Five ideas to try while on the H4 visa
When I was on H4 long time back, I was often too caught up in my daily routine to realize what an opportunity being on H4 can be. But hind sight is 20 – 20. And there are somethings I did well, and somethings I didnt – the collection below is what I have learnt from friends who went through a similar period of enforced staying at home and things they did right.
The thing about the H4 is that it sometimes makes you feel powerless. You are lonely in a new country, and want to work to learn more about this world, but can’t. For something as powerful as government regulations, which probably did not affect you to this degree in your home country, is holding you down.
But while you are waiting for your green card, or your H1 B, there is plenty you can do to get ready. The things that were most effective for me were the things that made me feel more ’empowered’ and less dependant.
Here are some ideas:
Imitiate the working life: If you are missing it, why not?
- Wake up on time, get dressed, have breakfast, etc. But dont just stop at that.
- Make your ‘To do list’ for the week and day.
- Write down people you will call or email – may or may not be business related. Even if the volume is low, you are being proactive.
- Identify some aspects of your career you can work on from home such as sprucing up skills, applying for new courses, or online research.
- Dont just read and research online, make notes
- Set networking goals for yourself. This is something I never did but I really wish I had. What a wonderful opportunity to connect when you dont have work pressing you down. Look out for some professional associations.
Learn to Drive: Mobility, even if you need to drop and pickup your hubby to get it is very empowering and gives you freedom. So do get your license. Plus, it will make you feel more at home in this country.
Set Targets: Small ones, big ones, work ones, home ones. LIke ‘get my license in six months’ or ‘ make blah blah road trips in three months’. Or ‘Exercise an hour each day’ or ‘learn swimming’ or (this is expensive but..) ‘Join the YMCA for classes’.
Take over the finances : I know this sounds alarming, especially for many women who feel that earning is what gives them financial empowerment. While thats true, I think many husbands would only be glad ( though maybe initially sceptical) to hand over the reins of managing bills and investments while they focus on their jobs. Why I like this one is that you begin to immediately make impact on your home bottom line – and that is pretty powerful. You can do simple stuff like:
- Setting up online payments
- Monitoring accounts
- Identifying simple investments
What do you all think of this one? Please leave me a comment on this – I think it can be effective, but am not sure if its practical.
Become a regular at the library : and maybe even Barnes and Noble if you can resist the urge to buy each time. The library is a great resource in the US with free books. Have a book list and reserve the ones the dont have. Both these places are great to spend time in the day.
And of course, volunteer.
I tried to keep this to things that dont cost so much money, except studying and courses, which I think is worth the money always. On H4 I would always use the apartment gym but now I think the YMCA provides great opps for classes in the evenings or day time. Maybe even local (paid) gyms.
Do share your ideas and stories. That inspires me to research more and thats what makes this worthwhile, I think, not me just writing my thoughts :).
You can use the register link on top to sign up for the site and leave comments and get periodic updates on H4 and other topics. Also, do write in!
Last 5 posts by Amrita Bakshi
- Self Publishing How To's - Tips on Self Publishing Success - May 18th, 2010
- Office Politics - April 29th, 2010
- Five tips for a networking event - March 22nd, 2010
- H4 Visa Volunteer Jobs - 5 things to remember - February 14th, 2010
- H4 Visa - The most romantic visa? - February 13th, 2010