How to Survive as an NRI in USA

From Curry Cravings to Credit Scores.

Ah, America – the land of Hollywood, skyscrapers, and more burgers than you can shake a stick at.

As a newly minted NRI in the vast expanse of the United States, you might feel a bit like Raj from ‘The Big Bang Theory’: occasionally lost, frequently hungry for mom’s aloo paratha, and constantly walking the fine line between embracing the ‘American Dream’ and preserving your desi roots.

Surviving in the US goes beyond knowing how to tip and mastering the art of the small talk.

This is your quick guide to thriving, Bollywood-style, in Uncle Sam’s backyard.

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1. Social Networks – Find Your Desi Crew

Remember Shah Rukh Khan’s gang in ‘Kabhi Alvida Naa Kehna’? Yeah, you need that. Connect with local Indian communities, attend desi events, and join university Indian associations.

The camaraderie of fellow NRIs can make the initial days less overwhelming.

2. Food – The Quest for the Perfect Samosa

In the US, you’ll find every cuisine, but nothing beats a fresh plate of pani puri.

  • DIY: Master basic Indian recipes. Your kitchen will soon smell like home.
  • Local Indian Stores: They are treasure troves of everything from Maggi to mango pickles.
  • Apps like Yelp: They’ll point you to the nearest tandoori chicken joint.

3. Manage Your Finances – The Rupee-Dollar Dance

  • Credit Score: In the US, your credit score is your financial report card. Pay your bills on time, and avoid maxing out credit cards.
  • Taxes: The IRS isn’t as fun as Bollywood, but it’s crucial to understand your tax obligations.
  • Send Money Home: Platforms like Wise (formerly TransferWise) can help transfer funds to India without hefty fees.

4. Navigate Healthcare – Because ‘An Apple a Day’ isn’t Enough

Healthcare in the US is expensive. Get a good health insurance plan, understand your benefits, and always keep emergency contacts handy.

5. Weather – It’s Not Always Sunny in Philadelphia (Or Anywhere Else)

Invest in good winter wear if you’re in the North. And if you’re in places like Arizona, sunblock will be your best friend.

6. Transport – The Great American Road Trip

While public transport is great in cities like NYC or San Francisco, in many places, having a car is almost essential. Learn the local traffic rules, get a driver’s license, and remember, in the US, we drive on the RIGHT.

7. Embrace the Culture – Baseball, Thanksgiving, and July 4th

While you’re binging on Bollywood, also try watching the Super Bowl or celebrating Thanksgiving. Embrace the local festivals and traditions. It’s a part of the expat experience.

8. Stay Connected to Your Roots – Diwali, Dosa, and Dhoom

Keep your traditions alive. Celebrate Indian festivals, speak in your mother tongue, and pass on the stories and traditions to the next generation.


Life as an NRI in the USA can be a roller coaster of emotions, reminiscent of a Karan Johar movie. There will be moments of exhilaration, bouts of homesickness, and an endless craving for mom-made biryani.

Yet, with the right mix of desi ingenuity and American resourcefulness, you can not just survive but thrive.

And remember, when in doubt, dance it out, Bollywood style! 🕺💃🇮🇳🇺🇸

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