One thing which fascinates me to no end is how two countries which are separated by just a border can be so different (of course there are similarities!). Think Malaysia and Singapore...
I can see that over here in North America too. Although Canada has many similarities to the US, there are some things which are very different. Healthcare comes to mind...
I hear my friends and/or acquaintances in the States grumbling about healthcare and how it is exorbitantly expensive to seek medical care. Many don't have insurance.
And I realise how lucky I am to be here in Canada.
Canadians pay alot when it comes to taxes, especially here in Ontario where the tax is 13%. So everything that you plan to buy, be prepared to add an additional 13% to the price tag. Needless to say, shopping ain't much fun.
But healthcare, especially if you need regular healthcare, is great. The waitlist is long, and it is a pain that you need a referal for everything, but when you do get in, it's awesome!
I go for physiotherapy and hydrotherapy now (Note: At least in Ontario--I don't know about other provinces--services such as physio, occupational therapy, dental and prescription drugs require the patient to pay 20%; other services like hospital/doctor visits, diagnostic tests/bloodwork are free) for my double joints, in addition to my ballet. And in just these short 6 months, I can already see the difference.
I fell just the other day that resulted in a big bruise on my knee. But unlike the previous times where I would have limped quite a bit for some days, this time, I was able to walk just fine. In fact, I could even go for ballet just a couple days after and jump around.
And I really like my physiotherapist because she tailors my exercise such that I can do it in the university gym (which is connected to the physiotherapy clinic) or at home with regular things like textbooks.
The healthcare Canada provides (remember we pay a substantially high tax) is a welcome blessing, although the waitlist is a real pain. Regardless of the waitlist, if it weren't for the healthplan, I'm sure many students like me will shun hospitals even when we're horribly ill. Like when I needed the hospital in my first year (a real bad case of the flu), I could at least rest assured I won't get a heart attack when the bill came.
All I had to pay was 20% of the ambulance fee--I paid $45 in case anyone's wondering.
Which I found out THIS year, my extended coverage plan would have covered the other 20% (Darn!)...