Where do you start when you want to move to America?
Posted on January 1, 2010 by pacificyorkshirebird
Happy 2010! This post is inspired by a comment from Lisa B on this post about BigApplePie’s recent move back home after living in Britain for 5 years. Lisa’s goal for 2010 is to move back to America with her British husband. I too just took the plunge and arrived back in my hometown last summer. It is a big decision to move across the pond in either direction. But the question here is: Once you have decided, where do you start? Here are some of my thoughts on the practical aspects of initiating the move.
There are two places you could start.
- Find a job and let that determine where you move.
- Pick a place and let that determine where you begin your job search.
Mr. Charismatic and I chose option #2. There were several factors that influenced our decision.
- We saved our pence for a year in preparation for the move and subsequent unknown period of unemployment.
- We don’t have any debt or dependents.
- We bought short term health insurance to cover us in catastrophes. Using ehealthinsurance.com we found decent policies to cover the both of us for $65/month for up to six months.
- We knew if we chose option #1, I would have to travel first and we’d be apart for some unknown amount of time. It also meant that we would be dealing with the Visa process apart and we were really glad to have each other to lean on for the ups and downs that came. By the way, it might be helpful for you marrieds out there to know that you may be able to apply for your British partner’s visa through the London Embassy thus avoiding the long(er) waiting periods you have to face if you apply through the normal US visa agency.
- We also had a lot of support from friends and family in all sorts of ways. We stayed with family to save on rent before we left Britain and we stayed with family again when we arrived in America. Without this, we would have been saving our pence in Britain for a second year before we would have been brave enough to quit our jobs and move.
If option #1 is best for you, I’m afraid my experience is a little lacking here. I suppose it really depends on what kind of job you are looking for. One thing that has changed in the last few years is the importance of networking. I conducted several informational interviews, one of which led to a second one and that led to me hearing about the job that I now have. Many people are using LinkedIn – a social networking site for career minded folks and job seekers. Contact anyone you know in the US and let them know you are looking. And don’t get discouraged by those who want to tell you how bad things are in America. It really varies depending on where you go. In fact, it may be helpful to know which places are thriving or struggling. Here’s a list from the housing market perspective and from the job perspective.
If option #2 is best for you then there are several factors to consider. Take a good look at a map, your lifestyle, airports, weather, cost of living, schools, and narrow down a place or region. For us, our decision came down to experience and family. Mr. Charismatic has already spent plenty of time in the Pacific NW and we bought our plane ticket to my hometown where most of my family still live. When we started our job search with two cities in mind, and we later decided to stay in my hometown because one of us got a job worth staying for.
We’d both recommend you visit any place before you move there. If you can, narrow down a region and then spend a week or two exploring it on holiday before you commit. But remember that your holiday may be very different from your experience when you do eventually live there.
Finally, consider this process a wonderful adventure. You’ll need the same set of coping skills you needed when you moved to Britain – flexibility, open-mindedness, endurance, a sense of humor, and willingness to take some risks… to name a few.
In my own move, I’ve experience a lot of nostalgia for my first few months in Britain. I get to witness Mr. Charismatic’s adventures and frustrations. It all takes me back to mine. So, be prepared for a little of that. It has also changed our relationship in some ways. Be prepared for that too. I’ll post another blog on some of the more emotional aspects of moving soon.
Readers – what other practical advice do you have for heading West?
Lisa B and others, keep us up to date on how it goes!