mexico are similar to my safety concerns in the US. We keep our kids close. We lock our doors. We don’t flash our money around. We avoid certain neighborhoods and establishments at night. We stay out of trouble and try to mind our manners. And we live here legally. These concerns are common sense and could apply to any city in the world!

Do you feel more safe, less safe, or the same in your new home than in the US and why? For the most part, we feel just as safe in Mexico as we did in Kentucky. There are a few differences being a foreigner, such as we stand out with our lighter skin, hair, and eyes. The English language also sets us apart. Plus many locals think we have a lot of money being American, although in America our income would be considered low.

These things do make us more noticeable. We don’t like to draw unnecessary attention to ourselves. Although with four children our little caravan is going to cause a stir wherever we go! Our goal is simply to be smart and be kind 🙂
 

The Netherlands

 

This is the most emotional goodbye we’ve had to say before leaving the Netherlands.

A post shared by Alex and Sebastiaan (@lostwithpurpose) on


Blog: Lost with Purpose

Last City or State you Lived in the US: Poughkeepsie, New York, for my higher education.

Current City/Country: Haarlem, the Netherlands

What is one myth/belief people have about safety in your new country? 
People worry that I’m going to be blown up or shot at by terrorists, mostly thanks to the Paris and Brussels attacks in the past year. There’s this notion going around in the United States that Europe has suddenly become a risky place to travel to, despite Western Europe being one of the safest places in the world!

When it comes to personal safety, what is one concern that does exist in your new country?
Bikes. Definitely bikes. The Netherlands is absolutely filled with people on bicycles—there are more bikes than people in the country—and all of them expect you to know exactly what you’re doing while riding a bike. Things can get quite perilous during rush hour in the cities, or late at night on the weekends when people aren’t quite sober and everyone’s reflexes are dulled.

Do you feel more safe, less safe, or the same in your new home than in the US and why?
More safe, of course! There are far less crazy people with guns plotting things in the Netherlands than there are in the US. Last time I checked, that makes it quantifiably safer.

New Zealand

Blog: Travelgal Nicole
Last City or State you Lived in the US: LaCrosse, WI
Current City/Country: Wellington, New Zealand – the coolest little capitol

What is one myth/belief people have about safety in your new country? There have been a few stories about how tourists have been robbed or how their van has been burgled and they lost all of their stuff. While this does happen it is outside of the norm. You usually find that someone has set up a give a little page for the tourists and Kiwis donate to this. They are very generous.

When it comes to personal safety, what is one concern that does exist in your new country? People are very friendly in New Zealand. I never worry about walking the streets at night in Wellington and even when there is a big event on in the city everyone remains pretty calm.

Do you feel more safe, less safe, or the same in your new home than in the US and why? I feel very safe in New Zealand. Even though I lived in a small town in the US, I still feel safe here even though the city I am living in has 100 times the number of people. The people in New Zealand are very friendly and helpful.

South Korea

 

My first trip to #daewangampark in #ulsan – smaller than I expected, but beautiful nevertheless!! – – – – – – #sheisnotlost #ladiesgoneglobal #girltrip #adventuregirl #dametraveller #femaletravel #girltravel#femaletraveler #dametravel #femaletraveller #dametravelers #femaletravelblogger #ladytraveler #beautifuldestinations #wonderful_places #cityscape #worldcaptures

A post shared by TheNeverendingWanderlust (@theneverendingwanderlust) on


Blog: The Never Ending Wanderlust

Last City or State you Lived in the US: Cincinnati, OH
Current City/Country: Daegu, South Korea

What is one myth/belief people have about safety in your new country?  That North Korea will invade at any moment and everyone lives in fear.

When it comes to personal safety, what is one concern that does exist in your new country? That I might get verbally attacked because I’m a foreigner. Granted, I’ve lived here for 2.5 years, it’s only happened once – and the person was drunk.

Do you feel more safe, less safe, or the same in your new home than in the US and why? I actually feel more safe. Other than being able to walk home alone at night (huge plus), there is less theft to worry about. In Daegu specifically, you can leave your phone on the table at a restaurant and not worry about it getting stolen… things like that. I’ve dropped my debit card and have had people chase me down to return it. Friends have accidentally left their phones in taxis and have easily recovered them. That’s my biggest takeaway about safety here – generally speaking, people don’t mess with your stuff!

South Korea


 
Blog: Linda Goes East

Last City or State you Lived in the US: California

Current City/Country: South Korea

What is one myth/belief people have about safety in your new country? Most people back home are worried about the tension with North Korea. They think North Korea would start a war with the South or drop some nukes.

When it comes to personal safety, what is one concern that does exist in your new country? Even though there is tension between North and South Korea, it’s definitely portrayed a lot more dramatic on the media. As in any country, I’m more concerned about things like burglary or being attacked on the street as a female, as I would anywhere else probably. However, Korea is quite safe and people are very helpful to foreigners. It also helps when you speak the language a little bit.

Do you feel more safe, less safe, or the same in your new home than in the US and why? I definitely feel more safe here than in the US. Living in the United States, I have witnessed uncomfortable situations like arresting a man at my local bus stop. Police and gun violence are my main concerns in the US and I prefer to live in South Korea where proper gun laws are in place. 

Spain

 

The beach is loading up for everyone to enjoy the Sun. It is spring break and Semana Santa in Almuñécar.

A post shared by Heidi Wagoner (@wagonersabroad) on


Blog: Wagoners Abroad

Last City or State you Lived in the US: Apex, North Carolina

Current City/Country: Almuñécar, Spain

What is one myth/belief people have about safety in your new country? In general, I think if people in the U.S. see people protesting in large Spanish cities, they assume that everyone is protesting across the country. It’s quite amusing, because the main cities are quite far away from us in Almuñécar.

When it comes to personal safety, what is one concern that does exist in your new country? I don’t really have any major concerns when it comes to personal safety here in Spain, especially in our small town. We let our kids explore the town with their friends during the weekends, and haven’t had any issues.

Do you feel more safe, less safe, or the same in your new home than in the US and why? I feel more safe here in Spain, but in general, I don’t get worried about safety wherever our travels take us. The Spanish have been very accommodating and helpful to us; much more so than Americans would treat foreigners.

Spain

 

#spain #museum #history #art #culture #ticket #travel #tourist #wanderlust #crashedculture #spanish #europe #european #museonacional #madrid #espana #españa #español

A post shared by Travel Blog • Crashed Culture (@crashedculture) on


Blog: Crashed Culture

Last City or State you Lived in the US: Tampa, FL
 
Current City/Country: Madrid, Spain
 
What is one myth/belief people have about safety in your new country?  One of my biggest fears when moving abroad was the threat of kidnapping. Now, and now that I’m putting it into words, it seems absolutely ridiculous! We always hear horror stories of people going missing while abroad where there’s nobody to miss them for a day or so. I realize now this happens because all we hear about traveling abroad is the crazy horror stories (because otherwise there’s nothing newsworthy to report), so out of the million stories that actually exist of expats living in harmony and safety with locals, Americans get to hear the one story of the crazy local.
 
When it comes to personal safety, what is one concern that does exist in your new country? 
Watch your stuff, because the biggest safety threat in Spain is having your things stolen. Never keep your phone in your back pocket, your purse on the back of your chair, or put anything of value anywhere that it’s at all possible for someone to take your things without you noticing. Pick pocketing is a major concern here.
 
Do you feel more safe, less safe, or the same in your new home than in the US and why? 
I feel more safe! Madrid is a big, active city, so there’s generally always people around, and the lights in businesses stay on late. I also haven’t had to deal with catcalling at all here, while back in the US I’ll get catcalled walking from my car to the store if I don’t have a man with me. I definitely feel I’ve been able to let my guard down here, and enjoy life more freely.

Sri Lanka

 

Confusing corner in Galle

A post shared by Crazy Little Family Adventure (@oranavelarde) on


 
Blog: Crazy Little Family Adventure

Last City or State you Lived in the US: Miami, FL
 
Current City/Country: Sri Lanka
 
What is one myth/belief people have about safety in your new country? 
 It’s a current theme in the FB expat groups how it is extremely unsafe for women to walk around alone, especially at night. And specially without clothes that cover their legs and shoulders. Local men are not very nice to women on their own. I haven’t had much trouble with this as I have a pretty powerful resting bitch face. 
 
When it comes to personal safety, what is one concern that does exist in your new country? 
 A real concern we do have is its not something thats “on the surface” persay its more a thing that shows up later. People hold grudges for things and go to extremes of being threatening. It has happened to and it has happened to friends. It’s a very weird phenomenon because you don’t see it at first, its’s all very backstabby.
 
Do you feel more safe, less safe, or the same in your new home than in the US and why? 
 I don’t really ever feel unsafe unless I’m alone past midnight anywhere. the only place i have felt safe alone past midnight is in Bangkok.

Thailand

Blog: Foodie Flashpacker

Last City or State you Lived in the US: Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

Current City/Country: Chiang Mai, Thailand

What is one myth/belief people have about safety in your new country?  People believe that after the recent coups which found the country under military rule that somehow the country has become unsafe or unwelcoming for tourists. It’s not true. The differences are subtle— things like the most of the bars in Chiang Mai actually closing at midnight, like they’re supposed to. Thailand is still a wonderful country that is very welcoming and safe for tourists.

When it comes to personal safety, what is one concern that does exist in your new country? Crazy tuk tuk and red truck (shared transport) drivers. Also, tourists coming in that don’t know how to ride a motorbike and renting them for the first time. People will literally drive on the sidewalks.

Do you feel more safe, less safe, or the same in your new home than in the US and why? I feel the same amount of safe as I do at home. There were travel alerts on Paris and Brussels recently— these aren’t war torn, unsafe cities. Last year there were a series of bombs that went off around Thailand that seemed to be coordinated. People canceled their travel plans. I never felt unsafe in my adopted city of Chiang Mai.

I’m from Oklahoma City— the heartland of the United States. This entire area of the United States is mostly known as safe, typically thought of as a slower, simple life than in NYC or LA. But, on April 19th of 1995 we experienced the largest act of domestic terrorism in US history when a bomb went off in front of the Murrah Building. This act of terrorism killed 168 people and left hundreds more injured. These things can really happen anywhere. On the flip side of the same coin I recently visited Istanbul again.

People thought I was crazy to visit so soon after all of the major recent events that have occurred. I have never felt unsafe in Istanbul, even as I strolled daily down Istiklal, the same street where the bomb had gone off only months before.

United Kingdom


 
Blog: Jet-settera
I lived in NYC for 9 years and after that I moved to London 5,5 years. I don’t really have many safety concerns here to be honest. I feel safer here, than I was when I was in NYC. I don’t think people have any safety concerns about London to be honest.

Some people get drunk in the evenings and they cause trouble, but we didn’t have any terrorist attacks or major incidents in the past couple of years.

I feel much safer in London, than I felt back in NYC. There were lots of weirdos on the metro in NYC. I saw some violent acts. In Central London, I have never seen the kind of things I have seen back in NYC. I heard gunshots once in NYC. I saw perverts on the subway. I heard of homicides in the best neighbourhoods. Even though NYC is considered to be expensive and upscale, still a lot of bad incidents happen there. I have never seen any of this in London and I feel much safer in this city. I am going to stay here as long as I can.

US Expats Share Myths about Their New Homes

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Tina Ernspiker

Wednesday 26th of April 2017

Very nice collection of expat info and lovely Instagram accounts! Thanks for including me. I went ahead and followed most of these folks on Instagram because I am always looking for new expat accounts :-) Love photos of new places!

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