Sarah had a job opportunity to work for her employer in Texas, so she and her husband took advantage of it and moved to the US. I had the chance to ask Sarah a few questions about her immigration journey and her personal USA bucket list, that she and her husband are checking off one at a time.
Where are you from originally?
I was born in Auckland, New Zealand. I moved around a lot as a child and went to Waikato University in Hamilton. After I finished my Masters I moved to Perth, Western Australia for work.
How long have you been living in the U.S. and what do you do?
My husband and I moved here in Feb 2013, I work as a petrophysicist.
Why did you decide to move to America and how did you pick your destination?
I had the opportunity to move to Houston for work and jumped at it. I liked the idea of being in a central location, plus I have super close friends here in the city. So It was an easy choice. The job was an internal opportunity within a global company.
How did you get your visa/greencard?
Luckily through work – it was still difficult, but totally worth it. My visa process was facilitated by my work. It is an H3 visa, and is considered to be a “training” visa. My husband is on an H4 visa, which means he cannot work unfortunately. Luckily he is great at keeping himself busy.
What was the most difficult part of your immigration?
Hmmm.. I guess one thing I struggled with is all the conflicting advice I received from people. It is great to hear other experiences, but in the end you have to decide what plan of action is best for you.
What do you enjoy most about living in America?
I love so many things! We love American sports. There are so many sporting options to see both live and on TV. I love the food here. There are options from all around the world in Houston. And of course Texan BBQ! And something that might sound corny – I love seeing places that I have seen in movies, so I am loving exploring as much as I can! Also, hot sauce. I really love hot sauce. And there is no shortage of that here in H town!
Is there anything that you miss from home other than family?
I think I miss being outside. Whether you are just outside on the lawn, on a beach or in the bush. New Zealand is a very beautiful place. I miss that connection with the land.
Have you found a good source to buy New Zealand food in America?
Not really so far.. I have found some Australian and British products at Central Market in Houston, so that is close J
What are the biggest differences between everyday life in New Zealand and America?
I would say the biggest difference for me is the size. There are so many more people here. The population of greater Houston is roughly the same size as the whole of New Zealand! Everything is bigger. The shops and supermarkets have a crazy amount of selection. And the trucks are massive.
In your own blog you have a special USA bucket list along with lots of other things you do. Tell us a little bit about it.
Well we have this giant list of things we want to achieve while we are here. Cultural things, sightseeing, sports, holidays.. you name it. All things that we have seen in movies or that we just can’t do at home. We have added to it as we go along and we are loving ticking things off the list! Some things are simple – like trying chicken and waffles, and some things are goofy – like photos with sporting mascots, and some are lifelong wishes – like wandering the streets of Manhattan.
What have been your best and worst experiences from your USA bucket list so far?
My husband’s top couple of things have been seeing an NFL game and eating Turkey for Thanksgiving. I loved our first Halloween and seeing New York.. Oh! And the Grand Canyon. That was definitely my best experience so far! I don’t think we have had any really bad experiences really, we have been very lucky and definitely warmly welcomed by the people here in Texas!! Oh except driving here freaks me out.. The freeways are so big! And so are the trucks!
Please share your best advice for Living, Working and Traveling in the US. Anything in particular for other Kiwis?
My advice would be to see and do as much as you can, travel within America is remarkably easy – and there is so much to see! I am a big believer in trying all the food you come across and having as many new experiences as possible. Practical advice, would be to definitely get health insurance as soon as you get here. It is something that isn’t really necessary at home, but it definitely is here. And if you are travelling from state to state you need to remember that laws and road rules change from place to place – so try and keep up to date with that. For me, as a Kiwi, I can find it overwhelming in areas where there are so many people, but at the same time, it is a great opportunity to meet people from all walks of the globe. Other advice for Kiwis would be to set your alarm so you can watch the All Blacks play on the internet, and remember that no one will be able to guess your accent haha but thats okay!