The United States: Still the Land of Opportunity?

Like many of my friends and other college students, it is now time for me to examine how I’m going to find a job and make a living. Our passive economy constantly needs stimulus injections from the government just to keep our country from collapse. Maybe it is time to step back and view the current situation in America from an unbiased viewpoint, and the option of working and living abroad as future college graduates.

From August until now, I’ve been abroad interning and studying the economies of the Pacific Rim in Sydney, Australia. I’ve interned at a young financial advice startup and have stumbled upon marketing work at a 5 star lodge in New Zealand.

In a sentence, I believe working abroad after graduating may be where the opportunity is at.

I’ve had the chance recently to live in Australia and New Zealand. These cities and countries are growing at rates that would make the U.S. cringe. So to help me organize where I may be interested in living and working, I organized a summary on each country when it comes to career opportunities.


Australia is rich in minerals, which China is in continuous demand for. Mining is Australia’s biggest industry, which means as long as China’s growing, Australia’s economy will do the same. Most people don’t know about Australia’s insanely high minimum wage, which in Sydney is around $18.00/hour. Now that the Aussie dollar is on par with the U.S. dollar, this makes for a healthy wage if you’re flipping burgers. Goods and the standard of living in Australia is a bit more expensive, but if you were able to jumpstart your career here, you could see wages around in the $25 to $40 an hour range.

When it comes to quality of life, Australia is a hidden gem. Sydney and Melbourne are two modern, international cities that have distinctly different personalities. Sydney is flashier with all the fancy tourist sites. Its sunny weather and beaches make for laid back weekends that make life seem too easy. Melbourne offers a more metropolitan and cultural feel with a well developed downtown. Its beautiful graffiti scene, streetside cafes, and a narrow alleyways give it an artsy feel that I find similar to a blend between San Francisco and New York. Both cities are a blend of East and West, which can make the culture feel like Chicago or Chiang Mai depending on your neighborhood. This I love.

New Zealand-

Tourism and farming are New Zealand’s biggest industries. It was hit a bit harder by the financial crisis due to its reliance on tourism, but has bounced back well and is seeing increased immigration similar to Australia.

If you’re a city person, then Auckland, Wellington, or even Christchurch may be for you. The minimum wage in New Zealand is 12.75/hour. What New Zealand has over any other country is vast amounts of natural beauty within a half hour’s drive of any of its cities. Whether its mountain biking, snowboarding, kayaking, or hiking, New Zealand’s cities are close to what many believe is an outdoor paradise.