In Conversation with Thanashyam Raj: A peek inside the life of an L1 Visa holder
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In Conversation with Thanashyam Raj: A peek inside the life of an L1 Visa holder

Moumita Basu

Moving to a new country is one of the most stressful times of your life. On top of that, you have to keep in mind to manage your money, find accommodation, and settle down in a whole new environment. How do we know this?

Recently, we sat down for a chat with THANASHYAM RAJ, who works as a Principal Engineer has moved to the U.S. on an L1 visa in December of 2021.

What was the one thing that surprised you the most about the U.S.?

By nature, I am a person who likes being in the know. I don’t like being surprised by new information. Therefore, keeping true to my nature, I did extensive research about every topic under the sun related to the U.S. This helped me be better informed and prepared for what will come my way. My prior research already made me aware that nobody was going to offer me a high-limit loan unless I built a good credit history in the U.S.

Now that you have settled down in your home away from home, what is that one thing you might have difficulty adjusting to?

Before moving to the U.S., I stayed in Chennai, and now I am in Seattle. It goes without saying that adjusting to the cold and damp weather here will take some getting used to.

What is the first cuisine you tried after reaching the U.S.?

I think I started feeling homesick right after I landed in the U.S., and I ate what reminded me of home. Luckily, I have some relatives nearby and they helped me initially with Indian food. Also, there is an Indian restaurant right next to where I was staying temporarily, so it was sorted. For the first 2-3 weeks, I only ate Indian food.

What do you miss most about India after moving to the U.S.?

Surprisingly, vegetables! While we get the same ones in a few select Indian grocery stores in the U.S., they are not readily available. While I wish things were different, I also know I can’t get everything I want.

Have you started exploring the U.S. yet?

No, I don’t have a car yet so most of my plans are on hold but it’s a lovely country and I really want to travel this summer.

Since you mentioned your travel plans for this summer, have you applied for an auto loan?

Yes, I applied for a loan at multiple places, but at some places, the APR was way too high due to the low existing U.S. credit score so early in my journey. But I applied for an auto loan at one of the credit unions with a co-signer, and I am glad that I have been pre-approved for that.

How did you manage your finances in the U.S. during the initial days?

Anyone who has moved from one country to another can vouch for the fact that it is stressful, and the biggest one is getting a credit card in the U.S. While researching which cards to apply for, I came across Zolve and its biggest selling point was that I’ll be able to build my credit history here. It has definitely given an edge to my pocket and helped relieve my anxiety about some crucial tasks I needed to do once I landed there. So, doing the research before coming helped me skip some initial hiccups.

How difficult was it to find accommodation in the U.S?

Our company had a relocation agency where one of the agents guided me and showed me around a few properties in the city. It took around four days to finalize the place I moved in. This is one of the important decisions, so my input would be not to rush and think thoroughly before making a decision.

What is that one piece of advice you would give to people planning to move to the U.S.?

As an avid traveler, all I can say is get your driving permit as soon as possible. This is a mesmerizingly beautiful country, and all I can think about is to tick off places from my bucket list! We all work hard five days a week, and we get only two days to relax and unwind.

Final thoughts

This was a small peek of what has been a dream journey for Mr. Thanashyam and some interesting things to definitely know if you are moving to the U.S. Do share it with your friends who are moving so that they can expect the unexpected.

We loved the fact that Zolve was able to help him in his journey, and if you also want to plan ahead your finances you can apply for a Zolve Account and a U.S. Credit Card even before you step foot in America. We have tailor-made our services to help immigrants with their money management across borders.