Ex·pa·tri·ate: (n) a person who lives outside their native country.
Each year, CORT Destination Services supports thousands of individuals and families through the challenges inherent in relocating for work. Our Destination Services Consultants help assignees discover great neighborhoods, find the right home, choose the best school, and get settled into their new community with less stress and more confidence.
In the spirit of helping that our consultants bring to their work every day, we occasionally invite an expatriate to share their thoughts about the experience of moving to, and living in, the United States. Our latest Expat Interview is from Kate Robinson, a Brit living in Fulshear, Texas. We hope you find Kate’s remarks to be both fun and informative. We would love to hear from you. Please share your insights on the expatriate experience in the comments section. Thank you.
Industry that brought you to the U.S.:
Are you alone on this assignment?
My husband brought myself and my son, we had a baby girl here.
Is this your first international assignment? If not, where else have you lived?
Was the decision to move to the U.S. easy or difficult for you and your family?
Easy at the time, as I had a newborn and would have been returning to work within 6 months of his birth if we had stayed in the UK. I have been able to stay home for almost 5 years
What is one American tourist attraction that you have visited?
Locally, we have enjoyed George Ranch Historical Park and Brazos Bend State Park. We also enjoy the vast choice of museums in Houston, particularly the Children’s Museum. Nationally I loved the Grand Canyon, I would love to visit Mount Rushmore.
What is your favorite American saying or slang word?
Is there anything that you really miss and can’t find in U.S. stores?
Food items; oxo cubes, Cadburys chocolate (not the Hershey version!) and personal care wise, Calpol, which is a UK acetaminophen product for children.
What is your favorite American food?
Burgers and thick shakes. I also love all the sweet potato uses and pumpkin spiced everything!
Fill in the blank. Americans are:
Patriotic, friendly and welcoming (they certainly are in the South!)
Sometimes I wish Americans:
Would travel more around the world to open their minds a little.
What has surprised you (good or bad) about life in the U.S.?
How friendly all our neighbors have been here in Texas and how welcoming. I love all the passion for good manners and raising children. The bad is how no matter how beautiful the weather the heat can actually get a little tiresome, though at home we would cherish the sunny days.
The best thing about being an expatriate is:
Getting to experience firsthand diversity on so many levels; food, culture, people, language, customs, traditions, language, architecture and landscape. The disposable income is usually higher and the cost of living has proved to be cheaper than the UK for many big items such as cars, homes, electronics and goods. You certainly get a lot more “bang for your buck” house wise. You can Skype / Facetime / keep in touch with family fairly easily and when you do have family visit you make it extra special as it’s a short concentrated time together.
The worst thing about being an expatriate is:
Realizing just how far you are in distance, but also financially from your family and friends back home. It really is a whole new world, not always for the better.
If you could relocate anywhere in the world, where would you go?
New Zealand. Or Europe.
Imagine that a good friend just called to tell you that he/she has accepted an assignment in the U.S. What advice might you have for them as they prepare to relocate?
Join a group and put yourself out there. Find an expat group (using Meetup or search Facebook) to start with, especially if it is your first time, and from that you will most likely be connected to other sub groups / find a wealth of knowledge to help you settle such as medical/ schooling advice. If you have children research schools carefully using sites such as niche / great schools and check out city data as another good source for neighborhood recommendations / schools. If you have little children under 5, look at mother’s day out programs offered through local church / local playgroups as a good way for making friends
Go for it! You only get one life, so live it!!