11 Things You Need to Know Before Moving to the US

11 Things You Need to Know Before Moving to the US
The US is such a big country that it would be hard to give tips on living here in general, but there are some similarities between states that you can consider. Indeed, Americans do share certain qualities that would be perfect to look at, especially if you’re an outsider planning to live in this country for a long time.
Of course, before moving to an unfamiliar country like the US, you have to be knowledgeable of their immigration rules, which you can read about on the country’s official website. But values are something you don’t get vicariously, so here are some of the most important: 
  1. Be prepared for an abundance of “fast-food” chains. You’ll be surprised with the abundance of cheap, fast-food restaurants everywhere. The country’s fast-food market reached $255 billion in 2016. Though organic, artisanal, or healthier places to eat aren’t really hard to come by, enjoying a meal from these food joints all the time can get pretty expensive.
  1. Almost everyone uses cards instead of cash. Most Americans swipe credit/debit cards instead of paying hard cash. Even street vendors would rather have your card than your crumpled one-dollar bill. A cashless society par excellence, the States is fast-embracing the no-cash policy as years go by, forcing everyone —even the tourists and migrants – to get a credit card instead of sauntering into the nearest currency exchange kiosk.
  1. You know French? Forget about itOnly one in five Americans speak French, but the language seems to be everywhere in the US. Almost 45 percent of the English vocabulary comes from the French language, words like Entrée, boutique, touché, auteur, and connoisseur are just some of the most commonly used terms. 
  1. Learn English, please. Mastering the language isn’t for pleasing the bystanders you meet on the street or to avoid being mugged; it’s just that complete knowledge of the mother tongue will be your gateway to everything-American: its culture, tradition, and everything in between.
  1. America is obsessed with political correctness. Yes, according to experts. America is a multicultural country, and it’s good to make sure that you don’t offend anyone just because you’re in a free country. Another good thing is that you can expect the same level of respect from the others since you’re a migrant. Respect begets respect, they say, so there’s no harm in learning more about this virtue.
  1. The ambulance is not for free. The USA is among the few countries in the world that offer a nationwide quick response emergency service. However, the charges for an ambulance ride vary from $400 to $1800, depending on the distance between your home and the hospital, and health insurance.
  1. Remember to tip. Tipping between 5 to 25 percent of your total bill is customary in the States. Well, 81 percent of Americans support tipping, which means a good 29 percent still don’t like the idea. But surely it wouldn't hurt your pocket if you offered some dime in exchange for quality customer service, would it?
  1. If you love TV, then you’ll love it here. The US entertainment industry is immense, which explains the profusion of free and cable programs on television. Needless to mention online streaming services such as Hulu and Netflix, which delivers more options. 
  1. Vegetable and fruits are more expensive than meat. Which might explain the ubiquitous hamburger and sausage chains. For a lot of strange—or economic—reasons, you have to pay more to go vegan in the US, especially in the cities. You will find relatively cheap fruits and vegetables at the nearest grocery store, but they are either wrapped in a plastic container (or hermetically sealed) or don’t have that farm quality you’re longing for.
  1. Most Americans don’t care about football (soccer). Or that sport that uses a round ball instead of an oblong one. Yes, even if their national team qualified (and did well, actually) in the last World Cup. Their national pastime is baseball, but they’re also crazy about American football and basketball. Also, they call the football that the rest of the world loves “soccer.”
  1. Americans are generally friendly. Contrary to what most people believe, or to what Hollywood portrays, Americans—regardless of political affiliation—are friendly. They love to talk about everything under the sun when you meet them on the street, in a bar, or on the subway. But it’s also good to know that they value their privacy a lot. It's best to limit your questions to general things (weather, traffic, food) and asking about a couple’s kid is definitely a no-no.
It will be hard to enumerate everything you need to know about the US and its people. You’ll certainly experience all of these when you finally move to the country. The secret to enjoying the country is your willingness to learn its language, culture, and tradition and experiencing the country firsthand, without judgments.

For more questions about moving to the US, speak with one of our seasoned migration lawyers.

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