Saturday, September 5, 2009
When is the right time to go to US?
Are you one of those folks who dream about going to US, but haven't taken any action towards it? Are you waiting for the 'perfect' time to go to US? Have you been procrastinating your move to US? Are you not sure about when to go to US? I have seen people walking into this dream land during different stages of life. I'll share my perceptions here & hopefully, it helps you in making a decision. (Also read: Green Card vs. US Citizenship)
Right after your college education - Many folks go to US to do their higher studies. Leading a student life is a bit difficult - not much money at hand; have to maintain multiple credit cards to payoff bills; have to work somewhere in addition to studies etc., But, you'll learn lots of interesting life lessons during this period. Depending upon the university you join, you'll also get good academic knowledge. You can also develop a network of friends during your school. Only thing you'll miss is "luxury", unless your parents have piles of cash under their mattress. You'll complete your higher studies in 2 or 3 years. After that, when you get into a full-time job, your quality of life will improve tremendously. (Note: I haven't seen someone going to US to "work", right after their college. You'll need some work experience in India before going to US to work)
When you are a bachelor - This is the time when you can take more risks. You have everything in the world to GAIN but very little to lose. It will be more fun when you have lots of friends in US (especially, in the same locality where you live). You can do a variety of things with your friends - regular get togethers, lots of driving, visiting new/interesting places, hiking/sports, hangouts during nights, etc., Also, you'll have lots of time to work - you can go above and beyond what is expected out of you at work. This period will help you to 'establish' yourself at work. Even if you don't have a stable or high-paying job, you can take the hit during your bachelor days. Your cost of living will also be very low (because of shared accommodation/expenses). You'll be able to save a lot of money during this period.
Right after your wedding - Spending the first few years of post-marriage life in US is exciting. Your spouse would enjoy getting your total attention (i.e., you won't be disturbed by family/relatives etc.,). You can also visit a lot of places. You may have some challenge with respect to achieving work-life balance. If your spouse cannot work in US & if you are spending more hours at work, your spouse may feel lonely. Some spouses may enjoy loneliness and others may not. I have seen a case where it ended up in divorce, right after a year. If you don't have a stable job or don't have good pay - you may have to lead a conservative life (i.e., you cannot buy a lot of things for your home, you may not be having a car, you cannot dine out frequently etc.,) The single biggest expense during this period will be your house rent. Other expenses are somewhat manageable. If you have a stable job & good pay, you can lead a luxurious life.
After your kid - Going to US during this stage of life will be challenging. You need to have lots of patience & tolerance. You should be able to adapt quickly to the changes/challenges. If you have a stable job & good pay, you can lead a decent life. However, job stability in US is always a big question mark - especially during the first few years of your career in US. Moreover, your starting salary would be typically less. If your kid is too small & if your spouse is also not working, you'll feel the pinch. You may not be able to do justification to your work as well as your family (i.e., establishing work-life balance would be difficult). During the initial days, if the kid gets sick, you may have to depend on someone to take you to hospital & you may need help from your friends to do even shopping. You have to lead a conservative life because the expenses will sky rocket (house rent, groceries, medical bills, commute/travel costs, kids' toys, etc.,). When the kid is above 2 years, you need to put him/her in pre-school. For a kid to go to a day care or a pre-school, you need to pay atleast $500/$600 per month. After 4 years, if you cannot put your kid in public school, you need to pay atleast $1000 per month as private school fees. You have to sit tight on expenses. If your objective is to earn money in US, you may not be able to achieve your goal quickly (especially, if there is only single income).
In Tamil, there is a saying "Thirai kadal oadiyum thiraviyam theadu" which means "Sail across ocean to find wealth". Going to US gives you lots of exposure & can also make you rich. Unless, you have family reasons that force you to stay in India, I would highly recommend you to go to US and work for a few years (especially, if you are in the IT field).
Going to US through a consultant on a H1B Visa?
Stages of Immigrant Life in USA
Green Card vs. US Citizenship
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