This is our series following the story of future expat Molly - a Brit who seeks to join her American husband in Ohio. At EasyExpat we try to provide you all the latest and greatest in Expat News and Resources, but sometimes a personal journey can best explain the unique challenges and triumphs involved in moving abroad. Meet Molly and follow along on her adventure in the Move to America.
The idea behind this article is to share with you some of the ways in which I have prepared for my eventual move to the US. One really important aspect of my future emigration was to be aware that I am arriving in a place where I do not really know anybody (apart from my husband and some of his friends). I realised that I would have to network before I arrived in the US. What I mean by this is doing or joining in with things that are part of my new community in order to learn more about it and fit in with where I live, whilst also meeting new people and making friends.
Moving to a new country can be quite daunting as there is so much to think about regarding the actual move itself (paperwork, shipping etc.). Building a social life and networking may be left to when you arrive. I was going to do that myself, but realised that I wanted to start to feel comfortable and a part of my new home as soon as possible.
I have been fairly successful with my networking so far, so thought I would share a few of the things I have done in order to help anyone else before or after the big move.
Study Your Area - If you have not been to a particular place, I always advocate reading up on it before you go. You can find some very good tourist guides online or in book stores that will give you a good basis to work from. I have already been to the place I will eventually be moving to and know it fairly well (I married my husband there), but I will still look through some guides to be extra prepared.
Join Local Groups – Do some research about groups that you could contact or join before you move is a great way to network in your prospective community. I did this by looking on the local library website, through the local newspaper online and by doing an internet search for a particular group linked to a hobby of mine. For example, you could look for a photography club or course. E-mail the group and express an interest in joining. People are always happy to help someone join their group and point you in the right direction. They can also connect you to affiliated internet forums where you can join a discussion related to that club, interest or hobby.
I have already joined a sporting fan group (connected to my husband's other love - his American Football team) that has groups that meet in different states around the US. I receive their online newsletter that lets me know of any upcoming events. I have also recently contacted a knitting, baking and photography group in Ohio, and will shortly be contacting the Lucas County library about courses I may join when I am there.
Use Social Networking - There are plenty of expat blogs and groups online who are full of useful advice and information that you can join or communicate with. I have found everyone I have had contact with extremely helpful. This is stating the obvious as you are reading this on a useful expat forum website, but get connected! Ask questions and start to make acquaintances by commenting or joining in with a discussion. Always ask for advice if you need it.
Find Local Events - Whilst doing your research about joining local groups, find out what events are happening locally and look into going to them when you are there. There are some great websites that list fairs, festivals and celebrations. This will give you something to focus on when you arrive and is often a fun way of experiencing your new community. I am connected, via Twitter to 'Discover Ohio' which also has a website that lists all events in Ohio through different categories making it easy to plan a visit.
These are a few ways I have started my connection to my soon-to-be new home and I hope you have found them useful. If you have any questions or other ideas on successfully networking, leave a comment on here, visit my blog www.themovetoamerica.wordpress.com, or connect with me on Twitter (@mpmhawkins).
Good luck and best wishes to everyone out there thinking of, or planning on, an expat life!
Find networks in your area within the EasyExpat network. Here you can chat directly with other expats in your area, ask and answer questions on the expat forum, and connect with expat bloggers. Don’t forget to connect with EasyExpat & BlogExpat on social networks like EasyExpat Facebook / BlogExpat Facebook, EasyExpat Twitter / BlogExpat Twitter, Google +, LinkedIn, & Pinterest.
Read Molly’s last post on "Finding Health Insurance for The Move to America", and watch for her next post on “Financial Advice for The Move to America”.