15 December 2016

Joshua Kerslake - Expat in San Francisco, USA

Joshua Kerslake - Expat in San Francisco, USA

We’ve had the chance to talk to Joshua Kerslake, 26, a British expat who has moved to San Francisco with his colleague. Mr. Kerslake who has been living there for over five months, now works as a principal recruitment consultant. 

Read more about his experiences in the full interview below.


Q: Where are you from originally?

A: I grew up in a small seaside town called Bude in North Cornwall.


Q: What made you move out of the UK?

A: It’s always been my dream to one day live abroad and to experience a different culture. When my employer Nigel Frank gave me the opportunity to do that it was an absolute no-brainer to move.


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

A: San Francisco, California. I’ve always wanted to live in the US and California has always been a personal goal of mine that I set when I started the company. Working in the tech capital of the world was a huge attraction to me and the life experience is amazing. The weather obviously helps and also the convenience of having so many great places around me is huge. 

I can get on a flight and be in Vegas, Los Angeles or San Diego all within an hour, go to the beach at the weekend or drive to a ski resort in four hours. Having the opportunity to do so many different things whilst growing my career is pretty awesome, to be honest.


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

A: Just over five months.


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

A: I live with a colleague who also transferred over from our UK division.


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

A: Of course, but if you take the plunge that’s something you just have to get used to. I’m used to living away from home and only seeing them a couple of times a year anyway. Also with Facebook, FaceTime, and WhatsApp you can stay in touch so easily!


Q: What do you think about the locals?

A: Everyone’s great and really welcoming. It’s a really fun city.


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

A: Yeah, I found it very easy. I either socialise with people from work as we’re all at a very similar age or a group of British guys that I met through a local football team that we play.


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

  • How much is a cup of coffee?

A: $4.

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

A: $30.

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

A: However high you want to go you’ll find it in San Francisco!

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

A: Wine - $20. I don’t smoke but cigarettes are around $8.


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

A: It’s really easy - just do it when you’re out here.


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

A: Really straightforward! The company organized everything really well. Paperwork and one trip down to London and I was good to go!


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

A: Yes, it’s just more expensive than the UK. Haven’t needed to use any so far but I go through our plan that my company provides. I pay monthly for it out of my paycheck.


Q: What was most memorable about the packing and moving process?

A: I actually only brought four suitcases over and didn’t ship any furniture as I rented a place with a friend back in Newcastle - so I had it pretty easy!


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

A: Finding an apartment. The first few weeks are always the toughest as you’re settling in a new job and country whilst having to set up bank accounts, social security, and finding a place at the same time. I’d recommend blocking out a week to do everything and setting up multiple apartment viewings before you land. It all gets a lot easier once that weight is off your shoulders!


Q: What are the positive and negative sides of living in the US?

A: Like everywhere there’s positives and negatives, but the positives definitely outweigh the negatives. After being in the North of England for the last two years living in the consistent sunshine is a pretty obvious winner. The negatives are pretty minor, including missing a few things like a Sunday roast dinner and an English breakfast!


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

A: There is so much to do in San Francisco and the surrounding area. You can go up to Napa Valley to visit all the wineries up there; if beaches are your thing you can go to Santa Cruz on the weekend; if hiking is your thing you can drive to Yosemite. Honestly, you’re never short of fun things to do in California.


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

A: I want to build my career in the US and go from there - I’m really enjoying myself at the moment.  


Q: What tips would you give to expats living in the country?

A: A: Try everything to make it feel like home right away. It takes a while to sink in that you actually live in the US so my advice would be to build a social circle outside of work by joining a sports team or whatever your personal hobby is. 

There are tons of apps that cater to people who aren’t from the area so they can socialise and meet new people. I personally joined a football (its football not soccer) team pretty quickly and that really helped me settle in and made it feel like home. 

Just enjoy the moment and do as much as possible. It’s not often that employers give you such an amazing opportunity!