Why do people say "If you can't make it in your own country you can't in another"?

I wanted to say in the title, but there wasn't enough space: Why do people say ridiculous things like "If you can't make it in your own country you can't in another country", and the other country is presumably as rich, or poorer than your own?

I'll give an example of someone like me. In NZ I struggled to get minimum wage jobs, which pay 11.5 USD/hr now. Arguably, the minimum wage is too high. But I applied for close to a hundred hours with very little to show for it. I had a few gigs here and there where my foreign friend/s wanted my help but for the most part Kiwis didn't want to know me. The rent and food are very expensive, my parents paid for everything, with many strings attached, but if I were to do it on my own, I'd have to pay ~500-550 USD/mo for a room in a shared house and ~300 USD/mo for food. Life was miserable and there was nothing much going on and I had no friends(well, Kiwi friends).

In a country like Vietnam, from what I'm told, with a TEFL I would be paid ~25 USD/hr since I love children and am literate/good with English. I'm not familiar with the costs, but I think the costs would be around ~250 USD/mo for rent, and ~100-200 USD/mo for food. It's a bit too hectic and noisy and stressful, but on the other hand Viets are good, hardworking people, Viet is on the up and up and you'll be making a real difference in peoples' lives as them knowing English just helps them so much in their professional career.

This might be a bit of a contrived example but still it boggles my mind how people can say something so ridiculous with a straight face. Do they not know how to do the math? This situation might be slightly unique but I can't imagine it's that out of line.
 

Elmore

Kingfisher
It's not a catch-all.

It's a broader general point about people seeking a Shrangila, as a silver bullet to any number of issues and failings they may have, which resulted in negative experiences in their homeland.

I also suspect it's very much an American sentiment. It's a huge economy & place. Europe's size & countries with smaller economies, in close proximity means that it's more natural to expat.
 

Easy_C

Crow
It means the person you are talking to has personal qualities that are likely to produce the same outcome no matter their circumstances.
 

Leonard D Neubache

Owl
Gold Member
Not many people have the ability to enter a foreign nation and make a comparable living among foreigners as they would in their home country.

You're misguided comparing earning minimum wage in NZ vs earning minimum wage in Hungary. Regardless of whether it's more pleasant than doing likewise in NZ you are squandering the enormous potential your homeland provides. Sure, it sucks if you intend to make minimum wage for the rest of your life and in places like Hungary that is indeed what many if not most people are stuck with. However in NZ you could without much difficult apply yourself to gain an apprenticeship as a plumber or an electrician, eat shit for three years and then start making between 100k-200k a year. You could do the same going through the military. Let's say you prefer to only work 4 days a week and call your income as a qualified tradesman 150k a year. We'll look at the time investment over a measly 10 years and see where you end up.

Year 1-3 is a wash so you get 7 years of making 150k. That results in a bit more than a million bucks.
Or work a shitty minimum wage for those 10 years in NZ where years 1-10 are (as you say) a wash.
Or work a shitty minimum wage in Hungary for 10 years and maybe have better time, but it's still a wash.

Realistically on the tradesman route you could work 6 months of the years and spend the other 6 months having a blast in Hungary not having to deal with being fleeced by gypsies for 180 euro. And the tradesman route is the basic bottom line path to wealth. There are guys on the forum that could teach you how to make much, much more than that.

But in Hungary you are never going to "make it" because when people talk about "making it" they don't mean living paycheck to paycheck. Avoiding homelessness and starvation is not "making it". It's just "surviving".
 
RE: Why do people say "If you can't make it in your own country you can't in anot...

Elmore said:
It's not a catch-all.

It's a broader general point about people seeking a Shrangila, as a silver bullet to any number of issues and failings they may have, which resulted in negative experiences in their homeland.

I also suspect it's very much an American sentiment. It's a huge economy & place. Europe's size & countries with smaller economies, in close proximity means that it's more natural to expat.
For sure, if you can't make it in America, you can't make it anywhere. With all those different states, climates, cultures and economic circumstance, there is something for everyone.

I also question what "making it" means.

When Europeans expatriate, they usually do it to make more money, but when Americans expatriate it's usually to live a more relaxed lifestyle.
 

placer

Kingfisher
RE: Why do people say "If you can't make it in your own country you can't in anot...

nomadbrah said:
I also question what "making it" means.

When Europeans expatriate, they usually do it to make more money, but when Americans expatriate it's usually to live a more relaxed lifestyle.
Also, wife seeking.

If I had stayed in the United States and only dated there, I would had died single: The only women I was dating before I left the country were land whales, about 2 or 3 on a 1-10 scale. I just could not stomach forcing myself to marry a land whale; it would had been impossible for me to consummate the marriage. Outside the country, I was able to date 6s and 7s, and ended up marrying an attractive solid 7.

I also was able to make enough money outside the US to pay all of my expenses. It wasn't a huge amount of money, but it also meant I didn't have to live off of savings while dating a number of attractive girls before finding my wife.
 
"Making it" is not surviving on minimum wage or medium wage. That obviously differs heavily from country to country. What people mean by that is that they make a success of themselves - reach a much higher social class or create a good business.

There are of course exceptions to that, but generally the saying is true. Those who succeed in a given country can also do it abroad. But not all professions are easily transferrable, some people have trouble with languages.

Unless that country is batshit insane with war and chaos or regressive backwardsness, then you should be able to make it.
 

debeguiled

Peacock
Gold Member
RE: "If you can't make it in your own country . . ."

This is a very general maxim, so don't take it personally.

There are some outliers who find themselves happier somewhere other than where they live, and it does happen for a certain few, that moving to a new place changes everything.

Most people who aren't comfortable in their own countries just stay there and complain, so if you are willing to get up and out and look around, you may find you are one of these outliers.

I do realize that for many on this forum, living in Oregon is a version of living Hades, but some people like it. I know a guy who grew up in New Jersey, and he was kind of a hippie, and he was into the environment and liberal political activism and smoking weed. He was a bright guy, a good writer, and he was completely miserable because to his family and his peers, he was a total freak. No one looked like him, or thought like him, or shared his values. He was mocked and ignored. This was in the 80's, so he couldn't find his tribe online.

For some reason he moved to Oregon, and he suddenly became, in Pacific Northwest terms, a raging success. Everyone else looked like him and cared about the same things, and with his restless east coast energy and competence, he was soon a pretty big leader in the environmental movement here, being the guy they interviewed on local news, and he even had pieces he had written published in the Christian Science Monitor.

In his case, he truly was a fish out of water in his home state, and all he had to do was move to completely turn everything around for himself. So it does happen. And no, smart asses, I am not secretly telling my own story.

Some people just have a greater affinity for a place other than where they grew up, and making the change changes everything.
 

911

Peacock
Gold Member
That, in a nutshell, is why beautiful states like California and Oregon were destroyed, getting the nutcases and dumb misfits from the rest of the country.
 

debeguiled

Peacock
Gold Member
RE: Why do people say "If you can't make it in your own country you can't in anot...

911 said:
That, in a nutshell, is why beautiful states like California and Oregon were destroyed, getting the nutcases and dumb misfits from the rest of the country.
You're welcome.
 

monsquid

Kingfisher
People love to complain about America by nowhere else can you find economic opportunity like in the US. If you play your cards right you can make enough money to buy your way out of most complaints on this forum.
 

Dallas Winston

Ostrich
Gold Member
I've only heard that in relation to women: "If you can't have success with attractive women in your country, you won't in another." Which, I also found to be false.

At least it's easier.
 
RE: Why do people say "If you can't make it in your own country you can't in anot...

That's rich coming from Kiwis. I can't tell you how many Kiwis I've met in Australia, all of them here for the work their home country couldn't provide for them.
 

Tactician

Kingfisher
Gold Member
RE: Why do people say "If you can't make it in your own country you can't in anot...

Strictly speaking, the statement is false, but people say it as a proxy for your mindset and willingness to take initiative. What they are trying to articulate is that there are opportunities everywhere especially in a first world country. They aren't talking about people in Afghanistan or some edge case, they are talking about someone (and probably mentally picturing some whiny millennial) who is unwilling to take initiative.

Here's a great example from the Why Men Are Avoiding College thread. Basically anyone who is able bodied and can travel to an upper-middle class neighborhood can do this.

Again, the statement taken literally is false, but what people mean is something like "you can't outrun a bad mindset and changing your external environment will not matter if you are bringing a crappy mindset with you." If you are going to another country specifically because you see a great opportunity there (teaching English in Vietnam), then you ARE taking initiative and the statement doesn't apply to you. So don't sweat it :)

Caractacus Potts said:
For actionable advice for someone who does not like school or simply does not have the grades to get into a good one. Maybe you have a DUI on your record or some other conviction that prevents you from joining the military let me suggest this as a possible immediate course of action:

1. Go to YouTube and watch a dozen videos about how to properly use a power washer.
2. Rent a power washer for a weekend from Home Depot for a $100 and learn to properly clean your parents driveway, deck, siding, sidewalks, etc.
3. Have some business cards and flyers made up.
4. Walk around affluent neighborhoods in a pressed collared shirt, khakis and shined shoes. Knock on doors and hang flyers. You are doing driveway, back deck cleaning for $100.
5. Set up 10 appointments for the coming weekend.

If you do all of the above you should be able to make $1000 over the course of the weekend. Less the $100 rental. Repeat step 4. Consider purchasing the best power washer you can. If you are not afraid of heights and are careful you can add cleaning gutters to your repertoire.

That plan requires very little skill and absolutely no education. But that is something that anyone with a little drive and some personality should be able to make a success of. I have toyed with the idea of setting up such a company and hiring the kids that I teach. There are insurance issues I have to look into but I think this is a viable business option for a young man who is really struggling and feels he is not good at anything.

TL;DR Don't entirely preclude advanced education but if you do make sure you have a solid backup plan.
 

Gremlin

Sparrow
RE: Why do people say "If you can't make it in your own country you can't in anot...

The Catalyst said:
I wanted to say in the title, but there wasn't enough space: Why do people say ridiculous things like "If you can't make it in your own country you can't in another country", and the other country is presumably as rich, or poorer than your own?

I'll give an example of someone like me. In NZ I struggled to get minimum wage jobs, which pay 11.5 USD/hr now. Arguably, the minimum wage is too high. But I applied for close to a hundred hours with very little to show for it. I had a few gigs here and there where my foreign friend/s wanted my help but for the most part Kiwis didn't want to know me. The rent and food are very expensive, my parents paid for everything, with many strings attached, but if I were to do it on my own, I'd have to pay ~500-550 USD/mo for a room in a shared house and ~300 USD/mo for food. Life was miserable and there was nothing much going on and I had no friends(well, Kiwi friends).

In a country like Vietnam, from what I'm told, with a TEFL I would be paid ~25 USD/hr since I love children and am literate/good with English. I'm not familiar with the costs, but I think the costs would be around ~250 USD/mo for rent, and ~100-200 USD/mo for food. It's a bit too hectic and noisy and stressful, but on the other hand Viets are good, hardworking people, Viet is on the up and up and you'll be making a real difference in peoples' lives as them knowing English just helps them so much in their professional career.
$25 an hour is the high end of the pay scale for ESL teaching. My first job was $15 and my second job at a private international school offered me $25 with 2.5 years of experience. I'm trying to get a second job at an English center that offers everyone $20 an hour regardless of experience. Teaching hours are between 17 and 24 a week.

An FYI: In my experience the better behaved and harder working students are at English centers, which have a reasonable number of students per classroom unlike the state schools. Most Vietnamese people will never need English.

What you say is true about making it. I could never afford to own property in the US, but here I can easily afford a $50,000 fully furnished two BR condo.
 
Top