Attila moved to the U.S. almost at the same time than me and my wife and we’ve known each other ever since. I asked him to become the “Hungarian representative” for my blog and to share his journey with my readers. Here’s his expat story:
Where are you from originally?
I’m from Pecs, Hungary, but before coming to the US I’ve spent most of my adult life in Budapest.
How long have you been living in the U.S. and what do you do?
I’m here since 2005. I’m a mechanical engineer, and work in Charlotte, NC as a mold designer.
Why did you decide to move to America and how did you pick your destination?
I first arrived on business, but later got a job offer from the company I was visiting. The company I’m working for is located in Charlotte, so I didn’t really pick the location, but I like it here anyway.
How did you get your visa/green card?
On my first visit I came with a business/tourist visa (at that time Hungarians still needed to have a visa to enter the US even for vacation). Later my employer “sponsored” me with my work visa. Currently I’m (hopefully) only a couple of months away from getting my green card.
What was the most difficult part of your immigration?
The most difficult part was making my first million dollars. In fact, it’s so difficult that I still haven’t made it
What do you enjoy most about living in America?
I feel, that in the US you have lot’s of possibilities. You can find all kinds of things in entertainment, sports, travel, shopping, dining….. The majority of things are more affordable here than at most other places in the world.
Is there anything that you miss from home other than family?
I miss the ability to walk to places, or take a bus. Other than huge cities like New York, most cities don’t have much of a public transportation. You don’t have too many sidewalks, sometimes you have to take a car even to get from one store to the other in the same shopping center, because there aren’t any sidewalks, or crosswalks on the streets.
Have you found a good source to buy Hungarian food in America?
Not really. I’ve just recently been to New York and found a Hungarian bakery with delicious pastries. Some stuff you can find online, but since it’s imported from far, they cost much more than in Hungary. There are some eastern European stores, that carry some Hungarian brands, or have similar foods. My biggest surprise was, when I found Hungarian Paprika from Szeged (powdered red pepper) in an Amish store in Tennessee.
Looking back at your migration to the U.S., would you have done anything differently?
If I’ve known, that I’m going to stay for the long run, I could have done things differently, like buying a house sooner, start building credit history sooner, travelling more…
What are the biggest differences between every day life in Hungary and America?
Can’t really think of big differences. Life is what YOU make of it, wherever you are.
What were the most shocking or surprising experiences you’ve had since you’re here?
In Las Vegas I saw an elderly lady begging on the sidewalk, only to later enter one of the casinos to gamble away what she collected in a slot machine.
What American stereotypes turned out to be true and false?
I don’t really like stereotypes, and/or generalization. I believe even if there are some cultural differences, people are the same everywhere.
Please share your best advice for Living, Working and Traveling in the US. Anything in particular for other Hungarians?
Read Dan’s blog at www.LiveWorkTravelUSA.com. Olvasd ezt a blogot!