So it has been just about a year today (to be exact) since I moved to America from Ireland. I can’t believe how time has flown by. If I’m being honest, I thought there would have been much more that I’d have done by now. But there is also so much I have done that I didn’t expect to do.
If you follow me on Snapchat (@EverythingObses) or Instagram you’ll know that I was out in California earlier in the summer. I already have 2 blog posts (Here and Here) about 2 of the stops on my trip, but there are more to come!
I want to share more about Boston with you guys, so to start I’m going to share my tips for moving to America from Ireland.
5 Tips for Moving To America
While this is obviously everyone’s first step, I’m actually a citizen of America so I did not have to go through any visa process. I would suggest that if you are just finished or finishing college soon, to get the J1 Graduate Visa. This will be the easier Visa to obtain (not easy, just easier). You have 1 year after you finish college to apply and it is good for one year.
When looking for a job you need to suss out if they will work with your visa. Some companies may even want to sponsor you for the H-1B, a 3-year working visa, if you plan to stay long term.
2. $ave $ave $ave before you come
First of all, for most rented accommodation you’re required to pay the first and last months rent, a deposit of a month’s rent and often a broker fee that can be up to a month’s worth of rent. In total, be prepared to pay 4 months up front.
If you’re planning on moving to certain cities, such as New York, Boston or San Francisco, you really have to save before you come. These are some of the most expensive cities to live in the US. You won’t find a one-bed apartment for less than $1,500 a month. So yep, that’s $6,000 just to move into an apartment. Sometimes you can be lucky and the landlord will waive the broker fee, so definitely look for this.
On top of that, rented accommodation in America does not come furnished. There will only be a fridge and cooker, so you will have to get furniture. This can be done cheaply. Craigslist (just be careful) have a lot of cheap / free furniture. If you move for the 1st of September you could literally roam the streets and find most of what you need. It’s OK, this is normal due to the many students moving apartments who leave stuff behind. If furniture is left on the side of the road, it means it is free to take.
Don’t forget about your flights, visas etc to get here. Realistically, I would suggest having saved at least 5K before coming to keep you going until you find a job.
I see people saying this regularly and it’s so true! I was so lucky that a lot of my family live near Boston and gave us most of the furniture we needed. This helped so much! Also, my boyfriend and I already had jobs waiting for us on arrival. So this wasn’t a stressful thing for us, luckily. All of this can be much easier for you if you know anyone in the place you’re moving to. It might be hard, but reach out to them. You never know who they might know or what jobs they may know of that could suit you.
4. Plan ahead
Make a plan and set things up before you come. To start, decide where you want to live / work. Once you’ve made this decision, start job and house hunting. Set up interviews and viewings for apartments for the first 2 weeks when you get there. You might even be able to do Skype interviews before you come to narrow down the search. Be sure the jobs you are applying for and apartments you are looking at are what you want. Be ready to sign a contract / lease on the spot. If you’re not prepared to give a definite ‘yes’, there will be someone else who is willing to take your place.
5. The Cons: Get used to crazy drivers, bad winters and too much sugar
Crazy drivers are the most obvious for a city. In an American city, it is so much different than Ireland. I lived in Dublin for 4 and a half years and drove regularly. I thought I knew about ‘big city driving’. Well, I was wrong. People think keeping your hand on the horn is the norm and in NYC…forget it!!
Coffee = life in America. But, make sure you always specify the amount of sugar. If you don’t (I’m looking at you, Dunkin!) they will assume 3-4 sugars – no joke!
Lastly, if you are in the northeast prepare to freeze in winter. Invest in a good coat and waterproof boots and you’ll be fine.
Hope these tips help if you are planning on moving to America.