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should we go?

should we go?

Old Nov 11th 2002, 8:37 pm
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Default should we go?

i am a nurse and have the opportunity to go to the states with my husband with green card status. should we take the plunge? what is life really like in the big usa, is it as good as they say it is in comparison to the uk?? does anyone regret moving??
comments much appreciated
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Old Nov 12th 2002, 12:44 am
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Going by the name you have listed for your posting, I take it that you're possibly going to live in Arizona?

Come on over to the Discussion Boards on the similary-named

http://www.british-expats.com

Many Brits who have recently moved to, or are well established in the US, post here on the very lively message boards so you are sure to get a number of replies.

I live in the North East (NJ) so the atmosphere is probably very different compared to the South.

I love buying a tank of petrol for the car though.....it only costs $27 to fill a 19 gallon tank!

Virtually everyone gets homesick from time to time, but if you don't take the plunge you will never know and probably live to regret it. Come with an open mind - after all if you really dislike it you can always move back to the UK, it's less than a days flight you know!

Look forward to 'meeting you' on the other site!

(This site is great too, it's more 'international' and more suited for info for getting visas and setting up initially; the other site is more 'chatty' and the Brits often arrange get-togethers and exchange tips).
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Old Nov 12th 2002, 4:02 am
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Default "An Essay" Living in the US after Brum

Nurse Arizona,
it depends on your personality, but it's a fantastic experience and you can always move back! Even better, you'll be coming with your husband so less chance to get homesick. Will you be working too? - i've heard it can be stressful/lonely if you're not outgoing and stuck at home while your husband is out working, meeting people and keeping busy, but there is so much opportunity to explore new things and enjoy the outdoors/weather here. I love England but I don't ever miss the weather or the grey weekends indooors. It is so easy to get in your car here and just drive anywhere. If you like skiing, beautiful scenery, nature etc move here as quick as possible! There is also plenty of culture and many wonderful, different types of people (it is a highly multi-cultural country so you develop global and interesting friendships-on the east coast anyhow). It takes more time to develop close bonds with others tho', when you lack common humor and backgrounds, so be prepared for this. Biggest piece of advice- make a trip first! There are some characterless, back of beyond towns and I suspect, you would not want to live in one, so check out the area.

So lets talk stereoypes (not PC, but they exist for a reason):
The (East Coast) Americans work hard and take life seriously, so I sometimes miss those daft moments down the pub after work and tea breaks! I was surprised by how conservative America is but I enjoy the respect they demonstrate. Crime tends to be isolated in certain neighbourhoods so most of us live in good neighbourhoods which are very safe and clean. It is unfortunate that the poverty gap here is wide so these ghettos exist and you just avoid them (unlucky for those that live there tho). If you are fortunate to have a good job, the lifestyle is great and obviously good for your health- my brit family get sick all the time but i can't remember the last time i had flu. I enjoy new experiences and live them every weekend here. The only thing that really gets to me is the money issue - every one wants it and it seems companies are always making errors to con you out of it, so keep on top of all your official payments, documentation etc. College, health care, and insurance are all expensive items you have to fund here and house prices are higher than you'd expect. (financial issues are simpler in the UK) So, keep an open mind and give it a shot. America is no better, just a little different- if you come here with an adventurous or excited spririt, you will love it! good luck,
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Old Nov 12th 2002, 8:53 pm
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We have just relocated to the US (San Diego) for the second time and so far have no regrets.

I think the important thing is not to compare it to back home. I made that mistake the first time around.

For us life is great, my husband earns more than he did in the UK, we pay less tax and our quality of life is vastly improved. It is so good seeing the sun on a regular basis after the grey skies of the UK. Financially it will depend on your situation. We were living in Windsor which was outrageously expensive for housing. For us to buy a house in San Diego we will be looking at $500,000 but that is comparable to what it would have cost us in Windsor. It is nice to have somewhere to park our car and not have to worry about parking inspectors.

Re health care, yes it is expensive but you get what you pay for. Our healthcare thru my husband's employer costs us about $500 per month but feel that is cheap compared to the 15,000 pounds we paid for NI last year and received nothing in return. I had an extremely negative experience last year with the NHS and one of the reasons we left the UK was to have access to better medical services.

As for the locals, yes they are different from the rest of us. The sense of humour isn't the same, their values are different and it does take some time to get to know them. The first six months are always the most difficult but once you get past that period you will have a better idea of how life will be.

The thing we miss the most is going to the pub on a Friday evening, having a few pints and staggering home via the chippy.
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Old Nov 13th 2002, 4:50 am
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I’ve only been here a month, so maybe not very qualified to talk yet, but on first impressions….

Housing is very cheap. We’re in Texas – about to move into a 4 year old 4 bed 3 bath 3500 sqft house in a nice neighbourhood with apparently good schools for $180k. But the property taxes are high in this area -c.4% of the value of the house annually!.

Insurance – I was surprised at how expensive it is, but then thinking about the laibility issues, maybe I shouldn’t have been.

Health – we can’t get onto local health insurance yet as my wife is expecting in January, so have to stick with our previous (UK) insurer until after that – the additional premium to add on states coverage was pretty steep. Hopefully we will be able to get more reasonable local cover next year.

Social – err difficult to say – not met anyone yet! Our last posting was Singapore, which is full of expats, and very easy to get to know a bunch of people very quickly – it looks like things will be harder here, but time will tell.

Cars and petrol are very cheap by most of our standards, and I’ve been pleasantly surprised by how considerate the drivers are. None of the aggression that we saw in Singapore, nor the South of england for that matter. Maybe its cos you never know who’s got a gun in their glovebox…..;-)

What really winds me up? The inability to do virtually anything without getting in the car – whether its to a playground for the kids, or the shops for a newspaper, the car comes out. I’ve been taking ours for walks,to take advantage of clear blue skies and a dry 70F in November (nice, very nice!), and people have stopped to ask if everything is OK!!

The other thing that I find lacking is ‘character’ – we’re just west of Houston, and it really is all new strip malls, housing estates and straight concrete roads. Not a 'proper' pub, corner shop or 'real' restaurant in sight - maybe they're there, we just haven't found them yet. And everywhere is empty! I find myself whistling the old 80’s number by ??? “this town ah-a is coming like a ghost town� with frightening regularity! Maybe I’ll get used to that, but time will tell.

On the plus side, everything we’ve tried to do so far has been relatively easy – viewing houses is very convenient if you have a good broker, buying cars, sorting insurance, drivers licences, mobile phones, shopping and so on – all very good service compared to what we’ve been used to. And most goods do seem very cheap. Everywhere is clean, no litter, no graffiti, no evidence of crime, people seem to take care of their own houses and gardens to a high standard, and so on – and it feels a lot safer than I had expected.

All in all, a few surprises, but no regrets yet - but I do think it will be harder to settle in here than it was in Singapore.
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Old Nov 13th 2002, 3:23 pm
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Just as few comments about moving to the USA...

I emigrated to Texas (Fort Worth) last November (one year ago), with my 16 year old son after divorcing my first wife. I had met an American lady and we are now married.


Do I have any regrets?

Yes: I am a 10 hour flight away from my ill 83 year old Dad and my 18 year old daughter. I left a very pretty village in rural Suffolk and miss the winding country lanes and English countryside in general. I also miss the pubs, curry (but I make my own now) and decent (i.e. very crusty French) bread as IMHO a loaf of Mrs Bairds is just bland cotton wool.


On the up side is EVERYTHING ELSE. All the zillion and one other things in life are better here.


Some points I'd highlight:

I echo the remarks about life style and illness. I have had one cold and a few days of sniffles since getting here, but was down with the Flu every couple of months in the UK.

Cars are cheaper, Gas is cheaper and I put 18 US gallons (not the same as UK gallons) of gas in my GMC pickup this morning for $23. Sorry but I don't remember if its 3.1, 3.4 or 3.8 liters per US Gallon, but my local Albertsons and Sams club were selling regular unleaded for $1.29 a gallon!!!

Insurance is horribly expensive (high libility awards and profiteering on the part of the ins companies are IMO the reasons for that here in TX).

Health Insurance is also a nasty subject here, and its been a real education in dealing with it.

If you keep out of the 'bad' areas, you will hardly ever see crime (except on TV).

If you seek it out, there is lots of culture here, for example I just spotted that one of the local bookshop does free poetry readings on Sunday evenings and UNT (University of North Texas) has the Moscow Boys Chior here for a christmas concert. If pop is more your thing, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers and Jackson Browne are playing the American Airlines Center in Dallas this Saturday and there are more than a handful of clubs and bars with local rock/blues bands.

TV is certainly not as good as in the UK, but then if being a couch-slouch is what you want, I am sure you can get DVDs and videos to satisfy.

When you get away from the big cities and corporate life where its always been dog-eat-dog if you are in the USA or the UK, people are more easy gong. We have had no trouble making friends and our English accents make my son a popular guy at high school and I am always asked to speak when I go anywhere as "You sound so cute" or "I just LOVE the way you speak". Ahhhhh... if only I was single, I'd have a great time chasing down the ladies again!!! Did that kind of attitude towards my accent annoy me? Yes, but I got used to it and after all, if its an advantage in business or social life, then thats fine with me.


If anyone ever asked me do I regret it? My answer is a solid "NO".

Even if it takes time and effort to adjust, it's worth it.

Brian.
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Old Nov 14th 2002, 5:26 pm
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Well I'm another Brit here in Dallas Texas (seems like a popular state).

I moved here in Dec 99, with a back-pack of clothes and a few hundred bucks, after my wife (USC)and I got married in a beautiful city (Rockwall TX), We struggled for a little bit, all of our savings went out on INS paperwork and bills etc (I couldn't work for like 6 months), and things looked pretty bleak, however there is a "American Dream", but be prepared to work for it! Americans I think work VERY hard, I only get one week a year vacation plus national holidays, I receive no sick pay or personal days, and If I get laid off NO unemployment benefit.

However the good news, pay I think is much better than the U.K, My wife and I work very hard, but we have 2 beautiful children, a brand new 2002 car, and we are in the process of building a wonderfull 4 bed 3 bath house right by a lake (for about $150,000 = 100,000 pound house in the U.K.) so things are no working out very nice for us.

Yes, I pay high insurances Medical/car/dental etc, but everyone is in the same boat! The dental ins, annoys me the most, I need a root canal done next week, cost $300.00=200 pounds, but there's nothing I can do about it, it just means I can't buy a new kiteboard for a few weeks.

I wear shorts 8 months a year in Texas, and windsurf/kite in shorts (no wetsuit needed all summer long).

I do miss all of my friends and family that is the down side, I miss driving around the small little seaside town I used to live in (hence the name southcoast), and I certainly miss going down the pub and knowing at least half a dozen people to drink and have a laugh with, but that was my decision.

So there you have it, its all pro's and con's, only you can decide, but would I move back to the mother-land, NO CHANCE...

Good luck.
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Old Nov 14th 2002, 5:59 pm
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Hey Southcoast, you have to love wearing shorts to work. It's the same for my husband, shorts and runners every day. Now that would never happen in a UK office. In the UK they think they are being relaxed if you don't have to wear a tie.
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Old Nov 14th 2002, 6:24 pm
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Originally posted by southcoast
Well I'm another Brit here in Dallas Texas (seems like a popular state).

I moved here in Dec 99, with a back-pack of clothes and a few hundred bucks, after my wife (USC)and I got married in a beautiful city (Rockwall TX), We struggled for a little bit, all of our savings went out on INS paperwork and bills etc (I couldn't work for like 6 months), and things looked pretty bleak, however there is a "American Dream", but be prepared to work for it! Americans I think work VERY hard, I only get one week a year vacation plus national holidays, I receive no sick pay or personal days, and If I get laid off NO unemployment benefit.

However the good news, pay I think is much better than the U.K, My wife and I work very hard, but we have 2 beautiful children, a brand new 2002 car, and we are in the process of building a wonderfull 4 bed 3 bath house right by a lake (for about $150,000 = 100,000 pound house in the U.K.) so things are no working out very nice for us.

Yes, I pay high insurances Medical/car/dental etc, but everyone is in the same boat! The dental ins, annoys me the most, I need a root canal done next week, cost $300.00=200 pounds, but there's nothing I can do about it, it just means I can't buy a new kiteboard for a few weeks.

I wear shorts 8 months a year in Texas, and windsurf/kite in shorts (no wetsuit needed all summer long).

I do miss all of my friends and family that is the down side, I miss driving around the small little seaside town I used to live in (hence the name southcoast), and I certainly miss going down the pub and knowing at least half a dozen people to drink and have a laugh with, but that was my decision.

So there you have it, its all pro's and con's, only you can decide, but would I move back to the mother-land, NO CHANCE...

Good luck.
You do have to watch for the benefits (or lack of) when looking for work, its very much more important than in the UK. As soon as I get home from work (where I wear open neck shirts and long pants - well jeans), I change into T-shirts and shorts too.

Is this a good life style?

Where on the soouth coast are you from?

Brian.
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Old Nov 14th 2002, 8:22 pm
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Originally posted by brianr
You do have to watch for the benefits (or lack of) when looking for work, its very much more important than in the UK. As soon as I get home from work (where I wear open neck shirts and long pants - well jeans), I change into T-shirts and shorts too.

Is this a good life style?

Where on the soouth coast are you from?

Brian.
Hi Vicky and Brian,

Yep, this is certainly a very nice lifestyle, my work lets me where shorts and tee-shirt to work, then I go home, jump in the Mother-in-laws pool, and then get back into another pair of shorts, not bad!

when I call home, all my mates are saying, "yep, rainning again, windy, cold etc", I don't miss that at all.

To answer your question Brian, I used to live on Portland which is in Dorset (near Weymouth, most people know where that is).

It is a small island, stuck out in the English channel. It was a great place growing up through, everyone new everyone, very different here in Dallas.
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Old Nov 15th 2002, 2:16 pm
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Originally posted by southcoast
Hi Vicky and Brian,

Yep, this is certainly a very nice lifestyle, my work lets me where shorts and tee-shirt to work, then I go home, jump in the Mother-in-laws pool, and then get back into another pair of shorts, not bad!

when I call home, all my mates are saying, "yep, rainning again, windy, cold etc", I don't miss that at all.

To answer your question Brian, I used to live on Portland which is in Dorset (near Weymouth, most people know where that is).

It is a small island, stuck out in the English channel. It was a great place growing up through, everyone new everyone, very different here in Dallas.
Ah, yes. I know whereabouts Portland is. I have an uncle that lives in Dorset.

Quite by chance, I just got an email from an ex-workmate back in the UK who said "It rained going to work and it was still raining on the way home".

I think for the benefit of Arizona who started this thread up, we might want to let her know that its not all sunshine and swimming. The nights here in Texas during January/February can be killers with -20 degrees not unusual and don't even think of going out until 9am when the sun has melted the 1" thick layer of ice on the roads (bridges are VERY bad in those conditions). A few years ago, my wife managed to do a couple of 360 degree turns going over a bridge... she didn't make ANY changes in direction or speed or hit anything, it was just that icy! When it rains here, it can rain BIG TIME. Several inches a day is not unusual and we have had that in some locations the last month. That said, once you get to March or even April (as it was this year), out come the pool cleaners and swimming shorts... I have to keep on at my son and remind him to use sunscreen...

Texas drivers are either VERY meek and mild and will let you out at every intersection, or will drive 1" away from your rear bumper and scream at you if you don't get out of their way quickly enough. Not that much different from London in that regard then!

Take care.

Brian.
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Old Nov 16th 2002, 1:58 pm
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This thread couldn't have been more relavent to my wife and my's situation.

She is a USC (but has never lived there) and we are thinking of a move to Boise ID, which is great lifestyle city. We were there a few months ago and can't believe how cheap the house prices are (but keep it to yourselves!). We could move to a bigger house we have now and have NO MORTGAGE!! It would take me another 15 years to be in that situation in the UK!! It has double the sunshine of the UK (in fact more than Brisbane) and half of the rainfall. Great fishing, sking and golf are also a big pull.

We have both travelled extensively in the US, I have been to 46 of the 50 States so I have a good idea of what to expect. But living there is of course a totally different matter.

Our biggest bind to the UK is my job. I don't earn a fortune but I love my job, have a great boss (yes, honestly) and our small company is going places. But as someone above said, if you don't go, you'll never know. My parents have said they regret not moving to Australia in the 70's and don't want us to feel the same. The older you get, the less likely you are to go, until finally you give up on the idea. I hate the idea of being 50, living an average life, and thinking, "If only..."

We are going out to Boise next year to spend a week soaking up the city. We'll look at houses, speak to recruitment agencies, and try and look at life as a local rather than a tourist. If we decide it isn't for us then that's fine, at least we will know for sure. But we at least want to find out.

Even if we don't go, one thing is for sure. We'll always love the country and it's wonderfully diverse scenery and enjoy the fact that it is, after all, just a plane journey away.

Mark
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Old Nov 16th 2002, 6:49 pm
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Marky B - agree with the "if we don't try it now we'll probably always wonder" sentiment. Was in the same boat 7 years ago with a possible move to Singapore, and took the plunge, and life has been on an upward curve ever since. We came to Texas a month ago, and I thought life was going to be very cheap - expectations were for it to be cheaper than North Yorkshire. A lot of things are (houses, cars, electricals, groceries for example). But some things are expensive. The only piece of advice I would offer for your trip next year from my huge experience of a whole month :-) is to check out the following, all of which gave me a bit of a surprise:-
1) property/school taxes - 4% of property value where we live - makes the council tax in the UK look cheap!
2) Closing costs on buying a house
3) Insurance - car, house, life - all moderate to very expensive
4) Health coverage
5) inheritance tax / estate planning issues if its likely to be a problem.

Good luck!
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Old Nov 28th 2002, 7:45 pm
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Would you want to continue in Nursing when you get here ? Nurses are in high demand in most states and the pay is brilliant. I have even heard of a fast track green card process for nurses.

You will need to get a nursing license however and that can be a long process. In Arizona and many other states you will have to have your English qualifications evaluated (by the CGFNS) and then take an NCLEX exam. The process can take up to a year or two. The cost is a few hundred dollars but worth it because of the nursing salary here in the US.

Let me know if you want any more info.
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