Going to the USA? A few tips for you
Finally, your long-awaited visa for America has arrived and you are set to go. But before you embark on your exciting journey to the USA, here are some points to note down that might help you to visit, work or settle down in the USA.
So here we go:
DON’T ASK A PERSON’S SALARY: This works opposite to India. In India, you can ask your friends or colleagues how much they make a month but in the US this is considered rude or being nosy.
MIND THE PERSONAL SPACE: The US is a massive space of land and is about 3 times the size of India but has only a fourth of its population; so personal space has more room in the US than in India. Keep your distance and tread carefully! A sher comes to mind:
कोई हाथ भी न मिलाएगा जो गले मिलोगे तपाक से
ये नए मिज़ाज़ का शहर है जरा फासले से मिला करो ।
KEEP EYE CONTACT: In India not keeping eye contact with your elderlies, boss, teachers, etc. can be deemed as respectful, but in the USA it may indicate that you are trying to hide something.
CORRUPTION IS HARDLY EVIDENT: You don’t have to deal with corruption in your day-to-day life in the USA.
THE USA IS NOT A BED OF ROSES: It will take you a few good years before you settle down and until then you are on your own. As you start off in the US, you will have no other option than to do everything for yourself and work hard like you never did it before.
MANUAL JOBS ARE EXPENSIVE: If you ever need a plumber, an electrician, their fee for an hour’s work for fixing a problem in your bathroom or the kitchen can be more than what you might make in a day.
PAY ATTENTION TO YOUR PERSONAL HYGIENE: Body odour and bad breath are definitely NO.
THEY MAY NOT KNOW: Don’t be surprised if your fellow students, colleagues, or friends do not know the “iconic” Indians such as MUKESH AMBANI, SHAHRUKH KHAN, OR VIRAT KOHLI or that India recently sent a successful mission to Mars.
KEEP THE LAW ON THE RIGHT SIDE: A criminal conviction can stay on your record for years and can harm your credit score to security clearance as well as any job and credit applications.
THERE ARE OTHER SPORTS THAN CRICKET: Americans are sports crazy and the sports seasons go all year round. There are many sports that are immensely popular in the USA namely soccer, ice hockey, basketball, and baseball to name a few. However, don’t be surprised if no one knows what an LBW or leg-spin is!
AMERICANS ARE AVID SHOPPERS: Hence there is a big sales event every holiday weekend.
WEEKENDS ARE BIG THINGS: Americans work from Monday to Friday and in the weekend they tend to do things that are fun and sporty which can be anything from taking children to places, going out walking and trips to beaches and parks.
AMERICAN WORK A LOT: Americans work a lot compared to other nations and a typical working week can be 45 hours and more but with few public and annual holidays.
MUSIC AND MOVIES: Watching movies is a big pastime in America and so is listening to music, attending live music bands and concerts.
DO IT YOURSELF: Americans like to do the home improvement works whenever they can and DIY is a big thing for them. On weekends many go to their local DIY stores to buy tools and materials for their home and garden.
IT IS GAS: A petrol station in the US is known as a gas station and unlike India; you fill the patrol, sorry gas, in your car yourself.
HEALTHCARE IS EXPENSIVE: You need some sort of medical insurance to cover you for your treatment. Going directly to a hospital and getting treated can cost thousands of dollars.
MOBILE PHONES: Most mobile phones bought in India also work in the USA.
When a waiter/waitress asks you “what would you like to drink?” It means alcoholic drink.
INSURANCE FOR EVERYTHING: You will need insurance for medical help to drive your car.
NO SAVING: After paying your rent/mortgage, phone bills, water tax, electricity tax, and other bills, there would not be much left of your salary.
MIND YOUR BURGERS: Both hamburgers and cheeseburgers have beef in them. If you don’t eat beef then avoid them.
DRIVE ON THE RIGHT SIDE OF THE ROAD: You will need some time and practice before you get used to it even if you can drive.
DO NOT HONK UNLESS IT IS NECESSARY: For example when someone has made a hazard for you.
BE TIMELY: If meeting someone or if someone has invited you for dinner at six – be there at six. If for some inevitable reason you are going to be late, let them know as soon as you can.
MADE IN INDIA: Most appliances that you buy in the USA are made in China and most clothes are imported from countries such as Bangladesh, Pakistan, and India.
TIMEZONES: There are 4 time zones in the country and each time zone is different in time by an hour.
CONVERSATION TIP: The more you know about American music movies and sports, the long conversation you will hold with your neighbours, friends, and colleagues.
LONGER SUMMER: In summer the clock is set forward an hour.
Once 65 you are entitled to retirement benefits and free healthcare.
CREDIT SCORE: Whether you will be given a loan or eligible to buy a house or car on finance depends on how solid your credit score is. Defaulting on a payment can harm it.
EDUCATION: Primary education is free but not higher education.
BEING ASIAN: When Americans say someone is an Asian they mean that the person is from China, Vietnam, or an East Asian country.
COMING FACE TO FACE WITH LAW: If pulled over by a police officer, just don’t come out of your car and keep your hands in a 10.10 position on the steering wheel. Keep this position and let the police officer come to you.
PARDON ME: Don’t burp after eating and especially when you are in places like a restaurant, a party, etc. While in India it is socially acceptable, in the USA it is not.
NO CHILD’S GAME: Touching a stranger’s child or playing with it is a big NO regardless of your innocent intention or a customary habit from India. It may get told off big time.
NO STARING: You will find people from all races, all faiths, and looks in America, especially in big cities. Don’t stare or you might be stared back with “What are you looking at?”
FIRST NAME ONLY: When it comes to calling a person by his name you would need to use his or her first name regardless of their age. You may need to address someone with their last name with title (Mr. Baker) if the person is a customer etc.
TIPPING: Tips are expected very much whether you hire a taxi, eat in a restaurant or go to a barber for your haircut. A 15% of bill is the norm to leave a tip.
CARS ARE MORE A necessity than a luxury.
FUEL IS CHEAP: And that is the main reason why the Americans drive some of the massive cars. The trend is changing though.
CALL THEM FIRST: You cannot arrive unannounced at your friends’ or even your parents’ house as you can do in India. It is a good practice to call your host and make sure they are not busy seeing you.
THANKS, AND SORRY: get the habit of saying hello, thanks, and sorry in everyday life. You will need them.
MEAT EATERS: Americans consume a lot of meat and all sorts of meat. If you are a vegetarian, the options may look a bit tough for you.
PUBLIC TRANSPORT: Except in big cities, public transport may not exist or can be very limited. That’s the main reason why the car is a necessity.
You can drive for a year on an Indian driving licence if it is in English.
You will need Social Security Number to work in the US.
BUYING GUNS: Buying a gun in America takes less time and documents than buying a gas cylinder in India!
AMERICAN ENGLISH: though the grammatical structure remains pretty much the same, Americans do say certain words differently to Indians; for example, a dikki becomes a trunk, a purse becomes a wallet.