Hi! I’m Kylie, originally from Essex in the UK and now I live in Iowa, USA
1. Why did you move abroad?
While travelling in Jamaica, I met an American guy. We ended up getting married and one of us had to relocate as we were living in 2 different countries!
2. How do you make a living?
I work in an elementary school as a teaching assistant in Pre-K. It was the best option to give me the flexibility to return to the UK and visit my family, the summer break lasts for 11 weeks!
3. How often do you communicate with home and how?
I FaceTime with my Mum every day. Again, working in a school means I am home by 3.30pm (which is 9.30pm in the UK), so I am able to talk to them before they go to bed. I also use Facebook and Snapchat. Snapchat is great for being able to lighten the mood…we’re forever sending pictures and videos using the filters!
4. What's your favorite thing about being an expat in the USA?
I love the weather in the summer, it’s warm everyday!
5. What’s the worst thing about being an expat in the USA?
Health care costs! I’ve just been told my $370 monthly insurance plan is going up 40% in January! It’s a huge bill when you’ve come from a country that has free health care (the NHS).
6. What do you miss most?
My family. I miss them a ridiculous amount. We’ve always been really close, they are like my best friends, so it was always going to be hard. I also miss having fish and chips from a takeaway chip shop!
7. What did you do to meet people and integrate in your new home?
I was lucky that my small town in the USA actually run a newcomer programme 4 times a year (I was the only expat, the rest were Americans that had moved from different States). For 5 weeks, the class meet once a week for a few hours. You get introduced to what there is to do in the area, local business owners come and do talks etc, you go on tours and take part in ice breaker events with the other people in the group. It’s completely free and they provide dinner and give you a huge ring binder with information! I still keep in contact with some of my other class members!
8. What custom/ habits do you find most strange about your adopted culture?
The lack of ‘vacation’! In the UK I’m surrounded by people who work their butts off all year to have their week or 2 exploring the world. Package holidays are huge, my small hometown in the UK has 3 travel agencies alone! Companies in America only have to give you 1 week of vacation time a year (UK has 5 weeks minimum) and even then a lot of people don’t even take it! A lot of people have campers located permanently somewhere that’s literally within an hour from their home and they’ll go there at a weekend, that’s the extend of travel. The State of Iowa has one of the lowest amount of passport holders in the whole of the USA.
9. What is a myth about your adopted country?
It’s all burgers and chips (fries). Farmers markets are huge in my area, they run all year round and sell various fruit and veg. In the summer stalls that sell corn on the cob will set up on the side of the road!
10. Is the cost of living higher or lower than the last country you lived in and how has that made a difference in your life?
It varies. Food shopping is about the same, house prices are cheaper (but then they aren’t made of brick and blow away in tornados…anyone heard of the 3 Little Pigs story?!), fuel is cheaper, but then second hand cars are more expensive. Phone contracts are double the price of the UK. The health insurance bill is a huge expense that I didn’t have before…seriously puts a dent in my travel fund!
11. What advice would you give other expats?
Talk to other expats! Be careful though, I’m part of some Facebook groups, where you’ll ask for support on how to get through certain feelings and you just get the ‘shut up and go home’ comments. The expats that are also bloggers are definitely the most friendliest and supportive. We congratulate each others mini milestones and will be there to offer ‘open ears…(or eyes as it’s online!)’ during the down days when you just need to get feelings off your chest.
12. When and why did you start your blog?
I started my blog, Between England and Iowa (www.betweenenglandandiowa.com), to help other people get through the visa process and share my experiences on expat life. It’s comforting to meet other expats who share the same feelings, you don’t feel so alone in the situation! I really started concentrating on it seriously in January 2016. I’ve always loved travel blogging so it’s also helps me to get my travel fix now I can’t get overseas so often. I’ve been exploring the surrounding area and documenting it on my blog as well as sharing my tips and advice on places further afield!
Kylie's blog, Between England and Iowa
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