22 March 2017

Kylie Neuhaus - Expat in Iowa, USA

Kylie Neuhaus - Expat in Iowa, USA

We’ve had the chance to talk to Kylie Neuhaus, 28, a British expat who has moved to the USA with her husband. Mrs. Neuhaus who has been living there for seven months, now works as a teaching assistant & blogger.

Read more about her experiences in the full interview below.


Q: Where are you from originally?

A: I’m originally from the UK, about 40 miles east of London.


Q: What made you move out of the UK?

A: I met an American while I was on holiday in Jamaica and we ended up getting married. One of us had to move countries!


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

A: Iowa, USA. It was where my Husband was living!


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

A: Since August 2016.


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

A: I’m living with my Husband but he was already here. For him, he just has to get used to my crazy English words.


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

A: I miss my family every day. Technology is a life saver, I talk to my parents & sister every

day on FaceTime. I’ve also got a trip back to the UK planned for the summer so that gives me something to look forward to.


Q: What do you think about the locals?

A: For the most part they’ve all been lovely! They all say hi and wave at me.


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: I’m still fairly new to the country so I’m still trying to get established!  I have been talking to another UK expat that lives 10 minutes away and I’ve actually signed up to a local ‘newcomers’ programme for people that have been living in the area for less than 5 years. The group meets for 3 hours on a Wednesday for 5 weeks to learn about the area and hang out with other newbies. My main social circle is through blogging, I’ve connected with other expats across the country and bloggers that live in the ‘Midwest’.


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


  • Q: How much is a cup of coffee?

A: Varies! McDonald’ s sell coffee for $1, Starbucks is more like $2! (Small).

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

A: For a meal and a drink - $10 - $15.

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

A: $25+.

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

A: I don’t drink wine or smoke so I’m not sure!  A small can of beer averages around $3.


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

A: In the USA you’ll need a Social Security Number to open an account. Most banks have ATM fees which are different from the UK. I use a credit card like a debit card (meaning I always pay it off each month) however by using credit means I get more points on purchases which I can exchange for cash back.


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

A: Very long and expensive!  It took around 9 months for my Green Card to be granted. I filled out all the paperwork myself (rather than use a lawyer) and it was really complicated!


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

A: I’ve not yet had to use it so I can’t say! Health care insurance is VERY expensive, though.


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

A: I had to wait for my Social Security Number to arrive before I could apply so I was living in my host country. As mentioned above, just expect to pay a lot for it!


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

A: I maxed out my airline allowance in suitcases, that’s all I moved with. All my cases arrived and only 2 of my belongings got damaged in transit that was down to my packing, though, I should have protected them better!


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

A: For me, it was the overwhelming enormity of having to do everything at once!  Get a job, set up bank accounts, mobile phones, health insurance, passing an American driving test etc.! Thankfully it gets a little easier once all that is out of the way!


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

A: Positives - the summers are warmer, houses and petrol are cheaper. Negatives - being away from my family, the nearest international airport is a 3-hour drive away! (In the UK I had 3 international airports within a 1 hour 30 min drive).


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

A: The opportunities to enjoy nature. There are lots of hiking and cycling trails and the Mississippi River for water sports! 2 ski slopes are close by too…yes, in Iowa!


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

A: I’d like to move back to England one day, but who knows.


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

A: There are always other people that are in the same boat as you that are willing to listen and offer advice if ever you need it!


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

A: Can I say my blog?! I write at Between England & Iowa (www.betweenenglandandiowa.com). I give advice and tips on the visa process, expat life and local and international adventures. I love helping out other expats and inspiring people to explore the world. It’s also helped me to make friends in my host country! Other blogs I read are: http://storiesmysuitcasecouldtell.com & https://trumbleymadlydeeply.com (both are by UK expats in the USA).