A Foreigner’s Perspective: Dual citizen shares his opinion on the US

Frost Hunter, Staff Writer

Writer’s note: The following article is intended to be a humorous contrast between New Zealand and the U.S.

After moving to the United States from New Zealand, I have collected quite a few observations on the country, both positive and negative.

First, the airports. I would like to point out how confusing the airports are. The second we got off the plane and entered the Los Angeles airport we got turned around. That airport is 135 square kilometers in total, or 1,456,254,360 square feet if you are a patriot, which you are. The biggest airport in New Zealand is only 23 square kilometres, or 247,551,480 square feet, if you need perspective.

Speaking of measurements: the metric system. One of the main reasons the U.S. is known to be resistant to widespread change is its continued refusal to use the metric system. Why this steadfast, unbreakable loyalty to the imperial system? Even the bloody creators of the system don’t even use it anymore. After using both the metric and imperial systems, I find the metric system much easier to use. Honestly, would people really rather use fractions in every measurement instead of counting to 10? In the metric system, 10 millimeters is 1 centimetre, 100 centimetres is 1 metre, and 1000 metres is 1 kilometre. Some would argue it would cost a ton of money to switch from the imperial system, but that is incorrect. For example, when you order a sandwich in New Zealand, you don’t order a 0.3048 metre sandwich, you order a footlong. My point is, you don’t have to switch absolutely everything over, just the things that make sense.

On a more serious note: summer break. Why hasn’t the U.S. gotten rid of this yet? Hear me out. I’m saying there are better daily schedule options that would help students not feel so overwhelmed when school is in session. The only reason the U.S. implemented summer break in the first place is because people needed their children to help them farm. I know this is an unpopular opinion, but honestly, having three months off adds two bloody hours to your daily school schedule. Just shorten it to one month or less and call it a day at 1 p.m., or take a breather and sleep in until 8 a.m. For me, spending three months off instead of my usual two weeks was like taking sandpaper to my brain, effectively erasing all of the top-notch material I had learned that year.

Controversial topic alert: don’t get upset. Public health care. The U.S. is known for the excellent quality of life to Americans, but public healthcare not being a thing is a very big downside for me. Don’t get me wrong, private healthcare has benefits as well. Such as increased quality of health care and no wait times, but I feel like healthcare being institutionalized is inefficient and a bit unethical. What if your insurance company finds a reason to not cover you? By allowing insurance companies to make a profit, the question of priorities skews the system. Insurance companies may be prioritizing financial gain over taking care of their clients. Some may argue that having public and private healthcare doesn’t work, but New Zealand does it this way. Public healthcare allows the average citizen to get treated for free, as long as the treatment is necessary for survival, to relieve pain, etc. This means no free cosmetic surgeries (that means you, 1.4% of the US population). Here in the states, hospitals are required to assist you if you are in need of a life-saving surgery, but you will still have to go into life-ruining debt if you end up surviving.

Let’s keep going with medicine.  Medicine being advertised as a product is kind of bad. It is, in fact, illegal in New Zealand. As in, they don’t allow it. As in, companies break the law if they advertise medicine, even if that advertisement features a cute yellow lab or a person going on a hike in the woods. American medical advertisements usually give us one minor good thing, such as: “Improve your skin!” And then spout off 20 lethal downsides such as: Taking this could result in organ failure, death, depression, mental illness, brain damage, and/or severe addiction to fast-food, like 37% of the U.S. adult population. They say this at the speed of bloody light as well, either to prevent people from hearing it, or because there are so many downsides they need to speak faster to fit everything into their short ad.

I don’t mean to be so harsh on the systems the U.S. has in place. Since living here, I’ve picked up on a few American customs that New Zealand would benefit from adopting. I’ve noticed the kindness to strangers here. When someone walks down the street in the states, random people will say “hi” or “good morning,” which is mostly unheard of in New Zealand. There, people would either straight up ignore you or give a brisk wave. New Zealand’s population usually is too focused on where they are going rather than greeting and being nice to passerby. It kind of caught me off  guard when I came here.

Despite the barrage of insulting material, the United States is an incredible country to live in. I’m sure that if someone from the U.S. moved to New Zealand, they could write a similar commentary from the opposite viewpoint. I understand why so many people flock to the U.S. Everything is cheaper here, the education is excellent, and it is by far the most culturally diverse country I’ve ever been in. It’s also the funniest country to tease.