Moving to a new country can be an exciting and daunting experience, especially when it comes to cultural differences.
If you are an international student from the Indian Sub-continent (Bangladesh, India, Pakistan, Srilanka, Nepal, Bhutan) planning to move to Houston, Texas, there are a few things you should know to prepare yourself for the changes that come with adjusting to life in the United States.
I have been here since 2019 and already gathered some experiences along my Ph.D. journey. Here are some insights I am sharing with you.
Sub-continent Foods are still available
Almost all types of foods from the sub-continent are available here. You can taste different subcontinent cuisine available in many Bangladeshi-Indian-Pakistani restaurants.
Most Sub-continent items are avaialble
Almost every sub-continent items are available here as there are many shops run by the sub-continent people settled here, earlier. You can literally move to Houston without bringing much from your country.
Cricket and Soccer leagues are available
If you are fan of Cricket and Soccer, don’t worry at all. There are many cricket and soccer leagues available in Houston throughout the year.
Lots of Community People
There are significantly large sub-continent communities available in Houston. You may find a lot of people and student from your country as well as your local region. That’s definitely a plus point.
No State Tax in Texas
There is no state taxes here and you usually pay less taxes than many other states in the USA. Also, if your country is part of the tax treaty with US, you can have some extra months of salaries without any tax. For example, as a Bangladeshi student, we receive exempt from four monthes of taxes.
Cost of Living
Compared to other large cities in the United States, Houston has a relatively low cost of living. Housing, food, and entertainment are all affordable, making it a great option for those on a budget.
Houston is home to many large companies and industries, including oil and gas, healthcare, and technology. This means there are plenty of job opportunities for international students and professionals.
Houston is one of the most diverse cities in the United States, with a wide range of cultures and backgrounds represented. This means you can experience a variety of cuisines, festivals, and cultural events.
One of the most popular show “The Rodeo” is hosted in the NRG park in Houston. Many games are also hosted in the NRG stadium.
Houston is a Car City
Houston is a car city and it’s difficult to go to places without a car. My apartment mate and I bought a car after one semester to buy groceries and go to the university campus.
While Houston does have a public transportation system, it is limited compared to other large cities. Having a car is almost a necessity for getting around, which can be expensive.
Houston is known for its heavy traffic, especially during rush hour. Commutes can be long and frustrating, so it’s important to plan accordingly.
Scorching Sun in the Summer
The hot and humid weather can be problematic from time to time. If you are not used to the heat, it can be uncomfortable and even dangerous during the summer months, especially from May to August.
Texas is pretty big and there are only two national parks, which are quite far away from Houston. Apart from a few beaches in Galveston and Port Boliver, there is not many places nearby that you can visit and have a vacation tour.
However, you can rent cars and visit Austin and San Antonio. These two cities have many attractions including waterfalls, hills, lakes, and mountains.
Houston is not known for being a bike-friendly city as it lacks proper cycling infrastructure, such as dedicated bike lanes and paths.
Cyclists often have to navigate busy roads and contend with heavy traffic, making cycling a less safe and convenient option for transportation. Also the scorching heat during the day and summer also cause problems for the cyclists.
However, the city has made some efforts to improve cycling conditions in recent years, such as adding more bike lanes and launching bike-sharing programs.
Housing is not that cheap
Houston is often regarded as an affordable city, but the truth is that the housing market is not that cheap. Despite being more affordable than other major cities like New York or San Francisco, Houston’s housing costs are still high and can be a burden for many students, especially those with low or moderate incomes or if you do not have TA/RA funds available during the summer.
Weather is too unpredictable
Weather is too unpredictable here and temparature may change a lot within the day. It is always recommended to check the hour-by-hour temparature and if there is probability of rain.
Although the hot and humid weather can be a challenge, Houston’s climate also means that outdoor activities are available year-round. You can enjoy hiking, biking, and other outdoor activities in the city’s many parks and green spaces.
As I mentioned, there is no national parks nearby. However, the state parks and community parks in Houston are pretty good. There are a lot of activities you can take part in when you have some spare times.
Also, you can visit Galveston and Port Boliver beaches. Galveston is almost an hour drive from Houston and there are some fun things you can do around Galveston and Port Boliver.
You can watch my video to have some ideas about the beaches.
That’s all for today! Best wishes for you!!!