Is it unsafe to move to America?
Ups & Downs - My emigration to the USA
How did you come to the decision to emigrate to the USA?
Actually, the whole thing came about through my then boyfriend and now husband. Since I got to know him, he wanted to go to the States with me to go on vacation together. However, at first I didn't want to. But he did not give up, asked again and again, even made a detailed vacation plan. At some point he got me convinced and I agreed to go on vacation to the USA together. I couldn't speak a word of English back then, but that didn't change anything about the incredible first impression and experience I was able to make here. We met so many friendly people in the USA and the fact that you can always shop here, around the clock and even on the weekends, was so new and fascinating!
After we returned to Germany from our vacation together, my husband asked me if we wanted to take part in the Green Card Lottery. So the ball got rolling. We registered for the Green Card Lottery on the Americandream website and 12 years later we were (finally) drawn.
What is the biggest difference between living in Germany and living in the USA? Are there any cultural differences that you initially struggled with?
The biggest difference, which I also noticed while on vacation, is that the people here are much less annoyed and stressed. For some reason people are just in a better mood here. I also have the feeling that there are significantly better career and promotion opportunities here. Of course, it also depends on which people you address. Unfortunately, I wasn't that lucky at the beginning and had to go through a lot and learn a lot before I got my current job. I have had to change my job very often: from a job in production to a job in the laboratory and my job as a bus driver to my current job as a real estate agent. It took me a long time to "arrive". You definitely have to get used to a lot of differences here and some things and people can make it really difficult to gain a foothold. For example if you don't have a “working history” or “credit history”. You also have to get used to the different ways of working and the often different attitudes of employees. However, one should not give up and what I can recommend to everyone from sufficient experience is: As soon as you meet even 50% of the requirements of a job description, it is worthwhile to submit an application.
Were there any complications when you emigrated to the USA?
Since we were very insecure and didn't want to risk anything, we used TAD's service when we emigrated. This may have saved us a lot of complications and we would make this decision every time. The online forum gave us a lot of helpful tips that made some things easier for us. Nonetheless, we did some things “wrong” and we would probably do a lot differently today. Before immigrating, you should definitely have dealt with the American health system and, above all, with the subject of "pensions". We are still busy today to find the right solution for us.
What advice would you give to other emigrants?
Lots of people come to the US believing that everything is much better here. This can of course be the case, but it does not have to be. Starting a new life in the US can also be a very tough and rocky road. It was and is not always easy for us. What I would advise anyone deciding to immigrate to the US is to have some financial cushion for at least 6 months or more. In addition, you shouldn't believe that you can get a rental apartment just because you have enough money. Without a “working history” or “credit history” you won't get very far in the USA. Most landlords will stand up and refuse. Buying an apartment or a house? Maybe, but also difficult. After all, credit and interest play a very large role here and this option is also very expensive. Most banks rarely issue a loan for this.
Have you ever thought about moving back to Germany?
Yes I have. I would like to? No, maybe, I don't know exactly ...
When I think of the health system and the pension here in the USA, Germany is definitely the better alternative. But ready to go back to Germany, I'm definitely not yet. Who knows, maybe my mind will have changed in 10 years, but at the moment I'm more than happy here.
I've found a new challenge for myself. I work as a real estate broker and feel very comfortable in this position. I was told at the time that the exam for this position is very difficult and that many brokers give up relatively quickly. I am still at the beginning in this position, but through the negative experiences I had myself at the time, I have learned a lot that helps me to better understand the situation of my customers and to help them better. Among other things, I know how not to treat customers. When we bought our house at the time, I had no idea what exactly I was doing and what I was signing for. It was more of a "here, sign". Back then, my husband and I simply trusted blindly, something I would never do again today. I was able to gain a lot of important experience and now know both sides: the customer and the seller. My goal is to really help my clients, be it buying or selling a property. The real estate company in Cowlitz Country (Washington), where I work now, supports me in my attitude and approach. Simply because everyone thinks and acts that way and the customer comes first in this company. The customer is king and that's how it should be.
My emigration and everything I have already experienced here in the USA enable me to give some helpful advice - even those that have nothing to do with real estate.
Do you have any questions about emigrating to the USA or do you need help selling or buying a property?
You are welcome to send Kathrin an email or contact the real estate company Kathrin works for if you have any questions about a property.
Coldwell Banker Bain Longview
Mobile: +1 360-355-6637
Tel .: +1 360-425-3020
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