6 Welcome Tips for Indians in US
It was my first month in US, and I had already lost my precious pressure cooker to the dishwasher. It used to be shining black, and now it is so dull that even a scrap dealer would frown. Every time, I used to visit the grocery stores, getting puzzled by zillions of options became a routine. Trudging my way through the countless isles, and swarming my cart with awesome products gave me a sense of accomplishment. But soon I realized it was an illusion as most of the items either hijacked my precious closet space or ended up in trash can (It’s called a trash can here, not a dustbin).
Do you want this to be your story too? I’m guessing the answer is No. From cooking to cleaning, it’s a mind boggling job for the first-time Indians in the US.
Following our ambitions, we sail to the land of opportunities leaving behind the luxuries of maids, drivers and mouthwatering Indian cuisines. Fitting in the ‘do it yourself’ culture of US is an intricate job one has to master. Below I’m sharing my hard learned experiences with the intentions of saving you the hard part. I wish I had known them four years back, when I first arrived here.
1. Dishwasher – Usually a life savior, but a death penalty to Indian, hard anodized, pressure cookers
Pressure cooker is one of the most precious cooking tools for us, and most of us carry at least one. Since having a maid is a forgotten dream in US, we see a dishwasher as a life savior and in desperation we try to load it with everything that can fit in, including our cooker. Soon the cooker starts losing its sheen and with repeated washes it transforms into an eyesore. In no time our beloved item becomes our embarrassment. The only plausible approach to escape this dreadful fate is manual cleaning. It seems daunting at first, but the rewards are worth it.
2. Grocery Shopping
The meticulous arrangement of departmental stores makes purchasing look like a child’s play. But in practice the availability of an array of options for every single item soon becomes a nuisance, and leaves us stunned and gasping for help. Also, due to our limited knowledge on US lifestyles we often feel embarrassed to seek assistance, which leads either to a wrong purchase or no purchase at all.
To save the trouble, a little homework goes a long way. Making a detailed purchase list, reading about available options and other customer reviews equips you with the information that would never go waste. Initially the process might be time consuming, but soon you would turn pro. This extra work would make you choose the items which are ‘RIGHT FOR YOU’, save your time and aid you with the right questions to ask for help. With this practice of exploring the unknown options, who knows you might find something extraordinary your acquaintances are still unaware of.
3. Bathroom cleaning
Sparkling white bathroom is something everyone desires. But cleaning a bathroom is both an arduous and a humdrum job. Hence, the task tops in our procrastination list. Fortunately, to make the job a little easier there are highly powerful cleaning products available in the market. Options like Windex, Kaboom, Lysol do wonders, but they need to be used with extra caution as they might be too harsh on eyes and minor spills (especially Kaboom and Lysol) would bleach clothes or rugs in no time. For toilet basin, the bleach tablets from Clorex are not be missed.
For extra vigilant, environment-friendly, and especially for families with kids, products with natural ingredients are true blessings. These products are rationally strong on stains, but easy on senses. Expenditure on these products is something you would never regret.
4. Bathtub cleaning
Mere thinking about a warm cozy bubble bath enlightens our senses. At the same time the idea of cleaning the bathtub gives us goosebumps. To tackle this white elephant, recently certain shower cleaners have entered the market. If they are sprayed daily they significantly delay the need of scrubbing.
5. Sales are for real
Unlike the tricked sales in our country, which are merely a mockery - soar the original prices, advertise fake sales and finally sell the items at original prices; the sales here are a big money saver. Different stores host major sale events during different times of the year, especially on holidays and special occasions. So keep your eyes open and hold on to your temptations till the next sale hits the stores.
Thanksgiving sales are not to be missed.
6. Save your purchase receipts
Bewildered, stunned and tired of reading labels and rummaging through indefinite aisles, we finally make our selections. But probability of making a wrong choice is still not low. Worry Not! the easy return policy aids us with a safety net against our incorrect moves.
There are highly customer friendly stores too which don’t even bother for the receipts, but there are some, especially the Indian stores, which are too strict about them. Hence, develop a habit of saving the receipts, especially for the uncertain purchases and shop tension free.
Hope it will make your transition phase quick and pleasant.
I have US B1/B2 Visa. I will be going for conference in this month in Florida and wish to with my family for tourism. We have two children 10 and 9 years. My wife and the children does not have any US Visa. My wife is not working (housewife) me and children vacation comes together in these month when I will be going conference. So we have to spend 3 weeks of it in the US. My employer will pay for our flight ticket including leave allowance. As am working General Manager in that Company.
Since I already have a US B1/B2 Visa, do I need to apply together with my wife and children again. How you rate their chances of getting a visa. Again I will appreciate any constructive criticism and suggestions that will increase our chances of getting a visa . Thank You.
No matter how many articles I read and how many YouTube Videos I saw, I never knew these small things which I understood only after staying here for a month. Often at times I was too scared to do something cause of the fear of looking Stupid, But well I lived and learnt.
1. LAW: America is a great place but be sure to follow the law. You cannot bribe an officer right and left if you commit a crime and If you are convicted. Be sure to end in a jail or deported right back. ( This I didn't have to go through fortunately :) ) Every state has a different law. Would advice to know the basic laws of the state if you get a chance.
2. ARRIVING Getting a VISA does not guarantee an entry to United States. When you reach there you will have to go through an Immigration or Customs and Border Patrol Officer. He /She needs to be sure you are entering for valid reasons as allowed as per your VISA. So be sure to be genuine. If they suspect anything, they have the Authority to Send you right back to INDIA or where ever you are coming from on the next flight.
3. Your check-in luggage is available after CBP checkpoint so in case you have any imp documents which you might need to show the CBP officer , keep them with you in your cabin baggage.
4. FOOD: Large Departmental stores are available and so are fast food places. If you need to save money go to a Dunkin Donut, Its everywhere or a Wal-Mart. You might also find prepacked Indian food at Wal-Mart just double the prices but still RAJMA CHAWAL! Can't miss it. Also visit a super mart to stock up once you are there. You can get buy comfortably on $25-30$ for whole day of food . 15$-20$ if you don't want to have a large meal.
5. MONEY. If you are planning to carry cash when u travel locally buy one of those prepaid cards.( NOT GIFT CARDS but called as RELOADABLE CARDS) However be ADVISED you cannot reload them no matter what they say. All of them need a SSN for registration which we don't have so load it once and use it. You will also not be able to use it online. So buy one for 500$ in cash. It will take anywhere between $1-$5 activation fees. On Swiping it select it as Credit card. I have used AMEX Serve and it works great. they don't charge for every transaction like a lot do. Most places would frown upon on accepting a $100 bill some even a $50 as its not trusted cause of fake currency. Carry majorly $1 and $5 and some $10 & $20 notes. Don't carry more than $200 on your person at a time. Until you are shopping freak , You can buy most of the things for your need in that amount. Your Indian AMEX, MasterCard and Visa Credit and Debit Card works here. They don't ask for PIN when swiping. Make sure to select it as Credit card. Also if you are using an Indian card there will be 3-5% markup charge by your Indian bank for currency conversion.
6.LIVING.- Most hotels for budget travelers in USA work with very less staff like HOLIDAY INN or MARIOTT's Low priced venture Fairfield INN . The rooms are well equipped and most have a refrigerator and coffee machines. They do serve Breakfast but after that the kitchen shuts down. So you can't really order anything for food. Make sure you are well stocked for food or you have a place to go out and dine. Also make sure to check before opening your door. Most Budget hotels don't have guards to check who is coming in all the time.
7. PHONE & COMMUNICATION. Your Indian phone and Android phone will work here. If you are getting a Local SIM get a T-Mobile or GSM sim. They are cheap and the net is super fast. I went for T-mobile $60 plan with unlimited monthly calling and 5GB data cap. YUP THEY CAP TOO! Also the cheapest way I have found is using Google Voice. It cost 1Cent a minute to call INDIA. There are other providers too but well for 10$ you will have 1000 minutes/16hours. You can load it up through your Google wallet.
8. MANNERS. Americans are very polite people. They don't like screaming and shouting. So be courteous to whoever and start saying THANK YOU to even your rickshawala or maid for practice before coming here. No matter if you are a fresher or a CEO trust me everyone is same here. They respect you for working not for throwing your weight around. So if you eat on a fast food or serve yourself place do clean your table after you eat and if you drop anything, pick it up and throw it in the dustbin. Also once again I cannot emphasize the importance of being polite. Also keep the phone on low ring volume or vibration.
9. BE SAFE : Don't go in the night walking in shady neighborhoods. The Police works great but well why take the risk. Don't carry large amount of cash. Also always carry a colored copy of your Passport as long as the original is nearby or locally. I scanned , shrieked, printed and laminated mine to fit it in my wallet. If you are travelling carry the original. Also most public places are strict NO SMOKING. But most have a place outside for it.
10. TIPS, A 15-20% is a standard for tipping is expected in restaurants, taxis and most places where they offer your service. The servers work hard and are mostly college students, so they make it through tips.
11. GETTING AROUND. I would not advise people going for a short trip( Up to a month) to go renting a car. For one no matter how good a driver you are you will never get used to the right side driving concept in a short time. If at all, possible use UBER ( CHECK ONLINE FOR UBER COUPONS) or local taxis or public transportation. Not all places have great public transportation. Check for it before you go. If at all you do have to rent go for Enterprise car rental some do or some don't accept your Indian Driving License but they do accept an International Driving License which can be procured in India from your RTO. They are the Cheapest. Also if you have to travel locally by Air, the Security checkpoint is manned by TSA agents. You will be asked to remove your watch, shoes, belt, wallet, phone, passport, keys, change well everything apart from your clothes. So do it before getting in line to speed up. Before every trip empty your cabin baggage and rearrange so to make sure you are not carrying any prohibited items. Don't cross roads as we do back home from anywhere. There is a dedicated pathway on a crossing for that. It took me some time to understand how it works.
12. Don't make any political comments on Religion or Ethnicity of someone in a public place, you not only will be stared upon but if someone report you, you might get into trouble. Don't go out approaching strangers either for bhaichara. Most don't like it.
13. If you are one of that Do-it-Yourself kind of guy or a girl Do make sure to visit Home Depot or Lowes. Your creative buds will turn on like anything.
14. COUPONS & SAVING MONEY: Be vigilant and search online or local news paper for coupons. you will be amazed how much you save with them. Also install a bar code scanner. you can scan it in the store and search it online so you will know if you are saving. Most stores also offer price match guarantee. If you show them something sold anywhere even online same thing at lower prices.
15.. No matter if you are a fresher or a CEO trust me everyone is same here. They respect you for working not for throwing your weight around. So if you eat on a fast food or serve yourself place do clean your table after you eat and if you drop anything, pick it up and throw it in the dustbin. Also once again I cannot emphasize enough the importance of being polite.
16. ELECTRONICS. Most laptop and mobile charges work right as they are here as they are designed for ( 85~265V AC) You just need a US plug convertor. Get one before you arrive. They are cheap in India.
17. Things to carry from India for your stay: America is a very clean place so don't carry a lot of clothes. Seriously! A pair of jeans can go unwashed for 2 Weeks. Also anyone carrying a large suitcase locally looks silly. Check out those minimalist packing videos on YouTube. They do help a lot. Your electronics, Chargers, Money, Copies of passport in every bag, Cards. Things you are bringing for gifting your or your friend's brother sister or relatives. Some prepacked food ( If you have space left. Try those MTR ones they taste great) . Never carry anything for someone t be given here without asking them what it is. You might be held at airport and your baggage searched and if you say you don't know, well u might get into trouble.
Well there seems to be a long list of Don'ts so on a positive side have a great trip take loads of pictures and enjoy your American Adventure. Do let me know if I can be of any help.
I've had my interview at the US Embassy for EB3 visa on April 8, 2014. As of September 20111, I have received an employment letter from the hospital i will employed in through my agency White Glove based in New York. During the interview, the consulate saw my sponsor then he told me this is not a good agency and recommended that i find another agency. At first, I brushed it off my mind until they're looking for an updated employment letter in short i was not able get my the visa. So i told the agency everything and until such that until now they have not given me employment yet. They always say the same thing that the hospital was going to undergo JCAHO then between June to July i found out from them that the hospital has given up on me. Until now White Glove have not provided me any employer. What will I do it is already one year since my interview and my current date is January 2007. Help please!
Im currently travelling through the US on the Visa waiver program (90 day tourist visa) and am unsure as to whether i am allowed to apply for a working visa via a prospective employer DURING travel or do i have to go home after the 90 days and then apply??
Need help to find consulate for H1B Visa Interview
which consulate is the best consulate to attend H1B visa interview?
In my I797-B petition, I can see consulate as Chennai.
Do I need to attend the visa interview at Chennai or any where in india?
which consulate is better for H1b visa interview Chennai or Hyderabad?
I'm having a B1/B2 visa with my current company. For B1 visa interview, I went to Chennai for stamping.
Do I need to go the same consulate Chennai for H1B interview as well?
Could you please help me with your suggestions.
based on your response, I will fill the DS-160 form and book a slot.
Please help me. It is very urgent.
I heard that Chennai is the best consulate for L1 visas.
which consulate is the best consulate to go for H1B visa interview?
I have received my B1/B2 visa good for 10 yrs however my name is listed on the passport as (Surname-BLANK + Given name-XXXXX YYYYY) however on the visa its listed as (Surname-YYYYY+ Given name-XXXXX). I would be traveling to US this month and want to ensure that I don't run into any issues there. Could you please advise if I would dace any problem in the United State while I would be on B1/B2 visa for short period of time? Any info you would be able to provide would be greatly appreciated. Best Regards
Query if a person on B2 tourist visa can stay alone while primary visa holder/ sponsor on vacation
Query if a person on B2 tourist visa can stay alone while primary visa holder/ sponsor on vacation.
Hi My father has come on B2 visa. He has his return ticket after 3 months. I want him to stay with me for these 3 months. I have to travel to India for some official purpose for 2 weeks. I have a query if my father can stay alone for 2 weeks while I am on my travel to India.
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