While doing a comparison I would try not to sugarcoat anything nor would I like to reflect my emotions. I want to give a true insight of USA life as compare to Pakistan’s that describe the way of living, advantages and disadvantages of living in both countries. Every single person has different point of view towards life and people say different things about USA living for a Pakistani however as a normal practice people does not want to come back to Pakistan once they enter in United States. What charm does USA have that Pakistan does not? We will discuss in details.
Positive aspects of life in USA:
There is no comparison in development work as USA is a developed country whereas Pakistan is still progressing (developing country). The development can be seen everywhere, proper roads, flyovers, signals, proper road signs everywhere, every road has a name and a sign board with its name at each intersection, proper transportation, properly made and maintained buildings, government offices, banks and everything seems nearly perfect, garbage facilities and disposals, always available water, never ran out of electricity, gas, heating, low cost petrol etc
In Pakistan every other road is either worn out or never been made from the scratch, almost no road signs to guide you, only bigger roads have boards mentioning its name (without proper roads name signs it’s very difficult to guide a path to someone, people only knows the name by heart), no traffic signals on even busy roads, garbage is everywhere, you can see the ripped building, piled of dirt by the side of roads where people use to walk, no water in many areas, no sidewalks, no gas, no electricity, where electricity is present there is sever load shedding, not enough petrol pumps to meet people needs, everything is on lower side, when people get these facilities on lower prices they get overwhelmed with joy.
Peace & Safety:
If we keep current Pakistani situation in mind then there is NOT a close comparison for peace situation, USA have never seen any bombing or attacks since 9-11 and in Pakistan thousands of people dies due to bombings and suicide attacks. Every normal person anywhere is scared of the fact that Pakistan is no more a safe place to live so they just want to leave it to get anywhere they can to save their and their family’s life.
If for a moment we keep aside the thought of bombing in Pakistan (that is not easy to keep aside) and remember our Pakistan as it was before these bombings then what is the safety differences?
It’s very difficult however still if we keep current Pakistani situation aside still in Pakistan there is almost no value of human life however in USA each human life has given value and even loss of a single person is felt by everyone in social surroundings.
In USA, safety precautionary measures are taken before starting or completing anything and people in United States completely follows the quotation “Safety is our first priority” they knows how important a human life is. No heavy equipment remain present where humans are present, road work is properly planned and reported before startup, people can view sings clearly stating “road work ahead” to guide the driver about safety precautions and slowing down, cranes remain distant from people, the hazardous material used in buildings kept away in safe distance Everything is judged from safety perspective before getting approved. A simple example can be, where the butcher cut the meat on his machine or tools, people cannot enter in that area, not like Pakistan where children plays around the butcher while he is cutting the meat.
Ease of managing stuff from home via internet:
In United States almost everything can be done online, paying a bill or buying an item, you might not need to go anywhere, you will just switch on your computer and can access millions of items available online for sale, you can select the best item with best price while reading online reviews and comparing rates of different stores. Similarly every government office’s bill, tax, insurance fees, can be paid online with a click of a button, no need to wait in long queues to pay the bill or just to get a simple job done. You can apply online for a credit card, if it gets approved you receive your card at home and you can shop online, and pay the bill online, literally without moving you can get almost every job done.
United States – Land of opportunities:
Some people say that USA is a land of opportunities, whoever gets there gets something. I cannot agree with it completely but yes to some extent there are many ways to earn money even while you are sitting at home. People usually buy used or bulk items on low price and sell them on higher price. Some people buy trucks and help people get moving. Part time jobs are easily available, if you do not want to work as a full time worker, get a part time job easily and get going. Actually it’s so easy to approach people online for the service, they offer the job online and other people can contact them online. A simple example may be, after snow people advertise their service availability for snow removal for $20 per hour etc. They make extra money in extra time and even smaller jobs are well paid.
Equal opportunities for everyone:
I often heard people saying that “He was so keen to go to USA and now he is riding a Taxi, what a shame, wasn’t he happy with his respectable job in Pakistan” The answer is “NO” he was not happy, getting 10,000PKR for a clerk job and earning a $3000 (Approximately 240,000PKR) per month is totally different. Even if he send $300 (a small amount of his pay) to his parents or family that become around 24,000PKR and their family can maintain a better standard of living.
The answer to the second question regarding respectable profession would be that in Unites States everyone respects every profession. You may never feel bad to be a taxi driver until you meet a Pakistan who realizes you are a lower level person. Pakistani people who are on better positions treats them as taxi drivers but mostly Americans do not. Isn’t it funny because Islam teaches us about equal rights of every human with no priority due to his wealth? (It’s the deeds on the basis of which Allah give preference to human). So we must respect every profession and should not feel bad for someone who is just trying to give a better living to his family.
Free schools for all children:
The education in schools is free and children from different cultural backgrounds and ethnicities study together with no priorities. Every area has a school that only allows children from that particular area to take admission. Even if you do not want you have to, or change the place where you live. Almost all school follows the same curriculum and maintains similar standards of education so you do not need to worry in a way that my child future is at stake or his life will be ruined if he will study in a government school. The way of schooling should be followed in every Islamic country as it discourage discrimination where rich get better education and poor sometimes does not get education at all.
Concept of bribery, corruption and power:
Issues of bribery arise where people are in power and there is no check on them. in this situation people seek benefits in form of extra money from other people, misuse their power in a way that your task does not get completed without bribe and you does not even get justice. In USA you hardly find any government or police employee taking bribe along with his salary. Sadly in Pakistani it’s very difficult to get even a simple job done through government institutes without giving bribe. Whether you want a gas connection at your home or you are asking for justice at police station, some policemen even misuse their power threatening you to remain calm against the rich gentry. This situation makes it difficult for honest Pakistani’s to remain honest and they get frustrated. They find this way very attractive where you just go to the office, everything is crystal clear, and your job gets done in specified time, if not you know what to do next. People do not misuse their powers against poor and honest persons. Bribery is strongly prohibited in Quran still Pakistani’s does not feel harm continuing their corrupt activities.
Respect for elderly, handicapped and special people:
Old people, handicapped or special people (with some abnormality) get special attention in every walk of life. They do not get humiliated but treated with love affection and care, even divorced men and women lives freely without being rejected by the community. The handicapped children study in same schools as normal children do and they get extra attention from teachers. It sounds perfect and Islam also teaches us to treat everyone on equal basis specially Quran instruct us to take care of those who are left alone in the society for any reason (Maskeen) however in Pakistan such people are rejected by the community.
Affordability of necessities of life:
If you are determined and hardworking, you end up earning money enough for maintain a good living standard where you can afford almost all necessities of life. Starting with food that is the (basic necessity of living) most affordable in any household. You can prepare food at home on very low cost; prepared food is also available with bit higher cost however still affordable for lower income groups. In Pakistan food is expensive for poor and thousands of people dies due to poverty and hunger. In USA you can easily afford television and other electronics at home, if you cannot buy new, you can buy used on very lower price, I remember buying a used Sony 27” television for $50 that works perfect. Similarly if you cannot afford new car, you can always buy a used one even for a $1000. We bought a perfect 1999 Honda Accord 1999 model for $4000. In Pakistan even used cars are out of reach of most people and people need to rely on public transport or local transport that is mostly in bad shape except for Daewoo Bus service in some cities.
No male domination:
Men and women are treated equally or at-least people are of the view that they think they should be treated equality. Discrimination can be found in some areas however it’s not open and you might not find anyone saying that men are superior. In Pakistan most men think they are superior and Islam has given them preference over woman however it’s not correct according to the teaching of Quran, the educated people of current age realizes that and treat women equality in every walk of life. Due to the male chauvinism some Pakistani men in USA does not help their women at home even if they are working like men. In USA men and women both share every chore whether it’s household chore or outside work.
No interference and personal questions:
No one interfere in your life and people never ask embarrassing personal questions. The example of which are “when you will get married” “why you are not getting any suitable match” after wedding “when you are informing about good news” now tell me if a couple does not want to get parents right away after marriage then this question seems odd and if they are not becoming parents by the will of Allah then its most embarrassing that you are asking the question that they never feel comfortable answering. There are few examples there are hundreds we found related to invading in others privacy where as in Islam Allah strictly prohibits the curiosity regarding others.
Negative aspects of USA life
Love of family, near and dear ones:
Nothing is more important in life than living with the loved ones. Most people gives many types of sacrifices to settle here among which the first one is to leave your wife and children behind. Some people fund their family but stays apart. Just imagine the life of such family when husband comes back to home from work and no one is there to ask him for dinner and comfort him on the other hand wife is helpless in Pakistan counting days when her husband will come to meet her and helpless to complete even the smaller household tasks. The children miss their father and so on. It’s wrong according to Islam as well, Allah asks husband and wife to live together and comfort each other, that’s the beauty of this relationship.
If someone has his/her spouse with him /her then both husband and wife miss their parents and siblings. Its really hard to live without your parents being so far, where you are always worried whether they are ok, it really feels bit selfish that in their old age we have left them alone. We miss our brothers and sisters and their company. With time pass we might forget this feeling but this beautiful feeling should always be kept in heart and we should always thank Allah to give us a family that loves us
Even if we have our parents and family with us we still miss the Pakistani food, clothing, culture, mosques, Eid festivals, and friends, in simple words miss everything associated with Pakistan. We try to stay close to Pakistani people and search for Pakistani food all over USA.
Unfortunately, people in USA are cold here and their relationships bonds are not that strong as in Pakistan. According to the U.S. Census Bureau 2007, there are approximately 13.6 million single parents in the United States those are responsible for raising 21.2 million children (approximately 26% of children under 21). Now imagine how much psychological issues they might have and they might never get satisfaction of being raised. Everyone is so selfish in their relationship that they just demand and hardly think of sacrifice so husband and wife get separation or divorce leaving children crying in despair.
Similarly according to the U.S. Census Bureau 2007, among the mothers with custody of these children
- 44% were currently divorced or separated
- 33% had never been married
- 22% were married (In most cases, women who have remarried.)
- 1% were widowed
Psychos and people with mental disorder:
In Pakistan you hardly find people with mental disorders, people face tough situations and remain thankful to Allah and fight with their situations keeping their final destination of heaven at judgment day. Americans does not follow this concept of heaven and mostly does not even know the purpose of creation by God. Due to the perfect goal in life and parting relationships of their parents of themselves many people get mentally ill. In 2004 census in United States an estimated 26.2 percent of Americans ages 18 and older (about one in four adults) suffered from a diagnosable mental disorder, about 6 percent (about one in seventeen) were those who suffered from a serious mental illness. These mental disorders are the leading cause of disability in the U.S. for ages 15 to 44.
These people are usually threat for people living around; you never know what’s in a mind of a person who is mentally ill. The violent murders are common here where people kill other people just for their satisfaction. Similarly rapes, brutal murders are also common. In Pakistan the crime is also common but in USA I never felt safe in a way that “I do not know when a psycho comes and kills me just for having brown skin or being a Muslim” whenever any negative news related to Muslims emerges on television Muslims are warned for possible threat from extremist groups that does not want the Muslims to live in USA. The situation is not same as it was before Sep 11, 2001.
Racism & discrimination violence in USA:
I personally never face racism in United States however heard many stories but the friends who told these stories never directly had any experience so I can say that I have never seen or face any issue regarding racism.
To read more about Racism refer to this link:
People in USA does not expect the unexpected:
Due to the circumstances and the environment we brought up Pakistanis are tough and knows how to make things right. Pakistani people are prepared for unexpected thus going extra mile while taking education and making name for themselves, thousands of Pakistani’s are working outside Pakistani and serving many nations with the services and kind of work they are providing. If you compare an average American, he is born in comfort without realizing the hardships of life Pakistani’s has to face, everything is done for him with ease. He born and riding on a car with his parents and get every facility of life since he born. Being a Pakistani usually we have to work hard since our child hood, our parents might not able to give every facility people are giving here to their children. We have to work very hard since our childhood. We need to study hard, we struggle since childhood and get stronger, tougher and smarter than many people that is why many people get immigration to Canada, Australia and successfully work in USA. That’s because he is capable and he knows how to do his job.
On other aspects of life as well, mostly Americans does not think through many things because they have been spoon fed and given clear instruction of everything from the beginning so they always seek instructions. Even on television if the anchor is saying that this is going right or wrong they believe it, they are not curious and hardly research. This is the reason people does not raise alarms because they never think that anything is going wrong. Many people ask me what is the point of view of many Americans about the bombing and killing in Afghanistan and my answer is just they do not research to see what’s going on, they rely on the information provided on television and stick to that only.
Most expensive medical services and one of the worst as well:
The biggest problem I have faced since I have entered in USA is the medical services and treatment. It’s not like Pakistan when you get sick you visit a nearest doctor pays 50PKR (less than a dollar) and get the medicine in the same money. If you do not want to local clinic and wants a specialist don’t worry, for 1000PKR (around $10) you can visit the best doctor in town who will check you and will suggest tests or suggest you the medicines right away and you can have your medicines right away from the nearest pharmacy.
Medical system is quite complicated in USA, without insurance you might not get treated, for normal illness you need to take appointment that can take up-to a month to consult with a doctor. You can only get antibiotics with prescription and any ailment that you had before will not be covered in the insurance and will be considered as pre existing condition. If you are planning a baby, insurance will cost too high and even with a normal birth and excellent insurance you might end up paying $3000 from your pocket. You need to read lots of instructions before buying insurance because most of them will even cover your pregnancy after 1 year of continuous insurance. I have gone through many confusing insurance companies website that offers insurance with maternity coverage and none of them was less than $300 per month and still paying more than $2000 from my pocket. If you are getting insurance from your company or from anyone for free it’s a blessing. Mostly insurances doesn’t cover dental treatments and if not insured a simple root canal many cost you $1200 – $1600 so if you have problems with your teeth you need to buy extra dental coverage for more money. Even with paying so much monthly cost on insurance you still need to pay from your pocket in between and at the end of the treatment. Again it’s complicated, you will feel like someone is robbing you in day light and you cannot do anything.
Doctors in USA are even not as efficient as doctors in Pakistan, people often complain about doctors in Pakistan but believe me with lesser facilities they are much more experienced. In USA a doc who check 30 patients are considered to be busy. Imagine any clinic or hospital doctor and you cannot imagine how much more patient they deal than 30 on daily basis.
Not only do Americans pay much more for medical treatment than anyone else in the world, they also bear the brunt of the most medical errors, according to a survey covering the USA U.S. patients with health problems reported experiencing medical mistakes, medication errors, or inaccurate or delayed lab results
Americans are the most likely to have to pay out-of-pocket expenses over $1,000, and 34 percent of the American patients surveyed said they had encountered either medication errors, wrong test results, late test results or treatment errors.
One-third (34%) of U.S. respondents reported at least one of four types of errors: they believed they experienced a medical mistake in treatment or care, were given the wrong medication or dose, were given incorrect test results, or experienced delays in receiving abnormal test results. Source: www.consumeraffairs.com
According to Wikipedia, U.S., medical errors are estimated to result in 44,000 to 98,000 unnecessary deaths and 1,000,000 excess injuries each year. One older extrapolation suggests 180,000 people die each year partly as a result of iatrogenic injury, the equivalent of three jumbo-jet crashes every 2 days.
The most challenging situation a person can face is the brought up of your children in this environment. With the time when you child is rising up, you might notice that it’s difficult for him to adapt Urdu language even if you speak it all day long at your place. Some people do not bother at all because for being a Pakistani we always make English closer to our hearts but some Pakistani wants their children to know their national language, there is no exposure of Urdu language for a kid only the time she spend with his / her parents that is not much if he is studying in a full time school. For giving him exposure to Urdu, Pakistan and Arabic Language for making him learn the Quran you have do extra hardwork, you need to teach him everything I have mentioned above, there might be some Islamic school that teaches Sipara or Quran so that your child become able to read it and understand it however what about all other things that are necessary according to Allah and are mentioned in Quran like respecting their parents, the parents have every right towards their children to stop them from any unacceptable activity. Guiding them what a respect of a women is in Quran and most important prepare him to represent his religion “Islam” because since his early age his fellow will start asking questions as soon they will know he is a Muslim. They must know that Muslims and Quran does not support terrorism at all and put those people in hell who takes innocent lives. They will be humiliated by some of their friends by being a virgin even at the age of 22 or 24, they must know Allah’s command which restricts them from sexual activities and limited them to their husbands and wives only. They must know that they cannot eat Pork at all; they cannot even taste the alcohol. Sounds difficult? Yes it is, it takes almost double the energy of parents to bring up their children following the same rules as you did follow. Some people says that the environment is bigger cities like Lahore, Karachi & Islamabad are not different that USA. I think that there are people who are liberal enough to continue these activities in Pakistan as well however mostly people dislikes and stop people doing these activities and there is an environment that effects you in somewhat positive way to help making your children realize what’s not good for family.
If it’s not working throw it away:
The labor cost for repairing anything is too high that most often you would like to buy a new item and throw away the non functioning item. For smaller things yes sometimes it frustrate however for bigger things you really feel yourself doomed. Let’s say one of your cell phone has stopped working and you do not have any insurance for it (Yes mobile phones also have insurance plans) then the cost of repairing will be almost equal to buying a new phone. In some big cities where there are people ready to accept smaller amounts to fix anything you might get lucky to find someone to fix it for you on lower price but I have never seen anyone. If you are using a car for say 5 years and you have bought it new, for some reason its transmission fails or you hit a tree and the engine completely damages, then for the $25,000 car no one will give you a $1000 and if you would like to repair it then the cost will be too high for you to decide buying a new car instead and the accidental or the damaged car will go to junk yard for which you will have to tow it there and what you will get is $100.
It have a positive aspect as well, every person whether doing any job earns money to give his family a better standard of living still, apart from the time labor spend, the cost is way too much.
You have to do Everything yourself:
For younger people yes it might not be difficult to clean the house, to cook food, to do laundry and take care of the kids, everything needs to be done by yourself, elder people find it difficult without help and if they hire someone to do some household work for them they have to pay them and the pay should not be lesser than the minimum hourly wage rate, its usually more than that because no one like to clean someone else’s home. The women with children at home often get overwhelmed with work when she needs to take care of the children and the home all alone and most of them are even working. The women in USA has advantage than the Pakistani women that their husbands share the same burden as the wife do but the Pakistani men are always reluctant to do household work, they would never want to clean the bathtub and rub the bathroom floor so the burden on the woman increases drastically and one point she just quit job. It’s good to do our own work however since childhood most of us are use to of at least a cleaning lady at our homes, most of them washes cloths, dishes, press the clothes and sometimes they will cook food as well. When you have kid you mostly have a servant working closely with you to help you take care of your child. When all those facilities ends at once, you feel over burdened sometimes, but hey its not that tough do not worry because the cleaning is not that difficult as it is in Pakistan. you can afford to vacuum your carpet once a week, twice a month clean the furniture as the dust is not much. However cleaning bathroom and kitchen are the jobs you need to do on daily basis. Still there is a huge variety of cleaning products and tools that really makes your job easy.
Forget your tradition clothes & accessories:
It’s almost impossible to find any traditional colorful dresses we use to wear in pakistan, you may find some website where they offer Pakistani cloths but their quality, material is not that good plus they hardly match the size you wear. If you want to wear traditional cloths then your choice become so limited that whatever you get traditional you wear it. You will not feel the same relaxation of shopping again where you buy a cloth for yourself, then matches the laces and think about the design you might stitch, often give your Dupatta to dyers for your choice of color. Give it to the tailor and get it stitched exact according to your size. The labor cost makes it impossible to stitch anything of your size so you always need to rely on the clothing you can buy from the stores, and as the shape of the American woman body is different from Pakistan woman it’s often hard to get pants of your size that fits exactly how you want it to be.
The shoes on the other hand, are so dull, colorless and without any beautiful design, whenever you will wear traditional shoes it will be appraised because the shoes here are no match for what we use to wear in Pakistan, the extremely fashionable and fancy shoes. On the other hand in comfortable shoes you will find a huge verity from where you can chose from but the shoes usually are too expensive that you just feel throwing your money. How about buying a pair of sneakers for $70 (around 6000PKR) it really hurts when you are use to buying even a best sneaker from Bata for 2000PKR (around $25).
The jewelry, say good bye to your fancy earrings, pendants, Jhumkaas, and all the big fancy beaded jewelry with lots of stones and get ready to experience the smaller jewelry items that are sometimes hard to notice that yes you are wearing something. Sometimes delicate jewelry seems good but not all the time. The informal jewelry is so cheap looking that you might never want to wear that. We use to buy excellent quality earrings for 1000PKS (around $10) from Pakistan and here in $10 you will get cheap looking imitations. The high quality jewelry is gold plated or made with gold that is pretty expensive to buy and still very small earrings, rings, necklace that you feel like wasting your money. One more catch, you think lets buy a gold item, it will be a benefit even after many years and will not get wasted. It will, because the highest gold purity you may find here is 18K (1b carat) in Pakistan the gold is wither 22K or 24K means it’s almost pure so you can sell it afterwards. Here reselling gold item means losing money so buy gold with a thought that it might not be return the same value you bought it for.