“Moving abroad? To America?! Have you lost your mind?”
“How can you go abroad alone?”
“Why would you even want to go for higher studies?”
“It’s going to be harder to find a man who’ll accept you. It was one thing to complete your Masters but now you want a job, and that too in America?”
These are just the cherries on top of all the comments that I heard from my family, friends, and desi relatives. Regardless, rolling my jazzy suitcase across the airport, shielding my eyes with Grade A Ray-Bans, I felt as if I was on top of the world. I was finally here albeit carrying the weight of those comments and my own personal doubts.
Moving abroad. To America – The Land of Opportunities, as they call it.
Of course, I knew it wasn’t going to be too easy but I had glued my optimism in the seams of my personality. I came here legally and had a rocking degree ( that I was told was trending in America). Naturally, I believed I was going to have countless opportunities and job offers.
I had the bahir ja kar bara naam kamaongi all figured out. My life was going to have a 180-degree turnaround and I was ready for it. To live an independent life, without being classified as an immoral person was my dream. I wanted more than anything to travel and “live the dream” – hence the moving abroad part.
But boy was I wrong.
I wonder if everyone had spent their energies and crazy imaginations in supporting my decision, instead of injecting them as lethal doses of doubts, I would’ve turned better. But, we can’t live our life in what-ifs. I made the decision of moving abroad because I wanted to carve a piece out for myself, in a place where nothing could stop my growth. Nothing to dampen my spirits.
As luck would have it, it wasn’t meant to be.
Even though I couldn’t make it out on my own, I wanted to share my experience to help others who are considering to move abroad to go “big”. So, here you go:
Sticks and stones may break my bones but language can definitely break my heart
You may pfft at this since we all know that we aren’t approved to move abroad until we have passed the foreign standard tests, IELTS, etc. However, is learning how to talk a grammatically correct language the same as knowing how to communicate in a completely different culture?
The language barrier is a huge thing, even if you know English
All the inside jokes, culture references, not to mention the stereotypes on both sides makes it so much harder to breathe freely. I didn’t think it would matter not knowing the local slang and cultural background. This might be my biggest regret as living without making friends is harder than it may appear. Even for the introverts and people who don’t socialize much.
My suggestion: research the hell out of the country you are moving to. Watch some TV shows, famous movies, and see how they communicate. Spend some time specifically to learn about the residents. It will help you a lot in breaking the ice with your colleagues and make friends with new people.
Are there two zeroes at the end of the rent amount? How much does a kidney sell for?
In places such as America where the cost of living is so high, the rent can cut a really big hole in your earnings or savings (if you are still unemployed). Especially, when there’s no one to share rent with. Forget living alone, in a huge apartment loaded with state-of-the-art electronics (because that’s the dream) unless you can grow money in your backyard garden.
Sharing rent with someone and finding a place close to work can take a lot of stress off from your shoulder. It’s hard work but it pays off if you let the ball rolling even before you have entered the city. No need to set yourself up for disappointment or stress if you can avoid it altogether.
Uhh, you might want to think about how you’re going to be commuting.
I don’t know about you guys but I was a serious lazy dud here. There was no concept of walking to work. And public transport? Not if I could avoid it. Don’t get me wrong, I didn’t have delusions of grandeur. Somehow, it just didn’t register in my mind that commuting was going to be a big part of my life.
Since not all of us can be so lucky to get a living arrangement right across the street from where we work, it’s wise to plan out how you’re going to handle this part. Save some money on the side. Learn to use a map of the city you’ll be going to. And perhaps gear up to walk those lazy muscles.
Starting from the bottom, now we…uh still at the bottom
Getting a high-level white-collar job in a renowned multinational with a huge salary package and mouthwatering allowance. Should I keep going on? A degree in your field may land one of these jobs. Then again, it might not. Having a degree is not a guarantee to secure a managerial position in a company of your choice, is all I am saying. That I learned the hard way.
Instead of going through a cycle of denial, shock, depression and then accepting a low-level job as a last resort, it’s a good practice to keep your options open. There’s no rush in getting to the top, you’ll get there. Better late than sorry, right? Applies here too! Once you enter the job market, not only would you learn how things are done there but you can also get to know more about their culture. A win-win, no doubt.
Look A Desi: Finally Going To Get Some Help
As much as it hurts me to say that, I encountered some desi people who jumped at the chance of helping me out with jobs and living conditions. It wasn’t until I was deep in the pit that I had to pay for my naivete. I also met some local people who were just as sweet as they came and offered help without any diabolical expectations.
Not that racism is non-existent or all desi people are bad. It’s just a window to a reality that we often keep closed by force of the stereotypes.
That’s not all of the problems you may have to face. Not by a long shot. But these are the basic things that you absolutely need to take care of and that I wish I knew before I moved to America. Is there anything else you want to know? Let us know in the comments.
Cover image via @sanamchaudhary/Instagram