Damian H. is a British Expat who relocated to Minnesota, a state in the Midwestern region of the United States. Together with his wife, Damian is enjoying his move to the United States, where he is taking every piece of advice with a “pinch of salt”. Read about Damian’s experience moving to the USA and learn what his biggest challenges were.
Q. DID YOU RELOCATE WITH FAMILY? CHILDREN? HOW ARE THEY ADJUSTING TO RELOCATING? WHAT DO THEY ENJOY MOST ABOUT THEIR NEW COUNTRY?
A. With my wife. Adjusting well, enjoying the excellent summer and emphatic winter. UK weather is very timid in comparison to Minnesota.
Q. HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOUR FIRST FEW MONTHS IN YOUR NEW LOCATION? ANY CHALLENGES? IF SO, HOW DID YOU RESOLVE THEM?
A. Multiple challenges mainly around unfamiliarity and insularity. The US is astonishingly self-referential and persuading somebody that actually you had a jolly good credit rating in another country is very difficult. It makes things like getting a phone contract annoyingly awkward. Being asked if I could provide my driving history “in English” since I was coming from overseas was a highlight. “That’s OK”, I answered calmly. “We speak English in England.” Patience and humor are the only solutions.
Q. NOW THAT YOU ARE SETTLING IN, IS THERE A BIG CHANGE IN CULTURE? DID YOU FIND ANY HELPFUL RESOURCES FOR EXPATS?
A. The sheer sparseness of the population here (Minnesota) compared to the UK – only about one tenth the population density in MN – makes people self-referential to a bewildering extent. People not quite saying what they mean – the so-called “Minnesota Nice” – isn’t really very helpful.
Q. ARE THERE ANY TIPS YOU WOULD GIVE TO A FRIEND OR FELLOW EXPAT THAT YOU WISH SOMEONE SHARED WITH YOU BEFORE YOU BEGAN YOUR FOREIGN ASSIGNMENT/RELOCATION?
A. Make a plan. Make it early. Start reading about your destination. Get the company to get you a phone that is waiting for you on arrival. Costs them next to nothing, eases your life by about a million dollars’ worth. Oh, and take every piece of advice with a pinch of salt.