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Mistakes expats make in the USA

Hello everyone,

Did you make any mistakes when you first moved to USA? What were they?

How did you address your mistakes? Did you learn anything from them?

With hindsight, what would you do differently?

Are there any tips you could give future expats in the USA to help them avoid these kinds of mistakes?

We look forward to hearing from you!

Priscilla

I don't think I made any mistake. I was here before and knew what to expect.
When you are moving to USA remember that they use archaic measure units. Bring a ruler or/and tape measure in metric system with you. Those in metric are kinda rare here and  I tend to be more expensive than rules or tapes with inches.
Also remember that voltage here in the power network is only 110V and plugs look different. Your electric and electronic devices might not work here. But that stuff is quite cheap in USA, so better leave those devices in your old country and just buy new ones on arrival to USA. However if there's something which runs on 220-240V which you can't live without, you can easily buy a step-up transformer online.

My biggest mistake was not doing the research on the cost of living of where I was moving to, coastal California is unaffordable unless you're earning big money. I also wish I'd researched how different jobs pay so I wouldn't have picked a career where I need years of training yet earn the same as a fast food worker.

I'm an American and I use those archaic means of measurements, but every tape measure, ruler, etc. that I own has both units of measurement on them, so there's no need to bring them. :):)

As DMD stated above, our tape measures, even the ones that are free for the taking at many stores, are all dual units. I've been living with one system or another alternately all my life and never had to use one specific kind of tape measure.

The human brain is actually pretty good at learning and adapting to new method every day.  If my old and tired brain is still capable of thinking simultaneously in Celsius and Fahrenheit, centimetres and inches, kilograms and pounds, litres and gallons, then just about anyone can do the same without difficulty. It's not that much different from speaking / understanding / thinking in more than one language.

Transformers are too cumbersome. - we had 220 installed in the kitchen.

Even with 220V installed, don't you still need transformer with American appliances? Unless you brought everything with you from Europe (including refrigerator, ceiling fan, vacuum cleaner, etc.), *almost* every appliance you buy in the States would not work. I know new ovens, ranges, and dryers can operate at 220V, but I don't think other appliances do.

In addition, since outlets in the States are Type B, you would still need adapters for your European appliances.

BTW, did you have your new system inspected after the electrician re-wired the whole house?

Ciambella :

Even with 220V installed, don't you still need transformer with American appliances? Unless you brought everything with you from Europe (including refrigerator, ceiling fan, vacuum cleaner, etc.), *almost* every appliance you buy in the States would not work. I know new ovens, ranges, and dryers can operate at 220V, but I don't think other appliances do.

In addition, since outlets in the States are Type B, you would still need adapters for your European appliances.

BTW, did you have your new system inspected after the electrician re-wired the whole house?

No, we have additional outlets with 220 in the kitchen for small appliances we could not or did not want to swap out. Considering what is available in appliances in the US versus Europe - there is no need to drag the fridge across the pond. Changes were made by the original builder prior to purchase. Adapters are around 1$ on Amazon.

Big mistakes - not shopping around and looking outside the box from appliances to hair products. Talk to professionals, ask them about sources. Big box stores are generally easily accessible but do you get the bang for your buck there?

probably my mistake is not taking into account insurance...do note that health insurance is expensive and you still pay for co-pay and drug after paying insurance bi-weekly/bi monthly.

Other insurance like auto and rental also adds up

Yes, "archaic" seems like a judgement. Our units of measurement are not archaic--they are what we have chosen to use.

Good grief how often do you bloody measure something that it's so difficult to flip the ruler over? There are instant conversions online --just search "convert cm to inches" or "yards to meters".  You don't have to do the conversion yourself on paper.

I measure artworks on a regular basis and note both cm and inches since buyers may use either or I may be sending to art galleries internationally, and I don't find that a chore. Certainly not anything worth complaining about.

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