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Moving to Ann Arbor

Moving to Ann Arbor

Old Jan 17th 2016, 8:52 pm
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Default Moving to Ann Arbor

Hi there. I've just found out that we are moving to Michigan with my partners job. We currently live in Switzerland where I was lucky enough to find work in an international company.

Now I have to give this all up for the next move. We have decided on Ann Arbor as we have heard it's quite nice but will go for a look see in the coming weeks. Can anyone advise me what the area is like and how difficult it is to find employment, I am an Administrative Assistant / PA.

I've previously worked in China and found employment there too but wonder if I will be lucky again in Ann Arbor. And if I'm not is there enough to do / a good expat community there.

Any advice would be greatly appreciated How easy it is to make friends things to watch out for, all usual expat stuff that we all need when we move somewhere

Thanks a lot
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Old Jan 17th 2016, 9:12 pm
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Default Re: Moving to Ann Arbor

You say "partner." Unless you are married you will not be eligible for any kind of derivative visa that would permit you to work in the US and would have to settle for a B2 cohabitation visa.
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Old Jan 17th 2016, 9:27 pm
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Default Re: Moving to Ann Arbor

Thanks yes we know this. Our wedding was planned for next year but now we are bringing it forward to suit. Do you have any other comments re living there?
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Old Jan 17th 2016, 11:49 pm
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Default Re: Moving to Ann Arbor

AA is a college town, really nice vibe, loads of great restaurants and events, and with the various large companies in the area there's usually a lot of expats in the general area. The many companies should give you some employment options.
Will your partner be working in AA?
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Old Jan 18th 2016, 4:18 am
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Smile Re: Moving to Ann Arbor

Hi there. Yes my partner will be working about a 40 mins drive away but after some research (and he lived in Troy before) we came up with Ann Arbor.

It sounds a nice place from the feedback I've had so far. I'm wondering will there be enough going on for me to keep myself occupied (I'm in the fortunate position where it's not desperate that I work).

This will be our third expat assignment together and I have worked all my life. I like the routine, having my own independence etc. Something to talk about at the end of the day and having a purpose.

I've always been lucky to get employment although it took me 8 months in Switzerland as I don't speak German and it is a difficult market. Does anyone have feedback on how difficult the market is in AA. I don't have a degree am educated to o level standard only, but am a very experienced PA and I've always had great feedback from everywhere I've worked. In the time I'm waiting for my EDA ( I think I need this to work right) I was thinking of doing some sort of administration course to get a certificate.

Would this be beneficial / help me in the market? Or perhaps I should just relax and enjoy AA and concentrate on keeping a nice home, going to the gym and making friends lol. I am in my early 40's but I'm a young 40 something lol
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Old Jan 18th 2016, 7:34 am
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Default Re: Moving to Ann Arbor

Originally Posted by Theduchess View Post
Hi there. Yes my partner will be working about a 40 mins drive away but after some research (and he lived in Troy before) we came up with Ann Arbor.

It sounds a nice place from the feedback I've had so far. I'm wondering will there be enough going on for me to keep myself occupied (I'm in the fortunate position where it's not desperate that I work).

This will be our third expat assignment together and I have worked all my life. I like the routine, having my own independence etc. Something to talk about at the end of the day and having a purpose.

I've always been lucky to get employment although it took me 8 months in Switzerland as I don't speak German and it is a difficult market. Does anyone have feedback on how difficult the market is in AA. I don't have a degree am educated to o level standard only, but am a very experienced PA and I've always had great feedback from everywhere I've worked. In the time I'm waiting for my EDA ( I think I need this to work right) I was thinking of doing some sort of administration course to get a certificate.

Would this be beneficial / help me in the market? Or perhaps I should just relax and enjoy AA and concentrate on keeping a nice home, going to the gym and making friends lol. I am in my early 40's but I'm a young 40 something lol
A minor point but a daily (one way?) drive of 40 minutes in the snow 4 or 5 months per year could be much longer and very tedious.
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Old Jan 18th 2016, 11:44 am
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Default Re: Moving to Ann Arbor

I'm just down the road in Farmington Hills. AA is a nice place to live, a reasonable expat community, lots of nice restaurants, bars, etc. There are a number of meetup.com groups that meet there if you want to get to know people. Where is your partner commuting to? As nice as AA is, you might want to live closer to his workplace and avoid such a long commute. Job-wise - I didn't have a degree when I moved here and found it very difficult, to be honest (although I'm in a totally different field). You might want to look at whether you have any prior education/certificates that you could use as credit to put towards an associates degree, or use your time waiting for your EAD to take some community college credits. Washtenaw College is pretty near you. You could also use your time waiting for your EAD (and now!) making sure you've got your LinkedIn profile up to date and added your new location, you will probably find that recruitment agencies reach out to you.

Last edited by NatashaB; Jan 18th 2016 at 11:46 am.
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Old Jan 18th 2016, 3:38 pm
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Default Re: Moving to Ann Arbor

Hi Natasha B. The education thing is definitely something I was going to work towards. And yes I will mention the commute thing although AA was my other halfs choice of location but a few people have mentioned the commuting time
Can I ask are you in employment now? And if so what steps did you take and how long did it take you. The Swiss market is difficult but if you try hard enough the jobs are there it's just that a lot of people give up if they don't get something straight away. Would you say that's the same in AA. I've been looking at the job market in my field and the qualifications listed are high school diploma or experience. But I don't know if they are just being seen as an equal opportunity employer etc can I have your opinion please?

I haven't given my notice yet in my current job so my LinkedIn has to stay as it is at the minute. 😀 And my job is a busy one so updating my resume for the USA market updating my LinkedIn etc. waiting for the sea shipment and looking at the education thing are all things I was going to do when I get there because, suddenly will have a lot of time on my hands as opposed to now which I will try and fill.

Look forward to hearing from you

Thanks. Sharon.
Originally Posted by NatashaB View Post
I'm just down the road in Farmington Hills. AA is a nice place to live, a reasonable expat community, lots of nice restaurants, bars, etc. There are a number of meetup.com groups that meet there if you want to get to know people. Where is your partner commuting to? As nice as AA is, you might want to live closer to his workplace and avoid such a long commute. Job-wise - I didn't have a degree when I moved here and found it very difficult, to be honest (although I'm in a totally different field). You might want to look at whether you have any prior education/certificates that you could use as credit to put towards an associates degree, or use your time waiting for your EAD to take some community college credits. Washtenaw College is pretty near you. You could also use your time waiting for your EAD (and now!) making sure you've got your LinkedIn profile up to date and added your new location, you will probably find that recruitment agencies reach out to you.
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Old Jan 18th 2016, 3:51 pm
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Default Re: Moving to Ann Arbor

AA is as close as you can get to a European like town/city in Michigan. I know lots of Brits that live there, they all love it and are very happy.

We are in Bloomfield, and sometimes regret not choosing AA. Bloomfield can be a bit snooty though in itself was a great choice for many other reasons
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Old Jan 18th 2016, 3:58 pm
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Default Re: Moving to Ann Arbor

Originally Posted by Theduchess View Post
Hi Natasha B. The education thing is definitely something I was going to work towards. And yes I will mention the commute thing although AA was my other halfs choice of location but a few people have mentioned the commuting time Can I ask are you in employment now? And if so what steps did you take and how long did it take you. The Swiss market is difficult but if you try hard enough the jobs are there it's just that a lot of people give up if they don't get something straight away. Would you say that's the same in AA. I've been looking at the job market in my field and the qualifications listed are high school diploma or experience. But I don't know if they are just being seen as an equal opportunity employer etc can I have your opinion please? I haven't given my notice yet in my current job so my LinkedIn has to stay as it is at the minute. And my job is a busy one so updating my resume for the USA market updating my LinkedIn etc. waiting for the sea shipment and looking at the education thing are all things I was going to do when I get there because, suddenly will have a lot of time on my hands as opposed to now which I will try and fill. Look forward to hearing from you Thanks. Sharon.
I was lucky and managed to get a job with my employer from the UK, once my EAD was processed. Otherwise, I imagine I would have had to start in a fairly low-level position and work my way up due to my lack or degree. I always had a good track record for job applications in the UK and got an interview for every job I applied for, it was very different here. I did pay for someone to rewrite my CV/ resume in a more US friendly format and to make sure it got past the keyword searches that many HR and recruiting staff use here. You might want to look into doing that or finding someone knowledgeable to help you build an American style resume.I would also say the job application process/recruitment process is quite lengthy here - even if you start applying as soon as you arrive you may not hear back from recruiters for a couple of months, and then the interview/background checking process may take a month or more after that. I don't think you need to have your EAD in hand to start applying for jobs and attending interviews - you just aren't allowed to sign a contract without it.
In terms of education - most colleges will accept CLEP and DSST tests for at least a few credits towards a degree. These are much cheaper than sitting through the actual college class, you could look into studying at home for these while you're waiting for your EAD.

Last edited by NatashaB; Jan 18th 2016 at 4:02 pm.
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Old Jan 18th 2016, 4:06 pm
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Default Re: Moving to Ann Arbor

Originally Posted by NatashaB View Post
..... I don't think you need to have your EAD in hand to start applying for jobs and attending interviews - you just aren't allowed to sign a contract without it. ....
This is correct. You can even look for work and attend interviews on the VWP, just not sign a contract or, obviously, start work. So you're fine looking for work on any trailing spouse visa, you just need your EAD or your own visa (if the trailing spouse visa is not EAD eligible) before signing the contract.
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Old Feb 18th 2016, 9:08 pm
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Default Re: Moving to Ann Arbor

Originally Posted by Theduchess
The education thing is definitely something I was going to work towards. And yes I will mention the commute thing although AA was my other halfs choice of location but a few people have mentioned the commuting time
Hi, I moved to Ann Arbor about 18 months ago with my wife, it's a fantastic city and I'd definitely recommend living here, but I wouldn't want to commute to Troy every day

It would be well worth staying in hotels in various towns and trying out the commute from different directions, some routes/intersections are considerably busier/incident-prone than others, it's not just distance.
Royal Oak is closer and I know a lot of friends that live there and love it.

Come visit A2 though!
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Old Feb 19th 2016, 4:50 am
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Default Re: Moving to Ann Arbor

Originally Posted by Theduchess View Post
Hi there. Yes my partner will be working about a 40 mins drive away but after some research (and he lived in Troy before) we came up with Ann Arbor.

It sounds a nice place from the feedback I've had so far. I'm wondering will there be enough going on for me to keep myself occupied (I'm in the fortunate position where it's not desperate that I work).

This will be our third expat assignment together and I have worked all my life. I like the routine, having my own independence etc. Something to talk about at the end of the day and having a purpose.

I've always been lucky to get employment although it took me 8 months in Switzerland as I don't speak German and it is a difficult market. Does anyone have feedback on how difficult the market is in AA. I don't have a degree am educated to o level standard only, but am a very experienced PA and I've always had great feedback from everywhere I've worked. In the time I'm waiting for my EDA ( I think I need this to work right) I was thinking of doing some sort of administration course to get a certificate.

Would this be beneficial / help me in the market? Or perhaps I should just relax and enjoy AA and concentrate on keeping a nice home, going to the gym and making friends lol. I am in my early 40's but I'm a young 40 something lol
For an Admin Assistant a quickie entry into the American job market would be a temporary agency. If you fit a lot of people get offered full time positions from temporary jobs.

That part of Michigan has the auto industry so they attract a lot of people worldwide.
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Old Feb 20th 2016, 1:18 pm
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Default Re: Moving to Ann Arbor

Thanks all. Still waiting for confirmation of the move but you all have put my mind at rest 😀
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Old Feb 25th 2016, 9:50 pm
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Default Re: Moving to Ann Arbor

I am a school secretary in Troy. You need to make sure you have valid EAD as companies want you to start almost immediately, so I would recommend having it before you apply for anything. Finding an admin job shouldn't be too hard there is so much industry around SE MI. We live about 30 minutes east of Troy and love it but sometimes wish the commute was shorter, esp. in the winter. Michigan roads suck big time, as soon as the roads are salted they start to fall apart - literally. Rim insurance on your car wheels is a good idea, those potholes swallow cars!!
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