Moving to a new country is a big deal; moving to a developed country is a more significant challenge. From the time you set foot at the airport and drive out on those well-maintained highways, there is a lot of order, reliability, and convenience different from what you are used to. Don’t get me wrong, I have been to many places, but I have not lived there for more than three months, so relocating to the USA for over a year means everything will be different.

Top things to do as a fellow

  1. Join local communities to stay informed and to connect with people who share similar interests; 
    • These are easy to find and connect to Facebook. I played with over 20 people in private and public tennis courts in ten months. Wondering how? NYC tennis players. The group creates a platform for tennis players to meet and challenge themselves to matches or just tennis workouts. So far, it is a safe space to expand your tennis network and play competitive tennis. 
    • Join the “neighborhood watchdog group” if one exists; these are good for buying and selling things within your community or know what is happening. “Knowledge is power, remember.” It is suitable for your security to an extent. 
  2. The power of the internet and the fellow community 
    • If you are a lady and desire a safer community, I would encourage you to explore Girl gone international. I met so many friends whom we shared food, drinks, sports, and stories via zoom and social distanced meet-ups in New York.
    • Watch out for events shared by fellow community members via email or social media; swing with the crowd.
  3. Volunteering; before you say anything, let me fill you in. If you are the type of person who thrives in helping others as I do, then your volunteering has just started when you set foot in the USA. I worked four hours a week in a food pantry in New York during the pandemic, and it was so fulfilling to be part of a cause. Find what is happening in your neighborhood and sign up for a few minutes to hours of your time smiling at others.
  4. Take a class and be part of language programs; the most exciting part of my stay here in the USA’s diversity. There are hundreds of languages spoken by the fellows and the residents here. Immerse yourself in a language that you have always desired to learn; some are free or using apps such as Duolingoopen culture, Babbel. The other option is to teach a language, and you will have the opportunity to be impactful.
  5. Ask your housemate; I had a rough beginning, but it ended with blessings in disguise. I met an excellent housemate who became a sister and friend. Having lived in the US longer, she was familiar with the system, rules, dos, and don’ts. Whenever I needed a recommendation or even a company to explore places, she was willing to come along.
  6. Play sports: I actively played tennis for fitness, networking, and relaxing after a long day at work. An active lifestyle helps you to sleep better, enhance your coordination and balance. You can also offer to teach others a sport you are good at or learn a sport they Are good at; a proven technique for strengthening bonds with acquaintances.
  1. Gym (planet fitness) is an example. The gym plans here are affordable but read all the binding rules to avoid paying unknown/hidden subscriptions; if a deal is too good, research more. How did I benefit from working out in the gym:
    • Good memory and brain health
    • I felt lighter and happier. 
    • Preparedness and increased energy levels hence productivity.
    • Most crucial physical fitness(remember it is so easy for you to gain weight here because of the lifestyle)
  2. Travel tips: Limited budget? Yes, travel is possible. 
    • First of all, begin with basic budgeting like saving $100 a month towards your travel to nearby or cheap destinations. You can do this by cooking more and ordering deliveries less. Cost-share meals when you go out for fun and anything else that will help you save more for activities.
    • Use affordable or cheaper means of transportation. All the public transport here is generally safe. The difference between the cheapest and most expensive is luxuries such as seats, wifi, charging ports, luggage allowance, and time. To save more travel light by packing smart, always prevent paying for luggage because most airlines charge you for carry-ons and other more oversized bags except small hand luggage like the laptop bag, you can fit all the basics in a laptop bag.

           These are the proven budget-friendly airlines in the US for you to use 

  • Virgin America.
  • JetBlue Airways
  • Southwest Airlines
  • Frontier Airlines
  • Spirit Airlines

The affordable buses and trains are 

  1. Flix bus
  2. Megabus 
  3. Peter pan etc
  4. If you want affordable train tickets. Read more here
    • Get a Railcard or 16-17 Saver. With a Railcard, you can get 1/3 off the price of train fare.
    • Book Advanced Fares.
    • Buy a Season Pass. 
    • Use a Fare Finder. 
    • Avoid Booking Fees. 
    • Smart Ticketing. 
    • Refunds.
    • Cheap First-Class Tickets.

Affordable tickets 

  • Groupon 
  • watch out for sales on leading websites on special holidays or weekends
  1. House-swapping with other fellows; throughout my fellowship, I managed to visit. The site sees other states where my colleagues lived because of networks and creating trustworthy friendships; I lived in Washington DC for many weeks, Philadelphia, Connecticut.
    1. Do background check on compatibility level of cleanliness etc., just the basics. 
    2. Respect one another’s space 
    3. Be kind and thoughtful; I would leave my room with random gifts. 
    4. Communicate with housemates to find out if they are comfortable, especially if its opposite genders 
  2. Communication with family and friends. It may seem like ages, lonely as the days go by when you move far away from home, spare some time to catch up with everyone on video or audio calls. It is good to strengthen the bond with your loved ones; add this to your list of activities. It is easy to get carried away and spend so much time catching up with them that you end up forgetting to explore, so watch out for this one. 
  3. Find love Don’t be shy; you can find love if you are single anyway. I am sure there are enough tips for this one out there. Have fun.
  4. TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF. It is easy to get caught between work and hobbies that you may forget and an essential aspect of taking care of yourself physically, mentally, and spiritually. Do that thing that makes you feel good, eat a healthy and balanced diet.

Watch out for part two issue in April 2021 with details of destinations, costs, and much more

Thumbnail photo by Timo Wagner on Unsplash