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Thanksgiving in the USA – More than just a holiday

It’s Thanksgiving season! The time when American families come together, even travel long distances to meet up, and share a meal together. Not any meal, but the traditional dinner centered around a large roasted turkey, cranberry sauce, stuffing and gravy. For dessert there’s traditionally apple pie, but also pumpkin pie, pecan pie and other variations. But the most important part of... read more

The Best and Worst in American Traffic

Different country, different rules. Traffic is no exception. Here’s my take on some traffic rules and observations that I’ve made in the last 9 years. Let’s start with… The Best in American Traffic U-Turns The fact that U-Turns are so common in the U.S. makes traffic a lot easier. You missed to take a turn a second ago? No problem! Just drive to the next intersection and make a... read more

5 Tips to Avoid Looking Like an Idiot

Being new to a country comes with a lot of challenges and you always want to do as best as you can to fit right in without looking like an idiot. There are a lot of situations that you’re not familiar with at first and that you would manage totally different in your own country. Here are 5 tips on very common situation and how to master them. Gas Pump “not working” When I travelled... read more

The Ins and Outs of American Healthcare

I reached out to one of my readers, Christian Gainey, to write a guest post about the American Healthcare system. He’s doing a much better job in explaining the ins and outs than I ever could. It’ll help especially new expats who have to deal with health insurance in the U.S. for the very first time.  The U.S. healthcare system is one of the most complicated and diverse healthcare systems on... read more

Getting the Driver’s License… Again!

Have you been driving in your country for many years before moving to America? It does not matter much here and you’ll be seen as an inexperienced driver regardless. Not any more experienced as a 15 year old highschool student when it comes to driving. You probably know what that means for insurance premiums. And the driver’s license is not only needed for driving, but also as a common form of... read more

911 vs. 311 – When to call what number

With all the new things going on in our lives as expats, we sometimes forget to learn some basic things that Americans learn while growing up here. One of these things is the correct use of the number 9-1-1. In American movies and TV shows it’s always related to a medical emergency, fire or to call the police for help and backup. So I’m sure you’ve heard 911 a million times and you know... read more

My 9 Biggest Struggles During my 1st Year in America

It would be too easy, if everything would go super smooth when moving into a foreign country. America is a great country, but there are also some things that can really challenge you during your first year. If you’re a seasoned expat, you know exactly what I’m talking about. True to the fact that you can never have it all, each expat struggles with a few things that are unfamiliar or just... read more

Imperial vs. Metric System for Expats

The U.S. is one of only 3 countries world wide, that still uses the Imperial system, also known as U.S. Standard. Well, Americans have adapted to the metric system in science, sports (5k anyone?) and medicine, but everything else is still stuck in ancient times. Speed, length, temperature, weight, etc. – everything is different. That can be quite a challenge for new expats, because they usually think in... read more

American Culture Tips for New Expats

I love when I get questions from my readers. The most recent question I got is about American cultural behavior and what could seem odd or puzzling about it to a new expat. It’s been over eight years since I had my first encounter with the American culture, but I sure remember every bit of it. So let me dive right into it and give you a few examples of what to look out for. Easy “First... read more

Credit Cards – Curse or Blessing?

When my wife and I came to America eight years ago, we did not have any US credit history – just like every new expat. And we didn’t really care, because we did not even know how long our American adventure would last and how long we would stay here. We paid our cars in cash from savings that we built up in Germany and we weren’t even thinking about buying a house back then. Both of our... read more

Housing – Should I Rent or Buy?

Moving within America is pretty easy, especially since Americans usually leave lighting fixtures and appliances like dish washer, range, sometimes even washer and dryer behind. Back in Germany, where I come from, people don’t move that often, but when they do, they pack up everything – literally. The whole place is getting stripped including lighting fixtures and if the kitchen is easy enough to... read more

Child Care Options in America

Soon after arrival one of the first things you would have to do as a working immigrant parent, is finding a place to stay for your child while you’re off to work. No matter what city or state you got settled in, there are usually a handful of child care options if not more. As a stay at home parent with a working spouse you don’t need to figure this out just yet, but you might want to explore... read more

Where to Get Immediate Medical Care

Being new to a country and especially as a parent, you have to be prepared for all situations. One of these situation can be a medical emergency of a family member or even yourself. You probably don’t have a regular doctor yet and with all the stuff currently going on in your new American life, you might not even know where to find a doctor yet. I hope you read this soon after your arrival to the... read more

How to Buy a Car Without the Hassle

One of the first big purchases you have to make after your immigration is buying a car, unless you live in a big metropolitan area with outstanding public transportation. The rest of America is very wide spread – it’s a big country and there are usually not that many sidewalks or bike trails, so a car might be your only option to get from A to B safely. You probably already heard stories about... read more

Build an Outstanding Credit History from Scratch

You might have paid off credit in your country already, but once you move to America, this is all in the past. Banks will need you to start over and prove that you’re credit worthy by building a great credit history with an outstanding FICO score. This may take a little while and there are some pitfalls to be aware of during the process. So read on to learn about the science behind credit and the... read more

How to Get a Work Permit (EAD)

This is for all the spouses that took “one for the team” by joining their partners to move to the United States. Some of you quit your day job to make it all happen and to support your better half’s career. While migrating to the US is very exciting and it takes a while to take it all in and get adjusted, it all ends up becoming familiar and a daily routine starts to form while you might... read more

How to Get a Social Security Number (SSN)

You have finally arrived in the USA – your new home after months, if not years of prep work and visa/greencard paperwork. So let’s not waste any time and get you started with some essentials like how to obtain your Social Security Number (SSN). It’s recommended to wait 10 to 14 days after you’ve entered the US before you apply for one, because the Social Security Administration needs to... read more

How to Call Back Home For Cheap

All of us had to leave friends or even family back home when we migrated to the USA. However we’re very fortunate to live in a high tech world that allows us to talk and even see our beloved ones at any time at no or very little cost. Think about our ancestors for a second and how they communicated with the people they left behind. Maybe they wrote a letter every couple years to their relatives,... read more

Back to School: Your First US Driver’s License

Having a car in the United States is a necessity in most areas. Hardly anything can be reached conveniently by foot or on the bicycle, and if your destination is very close, it’s usually not very easy to get there without having a car or using public transportation. Sometimes there just aren’t any sidewalks or greenways to get from A to B. It can even become pretty dangerous, especially riding... read more

When Should I Tip And How Much?

I have to admit, the amounts that people tip in the USA has been a real shocker for me. Especially because I was so used to the German way of tipping, which is just rounding up to the next Euro or maybe a little more. In the part of Germany that I come from you have a good chance to get a stressed out and quite unfriendly waiter, so you don’t even feel bad tipping them just a few cents. And other... read more

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