As I start my writing again, I gravitate towards my pet topic of India and US again! 🙂
As I see the numbers swell outside the US Consulate to obtain a US visa, I recollect some of the myths that we dealt with when we were stepping into the US(many,many years ago!)
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- Rosy dream starts right away? Nope, the rosy dreamy takes time and patience… 🙂 I hear so much about people getting paid much better in US than in India – but that might not be true immediately. If you are in high demand states like California or New York in high demand professions like IT, it may be a possibility. But everybody goes through a settling phase of a new employer, new country, new prices , new car and so on. So, the magical six figure salary in US dollars might not arrive instantly for all.
- Cost of living in US is much higher than in India. Period. 🙂
- Even though we feel that “everybody” from India is in the US, the fact is that we cannot see “everybody” or “anybody” since everybody is in a different state and going from state to state to meet anybody/everybody is not feasible. So, in all possibilities you will see “everybody” in India, only! 🙂
- Will you earn better if you have a US degree? Nope, there too. It has always been the economics concept of ‘supply vs demand’ that has brought Indian professionals to the US. If you have the right skills that are in demand currently in the US, you don’t need a US degree to validate your experience(although pursuing higher education in the US is a delight 🙂 and a higher degree might prove beneficial later on in the career)
- Are jobs stable in the US? Nope, again! 🙂 Just as software professionals get paid astronomically they get laid off easily too. After all what is a company to do – when they themselves are sinking? And with immigration policies constantly changing, jobs are never a certainty. In addition, professionals ‘on the bench’ waiting for the next project is also a reality.
- “Can I start studying immediately?” might be another thought for those on dependent visas. Pursuing higher education in US is a wonderful experience but it does pinch the pockets. In order to pay for your graduate education, you may have to work as a research assistant or teaching assistant or do other eligible jobs(within visa conditions) Bottom line, US education is good but not cheap.
- Professionals get paid according to their location – it might not be so evident in India – but it is in the US. If you make $50K in Georgia, you need $81K in San Diego, California!! For more information on cost of living calculators in the US, visit this link (Source: http://money.cnn.com/calculator/pf/cost-of-living/index.html)
- Health insurance is an absolute necessity for all members of the family and for all visiting family members too. It can be quite tricky too. When living abroad, pray that you never fall seriously sick. Not only will you not have enough moral support, the physical support will be missing as well.
- Is driving hard in the US? Nope – on the other hand, it is quite a pleasure 🙂 One will definitely enjoy the perfectly regulated traffic and lane discipline. I know, I did! 🙂
- And lastly the spouses of those on H1 visas and F1 visas cannot work. This can be a real bummer particularly for women who were actively working in India.
Once you are done with all the ups and downs of finding the perfect employer and perfect place to live along with a good community, living in the US will be a dream come true! 🙂 (at least for a couple of years!)