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Quality of life for US academics?

Quality of life for US academics?

Old Aug 28th 2016, 5:31 pm
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Default Quality of life for US academics?

My husband and I are considering moving to the US. We are considering Austin (partly because I have family in Texas), but I am an academic and I would have to get a job, so where we went would depend on where I could get a job! I have UK and US citizenship, but have never lived in the US. Our move is motivated by a desire for a better quality of life, and more chance of promotion (hopefully). We have two young children (currently 5 & 7), and would want them in the best possible school.

I have a million and one questions, and I know I can't ask them all at once, and some are probably very stupid! My first one is could we reasonably live off one academic salary? My husband is a tennis coach and a writer ( not currently earning enough to do that full-time), so we would be relying on my salary. Ultimately he would get a green card, but that would take time I believe. We would want to rent our house in London.

I also get really good holiday allowance in the UK - I know that it is very different in the US. I currently can take 4 weeks off in the summer, in addition to Christmas and other times in the year. I am not sure if this would be completely unheard of and impossible in the US. Does anyone have any insight into academic life in the US?

If we might possibly have enough money, and I might possibly be able to get a job, and not have to work 50 weeks a year, the next questions are about the ideal location for atheist Londoners! One of the draws to Texas is that people are so friendly, but I'm a little worried about that a lot of community will centre around church. That wouldn't work for us.

Any thoughts/advice/information would be very appreciated!
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Old Aug 28th 2016, 5:44 pm
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Default Re: Quality of life for US academics?

The only thing I can address is that your husband (and children) will need to get immigrant visas. Applying directly to London should take 4 to 6 months.

Upon entering the USA, your husband will automatically become a US PR (he will get his green card), and will be eligible to work in the USA from day 1. The kids will automatically become US citizens, and will need to get US passports for future international travel.

If you have any questions about the visa process, please ask in our US Marriage Based forum.

Rene
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Old Aug 28th 2016, 6:46 pm
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Default Re: Quality of life for US academics?

If you're looking for an atheist way of life, Texas is NOT the place to be!! In fact, forget the South completely. Texas is often considered to be the buckle of the bible belt.

As for academia, it depends very much on the school and the programs as to how much time off you get. My wife is Executive Admin Assistant to the Provost of a small college here in the South and they seem to do pretty well for time off, officially or otherwise.
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Old Aug 28th 2016, 7:02 pm
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Default Re: Quality of life for US academics?

Originally Posted by Guindalf View Post
If you're looking for an atheist way of life, Texas is NOT the place to be!! In fact, forget the South completely. Texas is often considered to be the buckle of the bible belt.

As for academia, it depends very much on the school and the programs as to how much time off you get. My wife is Executive Admin Assistant to the Provost of a small college here in the South and they seem to do pretty well for time off, officially or otherwise.
As for the academic part a lot depends on your specialty and credentials. A Ph.D. from Cambridge in a hard science would be easier than a masters in political science from a school no one here ever heard of. I am an American born atheist who has lived in the south most of my life with no problems. You can find problems anywhere if you look hard enough by thumbing your nose at those with different religious or political views, otherwise no one cares what you believe. There are atheist meet up groups if you feel a need for that.
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Old Aug 28th 2016, 7:51 pm
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Default Re: Quality of life for US academics?

Thanks so much for the replies so far! I didn't realise a green card would be so easy ( relatively) for my husband. In terms of universities, I would hope to be able to get a tenure track position. Clearly that will depend on my CV, but working on that as a hypothetical, if anyone has any insight into work life and work/life balance please let me know.

I am still in a quandary about the Bible Belt. The church community does seem to play a big part in the lives of my cousins kids.
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Old Aug 28th 2016, 7:55 pm
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Default Re: Quality of life for US academics?

Originally Posted by Guindalf View Post
If you're looking for an atheist way of life, Texas is NOT the place to be!! In fact, forget the South completely. Texas is often considered to be the buckle of the bible belt.

As for academia, it depends very much on the school and the programs as to how much time off you get. My wife is Executive Admin Assistant to the Provost of a small college here in the South and they seem to do pretty well for time off, officially or otherwise.
not really true for Austin, Guindalf. There are so many people from all over the place, lots of tech people etc. University of Texas Austin would be an amazing place to work (disregarding the whole concealed carry ruckus/publicity/media silly season). It's a relatively affordable city, very lively downtown and tons to do.Good schools.

Austin is really growing on me lately.

What's your subject?

Isn't Retzie an academic? Maybe she will come along later.
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Old Aug 28th 2016, 7:56 pm
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Default Re: Quality of life for US academics?

Interesting that Lynchburg, TN is considered liveable for an atheist. I visited the distillery once and was actually surprised to see it's situated in a dry county!

As for work, when I moved over (I live in North Georgia), the very first questions I was asked is "Do you attend church? Which one?", so I would argue that it's not important. No-one is saying it's problematic, just uncomfortable.
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Old Aug 28th 2016, 7:57 pm
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Default Re: Quality of life for US academics?

Originally Posted by petitefrancaise View Post
not really true for Austin, Guindalf. There are so many people from all over the place, lots of tech people etc. University of Texas Austin would be an amazing place to work (disregarding the whole concealed carry ruckus/publicity/media silly season). It's a relatively affordable city, very lively downtown and tons to do.Good schools.

Austin is really growing on me lately.

What's your subject?

Isn't Retzie an academic? Maybe she will come along later.
Oh yeah, keep Austin weird! I forgot.
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Old Aug 28th 2016, 7:57 pm
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Default Re: Quality of life for US academics?

Originally Posted by Wanderingacademic View Post
I am still in a quandary about the Bible Belt. The church community does seem to play a big part in the lives of my cousins kids.
The church community will only play a big part if the family joins it. I wouldn't put off an entire geographic span of the US based on religion.
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Old Aug 28th 2016, 8:18 pm
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Default Re: Quality of life for US academics?

It was UoT at Austin I was eyeing up. Psychology is my discipline.

I guess the religion thing is really about how easy it is to settle into a community and most importantly, to make friends. How easy is it to establish a life and a friendship circle? I realise that it depends on the individual/ family, but roughly? I do like the sound of Austin on lots of levels, and was reading about the good schools on another thread 😊
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Old Aug 28th 2016, 8:25 pm
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Default Re: Quality of life for US academics?

[QUOTE=Guindalf;12037317]Oh yeah, keep Austin weird! I forgot.

I quoted the wrong bit, I meant to quote the earlier post - which sounds perfect (providing we could afford it!).

Weird for Texas might work?!?

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Old Aug 28th 2016, 8:45 pm
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Default Re: Quality of life for US academics?

L
Originally Posted by Guindalf View Post
Interesting that Lynchburg, TN is considered liveable for an atheist. I visited the distillery once and was actually surprised to see it's situated in a dry county!

As for work, when I moved over (I live in North Georgia), the very first questions I was asked is "Do you attend church? Which one?", so I would argue that it's not important. No-one is saying it's problematic, just uncomfortable.
Some Christians can be pushy but they mean well and can be easily dismissed. Why be an atheist when you are not surrounded by a bunch of religious people to feel superior to? I just had a couple of Christian scientist people stop by last week to speak with me. I told them up front that I was a total non believer and they took it very well and I even got into a conversation about their dental problems, and gave them some professional advice. They left on the best of terms. There are a lot of Americans who pay lip service to religion but only a minority who really take it seriously. Any major American university is going to be chock full of non religious people.

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Old Aug 28th 2016, 8:47 pm
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Default Re: Quality of life for US academics?

I am an associate professor in a tenure track position, at a southern university. I teach in an undergraduate nursing baccalaureate degree program. I can choose a 10 or 12-month contract each academic year. For a 10 month (August-May) I receive 5 days off at Thanksgiving, four weeks at Christmas, a week for Spring Break, and then all summer off. The salary is terrible, I could not imagine supporting a family of four on my salary. My university is part of the University System of Georgia; the State benefits (health care, retirement) are very good. My contracted hours are 35/week, but no one watches me come and go. I have to be on campus when my classes meet, and for office hours, advising, registration, committees etc. I also teach in a masters program as adjunct faculty. Many of the instructors and professors I work with have second jobs. My lifestyle in terms of stress and job satisfaction has improved greatly since making the move to academia after 25 years working in healthcare administration.

I have never really had an issue with being atheist /agnostic/none in the south. I have lived in Texas and now Georgia. Yes, for much of the population in the south, church life is extremely important. However, I have found many friends who accept my non-religious lifestyle. I don’t make plans with them on Sundays and Wednesday evenings!
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Old Aug 28th 2016, 8:56 pm
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Default Re: Quality of life for US academics?

Originally Posted by Wanderingacademic View Post
It was UoT at Austin I was eyeing up. Psychology is my discipline.

I guess the religion thing is really about how easy it is to settle into a community and most importantly, to make friends. How easy is it to establish a life and a friendship circle? I realise that it depends on the individual/ family, but roughly? I do like the sound of Austin on lots of levels, and was reading about the good schools on another thread 😊
the "keep austin weird" slogan came from the small businesses! They wanted to highlight the diversity of small businesses all around the city and encourage people to use them rather than the big chains.. it seems to be working.

We've found it fairly easy to settle in. We are most definitely not churchgoers! It''s a friendly place with lots of opportunity to go and meet people. My daughter is a sophomore at UT and loves it. It's a campus but right in the city centre and loads going on all around. My next door neighbour works at UT (art history?) and commutes in which could be awful but Ive never heard her complain.
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Old Aug 28th 2016, 9:04 pm
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Default Re: Quality of life for US academics?

so it turns out the salaries are public info...
https://salaries.texastribune.org/un...xas-at-austin/

and for psychology dept
https://salaries.texastribune.org/un...of-psychology/

so looking at the salaries of the professors in the department, you'd be struggling if you were at the bottom ($43K) but only 2 people up and the salary is pretty decent. You could live on $97.5k in Austin

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