May 4, 2015

Moving to the U.S. - 8 Handy Tips

Submitted by Doron Talegaonkar  

When moving to or visiting the U.S. on business trips, these handy tips can help you with cross-cultural understanding.
  1. Talk slow and clear English. Accent doesn't matter but be precise when you talk about or present anything.
  2. While going to a downtown area of any city in the evenings make sure you are with a group and stay together.
  3. Take an International Driving Permit letter from your local licensing RTO office.
  4. Never call-up any American-based family especially on their home phone after 9.30pm unless absolutely necessary.
  5. Get used to eating lots of salads, sandwiches and soups.
  6. Is is always good to get a Wegmans / Walmart / Walgreens /Costco Shopping Discount card. They save a lot of money in the long-term. (The photo in this post is of keychain store savings tags.) 
  7. Read the instructions on the meter. In many
    towns, drivers pay for parking from Monday-
    Friday, 9-6 and Saturdays 9-5.
  8. Always have a few quarters and dollar bills handy. These are extremely useful if you need to use toll roads, pay phones, laundry machines or during parking especially in downtown and other busy neighborhoods. Note that if you have to put coins in a parking meter, keep track of the time because in some towns if you park in that spot even one minute late, you could be issued a parking ticket starting from $25 depending on the town or city you are in. 
  9. Each city (or state) has its own traffic rules - for example compulsory rear seat passenger seat belts, no talking on the cellphone while driving (if you talk on the phone or text and get caught you may be heavily fined and/or get points on your license), speed limit in a school zone district and yielding to all emergency vehicles. No knowledge of these could lead to severe fines. Make sure to update yourself on the traffic rules and regulations.

Photo credits: Jennifer Kumar.

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  1. Also, always make sure that you keep some paper cash (few bills of 1, 5, 10 and 20) and quarters (25 cent coins for tolls) handy ! I have seen many people carry only their credit or debit cards and some grocery / shopping stores (esp. in NYC downtown or Mid-town Manhattan) might not accept these cards always !

  2. Fantastic additional tip, Doron. Duly noted, carrying some cash is always useful, as we never know when it may come in handy. I may add to this, that at some shopping centers and grocery stores that accept ATM payments at the register, additional cash can be withdrawn while making payment for groceries. For instance, if your grocery bill is $30.45, and you want $50 in cash, you can make your ATM total $80.45. The cashier would then give you $50 back in cash. Ask at the register if the store allows you to take out cash above your total and the maximums for this. The advantage of taking out the money this way (rather than going to the ATM for the same) is there are generally no addition transaction fees like the ATM charges!

  3. 1. Fabulous idea, Jennifer ! The "cash above your total concept" is known as CASHBACK and it comes as an option on few of the payment screens else you can ask the cashier !

    2. If your American-based colleagues around you crack a witty joke with lots of American local slang words or talk about things in general about America and you don't understand at first, let them finish talking and then it is completely okay to tell them that you did not quite understand what they were trying to say. Try to relate their talks to the same experiences you've had in India and it'll make things much easier for you to converse with them, as well. Americans are very considerate and will make sure that they somehow involve you as a part of their conversation. I've personally experienced this and still am.

    3. Try to Learn about American football and basketball (few famous teams and players). It's a great way to strike a up a lunch-time conversation with your friends and colleagues at work.

  4. Your comments are spot-on, Doron. Yes, great that you got the term I forgot- CASHBACK.

    Great tips on relating to American's jokes. You are right, for the most part Americans are forgiving of this and understand not everyone gets jokes. In fact, I feel jokes in a cross-cultural setting are sometimes the hardest thing to relate to!

  5. Hi Doron, Great info! A colleague is going to the US next month and we were just looking online for something like this.. Shall forward this to him.. Thanks for sharing!

  6. Absolutely, Arjun. Doron has some fantastic tips!

  7. You are welcome Arjun. Your colleague and you are most welcome to post your comments or questions, if any ! Also, please do take a look at the additional tips (mentioned by Jennifer and me) in the comments section below. Thanks for your feedback !

  8. Great tips. I believe your tips are also applicable when one is relocating to perth. Thanks for posting them.


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