26 April 2017

Mani - Expat in the USA

Mani - Expat in the USA

We’ve had the chance to talk to Mani, 28, a Mexican expat who has moved to the USA with her husband. Mrs. Mani who has been living there for eight years, now works as a freelance web writer and translator. 

Read more about her experiences in the full interview below.


Q: Where are you from originally?

A: Mexico City.


Q: What made you move out of Mexico?

A: I moved out for college. I wanted to study abroad because I always had an interest in travelling. I moved from the home in Mexico for the first time all the way to London, UK.


Q: Where are you living now? How did you come to choose this new country of residence?

A: USA. Basically moved for love. Met my soulmate (an American) while traveling in India in 2008. By 2009 I moved to his country of residence, the USA.


Q: How long have you been living in the USA?

A: Since 2009.


Q: Are you living alone or with your family? If yes, how are they adjusting to the Expat Lifestyle?

A: It’s just me and my husband. My family are all in Mexico. I come visit about twice a year.


Q: Do you miss home and family sometimes? How do you cope with homesickness?

A: I do. But over time it gets easier. The first couple of years were the hardest. Visiting and keeping in touch is a way to cope with it. Finding Mexican food is another way!


Q: What do you think about the locals?

A: Hmm… At this point, I think Americans are very different to each other so it’s hard to generalize. The one thing I don’t like is how they live a very fast paced and working life. Work is life instead of working and living simultaneously. Too much stress and unsatisfaction, always striving for the next best thing.


Q: Was it easy making friends and meeting people? Do you mainly socialise with other expats in the USA? How did you manage to find a social circle there?  

A: It’s not easy. If you don’t have a full-time job or go to school, it’s very hard to make friends. Especially if you move often like we have.


Q: How does the cost of living in the USA compare to your home?

A: The US is more expensive than Mexico.

  • Q: How much is a cup of coffee?

A: $4 USD.

  • Q: How much is a meal in an inexpensive restaurant?

A: $15 USD.

  • Q: How much is a meal in an expensive restaurant?

A: $30 USD.

  • Q: How much is a bottle of wine? How about a pack of cigarettes?

A: Wine widely varies from $5 -$300. And I don’t smoke, no idea.


Q: Do you have any tips for future expats when it comes to opening a bank account in the USA?

A: It’s pretty simple if you have a valid ID.


Q: How will you describe your experience with government paperwork such as applications for Visa and work permits? Why is that so?

A: I have a green card and my experience getting it wasn’t great. It was expensive, and the process was quite long. But in the end, if you want to reside here long term, you need one. I don’t know much about work and student visas. 


Q: Would you say that healthcare in the USA is reliable? Any preferred clinics or advice for expats?

A: Healthcare and insurance are a mess. It’s very expensive and abusive.


Q: Did you secure a health insurance in Mexico or the USA? What should be the essentials in the coverage for expats, in your opinion?

A: Sometimes you’re almost better off without it, but of course sometimes you really need it. I found that having supplemental GAP insurance is very helpful to cover the costs that your main insurance won’t.


Q: What was the most memorable about the packing and moving process to the USA? Which was the mover you chose and how was your experience with them?

A: I travel light, even when moving across countries I never pack more than two full suitcases and a carry-on. So I never use movers. You can read about all my moves on my blog A New Life Wandering.


Q: What is the biggest challenge that you have faced as a new expat?

A: Making friends, and adapting to the fast-paced lifestyle.


Q: What do you think are the positive and negative sides of living in the USA?

A: I’ve actually written about the best things and the worst things about living in the US, in my opinion of course.


Q: What are the best things to do in the area? Any particular recommendations for future expats?

A: I’ve lived in 5 different states in the US and they all have been vastly different to each other. So it depends. Some of my favourite activities include getting to know the restaurant scene, finding the independent movie theaters, and exploring the nature areas such as hiking trails and parks.


Q: Do you have plans to move to a different country or back home in the future?

A: No plans. But no plans to permanently stay either. Who knows!


Q: What tips will you give to expats moving to your country?


  1. For independent living, learn to cook at least the basics. 
  2. Say proper goodbyes, maybe have to go away parties.
  3. Try to get your local driving license as soon as possible.
  4. Do research about the best value for necessities like mobile phones.
  5. Do thorough research before applying for any needed visas or residence permits.
  6. Don’t leave your most valuable and favorite things behind.
  7. Try to get involved in the community to make friends. Do some volunteering, join a Meetup.com group, and join a fitness class.


Q: Do you have favourite websites or blogs about the USA?

A: Hmm.. This one is a tough one because I mostly read blogs from other countries or people who travel a lot. Thesweetestway.com is a good one for those seeking a location independent lifestyle.