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Living Abroad in the USA

An expat guide for establishing a life in America.


This handbook is for my younger self. A guide I wish I’d had when I started my own journey. I know others feel the same so I am hoping I can make life easier for anyone with a similar dream!   My Story: For me, it all started in my teenage years in high school. First, I was drawn in by TV Shows and movies from Hollywood. And even though younger Me knew it was fictional, I still felt drawn to that part of the world.   I also self-diagnosed myself with Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), which is just a fancy term of winter depression. The cold, dark and rainy days in the German fall and winter just weren’t for me. I felt like hibernating, only to wait for spring again. So deep down I knew I wanted something different than most of my friends at home, and that’s how my story began.   As you read through the different parts, you will learn more about my own personal experiences as I went through this process.     Now – I certainly don’t have all the answers. It is too complex of a subject. And I’m here to tell you that it has been among the hardest things I have ever done in my life. Hopefully that will put it in perspective from the start. But after spending all these years making my own dream come true my goal is to pass on what I learned and hopefully encourage others to do the same!   One important tip right off the bat: Make sure you really, really want it! Sounds cheesy but it will be true in most cases. The process will test you time and time again, especially obtaining a visa/green card can be very tough depending on your circumstances. There will likely be moments when you just want to give up… So it’s best to be prepared from the start. For many foreign nationals looking to emigrate this is simply a reality, be it because of visa issues or the struggle to get a job offer in a competitive environment.

Table of Contents

  1. Initial Research: Roads to success
  2. Immigration (visa, green card…)
  3. Attending school
    1. High School
    2. College
  4. Finding a job
    1. Research
    2. The Application
    3. The Interview Process
    4. Working conditions in the US
    5. Getting Started: Your first 4 weeks