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Essential Things Indians Should Know Before Moving to the US

Unlocking the Secrets: What Indians MUST Know Before Moving Stateside

As the dawn sets, you still wonder if getting that acceptance letter from your dream university in America is your calling. Not only is it about leaving your city, state, or even country, but it is also about leaving your ‘HOME’.

And if not for home, what does one work hard for (I mean going to Harry Styles concert might count)? But it doesn’t have to be so depressing because independence is bittersweet but majorly sweet.

And we shall add that syrup of guidance in your journey of immigrating from India to the States and make your journey sweet enough that your missing Indian spices are compensated in America. 

Big Move

We know stretching yourself from India to the States is vast (8,166.56 miles is some distance). Feeling scared, anxious, confused, or even clueless about making this big move is natural. But not when you know essential things before moving to America (and also when you know about us ‘cause we got you). 

You may have already read many articles about moving to the US. Still, here you are—still figuring out if you are on the right track. Let us tell you a top secret about making the right decision.

According to you, this life-altering decision will lead to a fruitful life and career, and if you can take the financial and emotional risk, go for it. Or you could also TOSS A COIN and decide, if that’s easy for you. 

We have divided our blog into five sections to help you understand what you should know before moving to the US: Emotional, Social, Financial, and Legal and Other. 

Emotional Considerations for Indians Before Moving to the States

Why? 

Before anything and everything, you must know why you want to move to the States. This will help you understand your goal better and help you navigate your move better. It is okay if your answer comes in negative when you ask the question—are you ready? Or is it necessary to move to the States? But even after consideration, if your answer is positive. Congratulations!! 

What?

Now that you are clear about the move and its reason, you need to look at the what of the move. What are the emotional challenges that the move will bring, and what do you have to be ready for? 

  • Homesickness

Moving away from HOME will bring Homesickness with it. And thus, you should be emotionally ready to let go of the empty feeling. Once you move to the States, it will not be possible to return to India so often. So, make a point to stay connected to family, relatives (cut out the vicious ones) and friends back home. This will help with Homesickness and provide you with emotional support when you require it in America on bad days. 

  • Loneliness

Homesickness will bring loneliness with it. And let us tell you, IT IS OKAY. Man or Woman, you are allowed to feel (MARD KO BHI DARD HO SAKTA HAI!!). Of Course, you will make new friends, which will help you with your Homesickness and loneliness, but stay strong until you find your people. 

  • Stress

When you are new, you are bound to feel stressed. However, it is necessary to address and cope with this stress. You can practice self-care exercises like yoga and meditation and explore your hobbies or different places. This will help you maintain an emotional balance and ensure your well-being. 

  • Parenting

If you are a parent and your kids are moving with you, you need to consider the emotional impact the move would have on them. It would help if you had emotional support and reassurance to ensure they are okay emotionally. 

How? 

Now that you know the why and what of emotional considerations, you must know how to navigate emotional turmoil if you encounter it. As mentioned, stay connected to the people back home; they will provide you with emotional support. Indulge yourself in emotionally healthy activities like socializing and exploring your hobbies, and above all, never shy away from accepting your emotional stress to help yourself better. Thus, you must be careful about your feelings before you move to the US. consider the emotional fragility when thinking about the move. 

Social Considerations for Indians Before Moving to the States

Why? 

After the emotional considerations, you also need to understand social considerations and know why the social changes would affect your lifestyle in America. You would be moving from a land as vibrant as India to another country that is vibrant in different shades, so you must understand why you have to be ready to adapt to social challenges and changes. 

What? 

After understanding why social changes will occur, you need to know what these changes are and why you should consider them when deciding to move to the US. 

  • Culture

Cultural shock is bound to happen. India is a more community-based society, whereas America is more individualistic. Along with this, Indian and American cultures are as similar as the North and the South Pole (it’s called being sarcastic). Social norms, traditions, food, rules, language—everything differs, so be ready for this cultural shock. 

  • Language

As mentioned, you are bound to face some issues with your language. It might be slightly easy but tricky if you are well versed in English because American English and accent are way off-pitch for an average Indian. But remember, “Videsh me HINDI (or your regional language) bolne ka maza kuch or hota hai”. In short, you will find yourself. 

  • Identity

When you move into your American house and lifestyle, it is possible that you don’t know where you belong. You might suffer from an identity crisis and not understand American society and find everything from walking on the right side of the road to random strangers wishing you good morning, weird.  

  • Food

The food in America isn’t very different but you might have to look for your Indian food in some high-end expensive restaurants. Because what is Junk food in India, is a cheap and comfortable option in America. So before you move, make sure you have your dietary preferences set and are ready to take on some junk food as your new normal. 

How?

Now, you know why and what, but it is necessary to understand how to navigate these social challenges. You need to accept your Indianness now more than ever. Embracing your heritage and culture will help you establish a unique identity in America. This identity is a mix of saying good mornings to strangers and paying respect to elders (American and Indian). 

It would help if you learned to celebrate some American holidays while continuing to celebrate your Indian festivals.  Become a little open-minded. Be flexible in learning new things, adapting to new cultures, and even creating new traditions. Take on different experiences, opportunities, and chances, and we promise you will start settling in. 

Further, to ensure that you are able to adapt, you need to meet people like yourself—yes, Indians abroad. Look for other Indian immigrants who have been living in America for a few years before you even buy those plane tickets. This will help you better understand America and the American dream. 

Financial Considerations for Indians Before Moving to the States

Why? 

You need to consider your current financial situation in India before moving to the US even comes to mind. This is because, unless you belong to the royal family, America isn’t cheap. Why do you need to consider finances? With ever-increasing inflation, it is necessary to be aware of the exact dollars you could spend on everything. So, before anything, make sure you have ample funds. 

What? 

After understanding why financial changes will occur, you need to know what these changes are and why you should consider them when deciding to move to the US. 

  • Pressures

Whether a student or a working professional, you will face financial pressure when you shift there. If you are a student, make sure to get a job as soon as you land there. If you are a working professional, shift only if you have a high-paying job or are ready to take on another job. 

  • Career

Transitioning to a new country for a job is a huge leap, but if you have decided to take it, you need to know your career goals and work towards them. Before you move to the US, you need to know how your career path will look and how financially beneficial it will be. 

  • Living Costs

As mentioned, America isn’t cheap. Be prepared to have ample funds to ensure your living costs are enough to sustain you. Research costs that are enough to sustain you, and research financial requirements before moving. 

How? 

Now the question comes: how do you know about the financial needs of moving to America and how to take care of them? If you are a student, ensure you have at least a partial scholarship. You don’t want to spend lakhs on tuition. If you are able to get a full scholarship, that would be good for you! 

If you are moving for a job, you must contact someone already posted in your company and ask them about the financial challenges and career growth before you set up for the move. If you are adamant about moving, you must be ready to learn new skills to earn more. You could also seek mentorship for better opportunities and networking. 

You should plan for your cost of living. Even before you move, you need to create a budget. This will help you keep your expenses within the limit and help you save early. You should also be ready for any unexpected situations and have your finances prepared for them. Research renting, groceries, transport and other expenses to create a viable budget. 

If you do some research, your estimate to live in New York; if we take for an example, it should come around $3000/ month, which is inclusive of $1,500-$1600 for rent, $100 for travel insurance, $200-$300 for going around, $30-$40 for food every day and $350 for entertainment. 

Legal Considerations for Indians Before Moving to the States

Why? 

You need an answer to this question: why could you legally move to the US, i.e., if you could legally be an immigrant in America? This is technically and legally a heavy question. It would help if you were sure you could get a Visa to America and have a clean record. The legal knowledge will assist you in being aware of your rights as an immigrant.  

What?

After understanding why legal changes will occur, you need to know what these changes are and why you should consider them when deciding to move to the US.  

  • Visa

There are different kinds of visas, and before you decide to move, you need to be sure about the type of Visa you would require and apply for. You might also want to speak to an immigration attorney for better research. Yes, go talk to a professional, Uncle around the corner doesn’t count, unless of course he is an attorney.

There are visas like work visas(H-1B, L-1), student visas(F-1), and Green cards. You need to be familiar with the application process, timeline, and other requirements for each Visa, especially for the one you wish to apply for.  

  • Laws

Before you move to the States, you must become familiar with US laws, rules, regulations, and tax obligations. This will help you adjust better and make you part of society sooner than you know. 

How? 

You can do your research or reach out to a professional. This will help you to be confident about your paperwork and legal requirements. If you are going as a student, you must be a part of a study or exchange program to get a Visa. And if it is work, you must be employed for a work visa. 

Other Considerations for Indians Before Moving to the States

It would help if you focused on other considerations before moving to the US. These are equally essential for an immigrant to know since you wouldn’t be entirely ready for the move if you didn’t know about them (whispers: you actually can never be ready to move away from home- shed a tear)

  • Job Market

If you are going there for work, this might seem irrelevant. Still, if you believe you could do more than one job and are going on a student visa, you need to be aware of the job market and the available opportunities concerning your skills. You need to understand the market trends, salary expectations, and employment benefits, among other things. 

  • Banking

Before you move, you must look at the bank and finances and open an account to take care of your finances there. To be better prepared, research and understand banking services, fees, financial planning options, and currency exchange rates. 

You also need to figure out how to send and receive money from India after you have moved to America. Before you move to US, you must understand this to ensure you have all the required documents at the time of move. 

  • Healthcare 

You should familiarize yourself with the US healthcare system, including health insurance coverage, doctors, prescription medications, and medical facilities. 

  • Housing

Before you move, you should know where you will be living. Research apartments, houses, or condos in a safe and convenient neighborhood or closer to your workplace, public transportation, shopping centers, etc. 

  • Education

If you are moving to America with your family, look at the school or college options that would be best for your kids if you have them—research about the best schools and other educational resources. 

  • Transportation

Public transportation isn’t too common in America. Thus, it would be better if you researched and got your hands on a secondhand vehicle, be it even a bicycle. Before you move, you must learn about traffic rules and driving regulations. If you are getting a car, then you could attain your driver’s license and car insurance and research the same before moving. 

  • Climate

The Indian climate and weather are very different from that of America. Thus, you should be prepared for the stark difference. Research the weather and climate of the city you plan to move to. Research about seasonal variations, natural disasters, and extreme temperatures will help you to plan and pack accordingly. 

  • Metric System

In America, the metric system is still very traditional (they are modern in everything except this). The distance is measured in miles, the temperature in Fahrenheit, and the weight in pounds. Before you move, practice such little things beforehand. 

  • Networking

Be it for job hunting or your homesickness, you need to network. It would help if you came in touch with other Indian immigrants. You can look for them on Facebook groups or contact the professionals who help get Visas to put you in touch with other Indian immigrants. If you are going for education, you can come in contact with the university’s seniors or your mentor and get a better understanding of the move to America.

  • Emergency

You must know about the emergency contact even before you move there. This will help you feel less anxious because you will know who to call in an emergency. Plus, when researching the move, remember the emergency supplies and documents required, if ever for the same. 

Is the Move to the States Worth? 

Now, if we go by the practical sense, it can be worthy enough to shift to the US if you know you can make a proper career out there. The move could be worth it if you can bag a high-paying white-collar job. You never know; maybe this move is what you have been waiting for your whole life. Worthiness depends on what you consider success? If waking at ten every morning and taking two classes in your partially funded college is a success for you, all the best to you (Yes, it is sarcasm again)!!

Conclusion

Now, as the curtains are drawn, we have helped you understand the essential requirements you must keep in mind before making the move. We have provided you with the information. We can only set the board for your game; rolling the dice is your job. Decide if moving to the States will bring you emotional and financial fulfillment, and if the answer is YES, congratulations, our blog is for you. And if not, that too is okay; life’s not a game after all. 

Looking for more great reads? India To States has plenty of content similar to this. Check it out here!

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About The Author

Picture of Drishti Choudhary

Drishti Choudhary

Drishti is a bibliophile whose writing describes her views about everyday nuances. She writes to explore a diverse realm of thought. With a keen focus on feminism and politics, she champions equality in society.
Picture of Drishti Choudhary

Drishti Choudhary

Drishti is a bibliophile whose writing describes her views about everyday nuances. She writes to explore a diverse realm of thought. With a keen focus on feminism and politics, she champions equality in society.

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