what are my chances for surviving in the US?

When I graduate, I plan on using my savings to live a week in the US and try to get a job there. If things do not float, I would return, but I’d like to stay around.

My question is: How hard would it be for me to just come to America and make a living?

About me: I’m Swedish and speak both English and Swedish fluently. By the time I’m done with my education I will have a University diploma in social science. I can play piano but I cannot sing. I’m well read and I can click my heels together when I jump.

I don’t have a lot of money but I got spirit. All right, give me odds.

Too many variables. Where do you want to go? You won’t be able to move straight to Manhattan. You might have no problem moving to Mississippi or say, North Dakota and landing a job around minimum wage and building up from there. Music jobs are always difficult and don’t usually pay much so don’t count on that. OTOH, maybe you could get a job in a music store or a record shop. I essentially did the same thing when I moved to Boston on one day’s notice with no money and only the shortest term place to stay. A temp agency put me into a very nice job immediately and that lasted for 6 months which was time enough for me to locate my first “real” job.

It isn’t easy and I would certainly want more than one week but it can be done. Lots of places need people right away if you aren’t particular.

Do you have the right papers?

The biggest factor is whether or not you’ll have a work permit. If you have a work permit, sure, you’ll have no problem finding a job somewhere and setting up shop. If you don’t, things are going to be much trickier. Evidently millions of people are able to find work without permits in this country, but I’m not sure you want to work in a meat packing plant or a fruit orchard. You might be able to find some casual work in bars or restaurants without a permit, but I wouldn’t know how you’d go about it.

If you’re still a couple months out from your planned leaving date, call the American embassy in Stockholm and find out what kind of permits might be available to you. You could enter the green card lottery and might get lucky. Look up the J-1 visa; I worked with some European kids in Boston on that visa; it had some restrictions, but they were here legally and able to have a good time.

In any event, good luck! It’s a big country and you may be able to find something.

You wouldn’t be able to get any state jobs. (Government positions like working in a prison, or social work positions, etc.) Most states have residency requirements, and the application process is very, very long. (It’s not uncommon to wait six months before getting an interview request.)

IIRC, if you’re here on a J-1 and not working at an educational institution, you need to apply for a separate work permit, which you can only do once you are physically in the U.S. The bureaucrats will take up to 6 months to push the relevant papers and provide your work permit.

On the other hand, in Manhattan you could probably get by without legal papers. I know the people who work in my local liquor store are all illegal migrants, but the store owner doesn’t care.

One word: Nashville.

there’s work here, bands form, & all the big record companies have major offices.

There are also intro music schools, & somebody with “European Training” :wink: might just land a job there.

I’m going to assume in answering this, that you have the legal right to move here and work. Because if you don’t, you’re asking what are the odds for keeping off the INS radar as an illegal immigrant – and that’s a whole different thread.

I’d say the odds of survival are excellent, and of thriving are good. Though… coming from Sweden, your standard of living may already be better than the average American’s. Frinstance, don’t forget you’ll need health insurance here, and it’s pricey. It’s a common benefit for most full-time jobs, but not for part-time jobs and obviously not if you’re thinking of starting your own small business.

If you live in a large urban area or in a college town, you can probably get certified and pick up some extra money as an interpreter for schools, hospitals, law firms, etc.

Plus, if the Republican House version of the proposed immigration legislation becomes law, there’ll be tons of new openings in migrant farming and housekeeping. And we’ll have to hire about a zillion cops to chase down and deport the 12 million or so folks who would be instantly redefined as felons.

Oh yeah, and something that I worry about even though I’m too old for it. America has declared eternal war on terrorism, and our reserves are starting to get a little thin. If we start slinging bombs around at more countries, I could imagine the military draft returning. Are you thinking about applying for citizenship?

Yup, you’re furure’s so bright you better get shades!

There are a lot of foreigners working at Ski area in both Winter and summer. I’m not sure if there’s some program for it, or if a lot just end up there, but it seems like over half of everybody from the ski-shop behind the counter people to the rafting guides are foreign.

But none of them are great pay.

What sort of job do you want?

How attractive are you?

If this job involves standing on streetcorners, wearing tight clothing & winking at people, I doubt he/she wants it. :smiley:

Very true, but if the job is in the entertainment industry, looks are important.

Yeah, no way would I move from Sweden to America! All the Americans I know want to emigrate. You live in one of the most advanced countries in the world, don’t come to a crappy country like the US.

I can’t help noticing that you’re from Pittsburgh.

I am not going for a career in the entertainment industry. More likely something like working in a bookstore or such. I’ll likely be qualified for therapeutic councelling in a few years as well.

No wonder I’m stuck in this dead-end job! :smack:

Some areas of counselling require a license so consider that; I’m not sure what your immigration status has to be to qualify.

I would recommend visiting the USA first to see if you like it here before making a permanent move. It’s a wonderful country, but you may not like the culture or government, or miss your friends and family, etc.

If you think you’d like to stay anyway, though, definitely apply for work visas or the Diversity Visa. As a Swedish citizen, you should be eligible. Nationals of the following countries were NOT acceptable for the 2007 season because they sent a total of more than 50,000 imigrants to the USA for the previous 5 years:

Unfortunately, the 2007 season is closed so you would have to wait for the 2008 season to apply.

Where are you planning on going in the USA? There’s plenty of major cities on each coast and in the heartland. NYC, Chicago, DC, New Orleans, Seattle, Houston, Los Angeles… but most of them are EXPENSIVE. The USA is geographically diverse, you can live in deserts, mountaintops, plains, islands, frozen wastelands, the seaside, anything you can imagine. Don’t get stuck somewhere with weather you can’t stand! There’s tons of things you need to decide before you decide to come.

Also, keep in mind cactus that if you decide to come and work here illegally, it’s going to make it much much harder for you - if not impossible - to get legal status later. It’s been awhile since I worked in immigration, but last I did if you overstayed a visa for more than a year, you were deported and then barred from re-entering the US for ten years! I don’t know all the state laws, but I bet you dollars to donuts that there is no way you could work as a counselor in any state without legal status.

You’ll be welcomed with open arms in Minnesota. There are so many people of Scandinavian descent here that the whole adoration of all things nordic gets tiresome.

You would have to face the prospect of dealing with loads of Norwegians, however.

Reality TV sponsors The Ellis Island Challenge

One man, a spunky Swede, attempts to establish life in America as millions have done before him. Only this time he gets just one week to build his strategy, find a job and a place to live, and completely immerse himself into a new culture. To makes things more interesting, he is going to do it with no papers. Succeeding means grabbing a hunk of the American Dream but failure means returning to his homeland broke and despondent (or worse).

Which is actually quite a nice city to live and work in.

As for the OP, your odds of surviving here are a lot better if you go through the appropriate legal channels and get the right visas and permits.

If (and I don’t know what the case is) you’re trying to do this without permits, I don’t think you’re going to find anyone too happy to help you do something illegal.