Wednesday, 21 February 2018

Moving to the United States Q&A

I get a lot of questions on frequent about moving to America, the logistics of it, the experience etc. So I decided to do a little Q&A. Over on Instagram, I asked for some questions and this is what I got! Such an easy blog post to write! I hope I've answered any questions you may have but if I haven't, leave it in the comments and I'll add it to the post! 

"What are you doing in the US and how did you find that opportunity?"
I'm doing an industrial placement year as part of my degree. It's like study abroad but working instead. My internship is a full year long and I'm doing research. I also have some university work to complete outside of work, but not a lot. The company I work for hire interns from my university every year which is how I found the programme.

"Is the best part about moving to America getting to hang out with me and my mom yes or no?" - This was from Leda.
YES. Second place is Swedish Fish.

"What's surprised you the most?"
What's actually really surprised me is how run down a lot of the US is, and how much poverty there is. In the town I live in, you can walk from houses that cost millions of dollars to really poor areas in about 10 minutes. Things also just generally seem run down, especially public areas like parks and the pavements (should I say sidewalks?). It's quite startling.

"What are the biggest differences you've noticed?"
Food is considerably more expensive here and there's so much more choice in the stores it's a little overwhelming. 

"How do you handle all the weird food?"
The food here is probably my biggest struggle and I'm limited by what stores I can stop at based on walking distance. I've basically gone mostly vegetarian because I don't really like the look of a lot of the meat. My meals are either really unhealthy or like, salad. I can't wait to get back to Tesco and Lidl. 

"Don't the constant TV ads get suuuuuper annoying?"
Fortunately, I only really want TV online so I don't really see a lot of ads. The one show I do watch on TV (The Bachelor) has a TONNE of ads and it does annoy me! They also have a lot of ads for medicine which is weird because they also are legally required to list the side effects.

"What is your go to meal when you get home from work?"
This was from my housemate, Theona. Our local supermarket sells these seasoned fries and it's so easy to just shove them into the oven and be done with it. They're delicious. I have no shame. 

"Is there anything you prefer about the US?"
I like how much cheaper it is to go out for meals. Going to restaurants is one of my favourite things to do with my friends and it's nice to be able to do that on a more regular basis. Food shopping is so expensive here compared to back at home that sometimes it's only a few dollars difference between a homecooked meal and a restaurant dish.

"What are the biggest cultural differences you faced when moving from the UK to the US?"
There's definitely a big difference between how extroverted the average American is compared to the average Brit. Americans are very loud and chatty. I find this a little overwhelming at times and find myself needing a bit more down time than I usually do. 

"What sort of visa do you have and was it easy to get?"
I have the J-1 visa which is the educational/cultural exchange visa because I'm here for a year on an industrial placement training internship as part of my degree. It was a lot of paperwork and I had to attend an interview at an embassy but apart from that I didn't come up against any barriers if you know what I mean. 

"Was it expensive to get a visa?"
I think my visa cost me about $150 so not that expensive in the grand scheme of things. However, I had to attend an interview at a US embassy to get the visa and the only ones in the UK are in Belfast and London. I went to Belfast so I had to pay for my flights. In the end it ended up costing me around £300. 

"What do you do about healthcare?"
I have health insurance through work. I pay $50 any time I go see a doctor and then 20% of the healthcare costs. It's not the best situation but I pay a lot less tax so I guess it evens out. Very excited to get back to the NHS.

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