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Moving to USA?


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#1 Clara0009

Posted 18 January 2020 - 02:21 PM

Anyone have any experiences to share regarding moving to USA with a family for work for a few years? We are looking at some job opportunities at the moment.
Any thoughts about different states/locations, schooling, challenges etc.

#2 lizzzard

Posted 18 January 2020 - 02:52 PM

Hmmmm.... I was offered the opportunity to move to the US (Washington DC) a number of years ago. I went over for a 6 week ‘try before you buy’ trial.,., and ended up moving to Canada instead ;) For me the social/political difference to Australia just didn’t make me feel like the US was the right choice for me. Canada was perfect because I still ended up working in the US a lot (I had a permit) but Canada felt more like home.

Definitely do your research. In my experience the corporate working culture is quite different to Australia. You need to know how to sell yourself and time off for holidays is not as accepted / typical as in Australia and Europe.

#3 beccaj

Posted 18 January 2020 - 04:06 PM

We have San Francisco Bay area, kids were in yr 4 and 7 for the move. PM if this is the area of USA you're considering, happy to chat about our experience

#4 osmund

Posted 18 January 2020 - 06:30 PM

I have lived in both San Francisco and New York - with and without kids. I am happy to chat via PM as well.

#5 Owls

Posted 18 January 2020 - 06:37 PM

Can be absolutely wonderful and also very hard.

Given the Trump mess, not a time I'd be rushing back.

Many differences, positive and negative, probably one of the hardest was having very little annual leave/sick leave and a longer work day (8+ hours as a minimum with any breaks on top of that). 2 weeks annual leave/1 week sick if you are lucky and generally taken a day here or there so never a break.

If you have kids and work full time you won't see them much. Big long school holidays for them you need to fill with camps/daycare etc. But, depending on the job, money is much much better so one parent can more easily stay home.

Schools are funding by housing tax so they vary wildly by location.
Hard to give much advice without knowing what field you are in and what areas you are looking at, the USA is far more diverse by location than Aus.

#6 Dianalynch

Posted 18 January 2020 - 07:06 PM

We considered it, but for the industry dh is in, he’d always be at work, and I mean always, lucky to get 2 weeks annual leave, not the same flexibility we have where dh comes home ‘early’, spends time with the kids and works at night. He would rarely see them, and it’s not what we wanted while they are little.

#7 tothebeach

Posted 18 January 2020 - 10:28 PM

I struggled with the US working culture and I’ve worked in Africa, Australia, Europe and Asia.   Too much presenteeism, long pointless hours, not enough straight talking in meetings, too much stuffing around.

I was surprised as I didn’t expect a culture shock moving to the US.  I worked in New York - Finance and consulting.

#8 IShallWearTinsel

Posted 19 January 2020 - 12:53 AM

 lizzzard, on 18 January 2020 - 02:52 PM, said:

Hmmmm.... I was offered the opportunity to move to the US (Washington DC) a number of years ago. I went over for a 6 week ‘try before you buy’ trial.,., and ended up moving to Canada instead ;) For me the social/political difference to Australia just didn’t make me feel like the US was the right choice for me. Canada was perfect because I still ended up working in the US a lot (I had a permit) but Canada felt more like home.

Definitely do your research. In my experience the corporate working culture is quite different to Australia. You need to know how to sell yourself and time off for holidays is not as accepted / typical as in Australia and Europe.

This would be a deciding factor for me too. We have a much better work/life balance over here and our social support is miles ahead

#9 dadwasathome

Posted 19 January 2020 - 07:41 AM

 tothebeach, on 18 January 2020 - 10:28 PM, said:

I struggled with the US working culture and I’ve worked in Africa, Australia, Europe and Asia.   Too much presenteeism, long pointless hours, not enough straight talking in meetings, too much stuffing around.

I was surprised as I didn’t expect a culture shock moving to the US.  I worked in New York - Finance and consulting.

My SIL was amazed that DP and I weren't having to do work while we're on our holidays - a thing she has to do even when on the other side of the world. She's also struggling with how to balance being a new mother with a senior role in a firm - luckily BIL is a reseracher and can usually be more flexible than she can.

#10 BeachesBaby

Posted 19 January 2020 - 10:32 AM

The points that a lot of people have made about work culture are fair, but also pay is generally higher to compensate, and the amount of future opportunities to rise through the ranks once you put in the work is much greater. That said, not every company or area of the US is like this, and there are so many incredible opportunities to diversify your and your children's lives by living in a place like the US.

Cities in places like Texas can offer good job opportunities, huge homes for affordable prices, interesting diversity living so close to Mexico, and warm weather to avoid the snow. The midwest, while very cold in winter, has probably some of the nicest and most welcoming people you'll meet, and such interesting cultural heritage. The North East is anything from the crunchy outdoors lifestyle of Vermont/New Hampshire/Maine, to the hustle and bustle of NYC, or to a lesser degree somewhere like Philadelphia or Washington DC. The South is an interesting place all unto its own, again with such a diverse set of cultures and such wonderfully nice people. And then the west coast gives you anything from Oregon/Washington, where it may rain all the time, but people still choose to spend much of their free time outside, to southern california for the aussie surf lifestyle, or even LA which is closer to the NYC lifestyle. Inland living in someplace like Colorado where the great outdoors are on your doorstep, and winter skiing or summer hiking are the big hits, would actually be a dream of mine.

There's really so much to choose from, and even as an American who chooses to live in Aus, I wouldn't tell someone not to move to the US if it presented with a good opportunity. You may find you love it, or that it's not for you, everyone is different.

#11 Clara0009

Posted 15 February 2020 - 02:05 PM

Thanks all. These comments have been very useful. Any thoughts about children growing up in USA and the effect on them and the transition when moving back to Aus after several years?

#12 just roses

Posted 15 February 2020 - 02:10 PM

I've had several colleagues live and work in the USA with children. For each, the gun culture has been the toughest thing to deal with. Read the recent reflections of one:

https://www.abc.net....osting/11795138

#13 Lucrezia Bauble

Posted 15 February 2020 - 02:13 PM

i’d do San Fran in a heartbeat, New York City, maybe Jersey, Boston....i’d stay clear of small town america or any of the “square” states.


#14 Clara0009

Posted 15 February 2020 - 02:16 PM

Thanks just roses, that link was very good, albeit a worry. Much to think about. It seems the opportunities in the USA are excellent, but come at a cost, perhaps.

#15 lizzzard

Posted 16 February 2020 - 09:17 AM

My English friend moved with their two pre-teen children to New York for two years. They ended up moving back to the UK largely because she felt the culture was having a certain effect on her kids - specifically selfish/individualistic and materialistic. To be fair I think she went into it with a certain concern about this in the first place and maybe it was just typical teenage behaviour that she attributed to ‘US culture’ but that was her experience anyway.... They also went to expensive private schools in NY - so that context was surely part of it.

#16 threeinnyc

Posted 17 February 2020 - 04:10 AM

Hi OP, we are Australians from Sydney but have been living in Manhattan since 2013. We meant to stay for 2 years but liking NYC a whole lot lol we keep renewing our visa (we bought a coop apartment last year even).

I’m happy to chat more about it, DM me on Instagram anytime it’s @itisimilo

Good luck!

#17 threeinnyc

Posted 17 February 2020 - 04:13 AM

View Postlizzzard, on 16 February 2020 - 09:17 AM, said:

My English friend moved with their two pre-teen children to New York for two years. They ended up moving back to the UK largely because she felt the culture was having a certain effect on her kids - specifically selfish/individualistic and materialistic. To be fair I think she went into it with a certain concern about this in the first place and maybe it was just typical teenage behaviour that she attributed to ‘US culture’ but that was her experience anyway.... They also went to expensive private schools in NY - so that context was surely part of it.

That’s just bad luck I reckon. My son also goes to expensive private school and the school culture is family orientated, and community minded. All students are kind and no one is selfish.

#18 annodam

Posted 17 February 2020 - 06:08 AM

I have a friend from the UK, her OH was born in the US, she has 2 sons also born in the UK.
They moved here when her eldest was 5 & her youngest was 3 at the time.
The kids loved it here & found lots of friends, she also loves AU & was reluctant to move to the US when the time came.
The only reason they moved over is because her 2 boys are heavily involved in Baseball & the opportunities are far greater over there than here.
They live in Austin, TX.
Once the boys are firmly established in the College system over there, she’ll be coming back here, she cannot stand the gun culture nor the Trump Administration.  Plus, the Medical system is fk’ed too!
Oh & the boys struggled with the School system, both having to repeat their year levels.  They found the kids over there not as friendly as here, all fake, 3 Schools her boys went to before they found a HS & MS they liked.  Her youngest was Homeschooled for a bit too.


#19 KittyTsui

Posted 17 February 2020 - 08:27 AM

West Coast (San Fran, Palo Alto, part of LA) is great. The north (e.g. twin cities) is under-rated. Parts of the East Coast are good.

Schooling is a really mixed bag. Some areas of some states, the school system blows Australia's out of the water. Others you think 'is this a developed or developing country?'. Some public schools are funded by property taxes in the area, so, by moving to a wealthy area (even if just renting) you can find your children attending a public school with swimming pools, music classes, extra languages etc... makes some private schools in Australia look shabby. Check this out, it kinda makes the above points for me: https://www.abc.net....unding/11837168

If it were me, I'd go Palo Alto if for the number of bilingual schools on offer, plus being near Stanford University (fond memories), electric multi-cultural mix, skiing and surfing options near by... just lovely.

#20 annodam

Posted 17 February 2020 - 09:59 AM

^    And what if one simply cannot relocate to a wealthy area?

My friend in PA posts photos on FB of her 3rd & 1st grader sons posing with their new bullet proof backpacks & bullet proof hoodies.
Yeah, no thanks!

#21 KittyTsui

Posted 17 February 2020 - 10:13 AM

Then it really depends on the state you move to. Some states have better public education systems than offers. Some of the mid west states are shocking, some barely pay teachers above the very low minimum wage, barely resources public schools at all etc. So don't move to one of those states.

There are areas of the US where even schools in middle-class suburbs are good, including some parts of California and some parts of the East Coast. I'd suggest the OP researches potential areas carefully.

As for guns... well, no real escaping that in the US :(

View Postannodam, on 17 February 2020 - 09:59 AM, said:

^ And what if one simply cannot relocate to a wealthy area?

My friend in PA posts photos on FB of her 3rd & 1st grader sons posing with their new bullet proof backpacks & bullet proof hoodies.
Yeah, no thanks!


#22 seayork2002

Posted 17 February 2020 - 10:26 AM

My experience of living in the US (mainly as a child) was there is a big difference between rural US towns in very unpopulated states (my main experience) and living in LA/NY and other large cities.

I am planning on visiting but  doubt I could live there and I still have relatives there.

If you are planning on I would carefully research all aspects especially the medical. It was a while ago but the school I went to was not much different to my Aussie school really they did not make me stand up to pledge allegiance and I was popular with all their Aussie questions

The adults all assumed we were for everywhere but Australia though with our accents!

Oh and guns really were everywhere - but I was based in big hunting areas

Edited by seayork2002, 17 February 2020 - 10:27 AM.


#23 lizzzard

Posted 17 February 2020 - 04:34 PM

 threeinnyc, on 17 February 2020 - 04:13 AM, said:



That’s just bad luck I reckon. My son also goes to expensive private school and the school culture is family orientated, and community minded. All students are kind and no one is selfish.

Yes you are probably right about it being bad luck. I think there was some confirmation bias going on....




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