Hit the Ground Running

This booklet is the most practical oriented of the three reviewed here and as such, might lead me astray into thinking it “boring”. But then, just as my attention is drawn to the tiny part of the screen left to show the announcer's face on CNN anymore, I remember my own failure to comprehend the U.S. phone system's options. The booklet's Tip 5 runs down the options for phone service, reminding newcomers, for example, that they indeed must buy their own phone (in many countries you are in fact forbidden to buy your own phone, and must rent from the government telephone monopoly).

Other very helpful tips list how water is provided by the city with only one supplier while electricity is supplied by a private company (but only one and no call waiting option) but if you are buying heating oil it is an open market of competitors to navigate. Standard immunizations required by most schools are listed, as well as some (albeit generic) tips on working with real estate agents.

For people arriving in the U.S. already grown up but without credit histories, there are some very helpful tips on using one's employer to help reassure nervous landlords and to convince credit card issuers to trust you.

I'd be surprised if any American could get through this booklet without at least one slap on the forehead after reading a tip that seems so obvious that you forgot to remember it until you read the book. About the only downsides to the booklet are that on some tips the need to write one-size-fits-all information (such as dealing with real estate agents) means the info is a bit broad, and that the booklet is apparently only available in English. If I was the human resources manager at a U.S. company with foreign workers, this booklet would make an inexpensive, well-received, addition to my “welcome to your new job” packet.

“Hit the Ground Running: A Checklist for Starting a Home in the U.S.”, written by Karen Rudnick, Helenann Wright and Anne P. Copeland, is available by mail order from The Interchange Institute for $4.95, with discounts for bulk purchases. Here's how to contact them.

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