Life as a Registered Nurse in Texas
Hi, everybody, and welcome. It's Friday. So it must be Connetics USA weekly show onwards and upwards. Everything that a health care worker needs to know about coming to live and work in the United States. I am your host, Tanya Freedman, CEO of Connetics USA, and we are the number one company for direct hire nurses and health care workers coming to the United States. So if you are interested in coming to America, please submit your resume into our website. And our team, I'm standing by on hand waiting for you to apply so that we can help you make your American dream a reality. Today's topic is stateside. We're going to be learning all about Texas. The big everything is bigger in Texas. We're going to be learning what it is to live and work in Texas. And I invite everybody to put your questions into the chat. I see Eunice is watching from Ghana. If you are watching from anywhere in the world, we love to see our viewers put in the chat where they're watching from. Put your name in the chat where you're watching from and let us know if you have any questions for our panel that we're going to bring in in a minute. And they're going to be talking about Texas.
What is it like to live in in this? I think it's the second largest state in the United States. What is the climate like? What is the cost of living like? What are the Texas like? What is it like for if you have kids, what is housing like? And lots and lots of questions that we're going to ask our viewers for not watching from the UK. We're going to bring in our and our team who are going to be talking about their experience. Hi, Jay. Welcome. Good morning. Good morning. Welcome, Rona. Good morning, Tanya. Good morning, Jay. Good morning, everybody. Morning, Rona. Good morning. Good evening. Good afternoon. Wherever you are watching from anywhere in the world, today is a very exciting day. Texas is one of the most populous states in the United States to immigrate to. And we're going to be finding out a lot more about it today. Okay. I see people are putting their their information into the chat. And funky is watching from the UK where where us watching from Kenya and Borat. Borat is watching from Nigeria and TJ from Nigeria. Heda is asking, do you need medical laboratory technicians? I got my registration with the ACP Heda. Yes, definitely. We have clients around the United States that are interested in hiring medical lab technologist, medical lab technician. So please apply to Connetics USA, and we would love to have you come to America.
Jane is saying, Wow. Hi, Ma’am. Rona Hate is saying hi. So lots of people joining us today. Let's start off with introductions. Rona, ladies first. Please introduce yourself and tell our viewers a little bit about you, about yourself. Rhonda, you unmute. Rona, can you hear us? I think Rona is having a little bit of a wifi connection. Rona, can you hear us? Yes, I can hear you. Okay, perfect. Go ahead and introduce yourself. Sorry about that. Hello, everyone. My name Rona and I'm on onboarding specialist from Connetics USA. I live here in Texas in 2013. And yeah, I. I have. I'm married and I have two kids. They're all they're both born here in Texas as well, so they are legit. You, Sonia, we are from Houston, Texas. Thank you. Hey, thank you, Rona. So you've got American born kids. How far? Yes. And so Ron is going to be able to answer any of the questions that you have everybody about schools and what it's like for kids to live in Texas as well as a lot of other things. Jay, Go ahead and introduce yourself. Oh, yeah. Good morning. Good evening. In the Philippines and elsewhere, I guess. Good evening or. Well, we have, I think, many viewers in the Middle East as well. Everywhere else. First and foremost, it's my pleasure to be here in Connetics. So. And New Connetics. You guys invited me. I said yes, for sure. I have to make myself available as long as I can help you in any little way that I can grow, just like your company and our company as well. So, by the way, every day I'm from Beaumont, Texas.
It's about an hour and a half. Houston, if you can see my show, It is Houston. I graduated back in 20 years, back in the Philippines, 2003 to be exact. I finished my nursing in the Philippines, by the way, and then I was an ICU nurse for two years, went to the academe as a clinical instructor for six years and eventually went to Saudi Arabia. So I had an experience also in Saudi Arabia for some good four years experience. I learned a lot from being a bedside nurse and became an educator again in a joint commission hospital in Saudi. I went to visit here in the U.S. 2016 to see what it really looks like inside. Yeah, I would love to work here in the US, so I visited my family here. So at that time they exited Saudi and went to the Philippines expecting my immigrant interview. But know to be approved. But unfortunately it was denied for some reason. But good Lord, he gave me a bus. If you know that I'm also working night bus as an educator together with the region, we co-founded the review program in the US. So moving forward, I work here in Beaumont, Texas, 2018. So I get back here 2018 and work as a nurse in a medical surgical telemetry unit. Presently, until now, I'm still currently working in the same hospital for five years now and at the same time I'm like keeping two bridge. I agree. But at the same time, at the same time, I'm working as a lead educator in I bus. So the same way as, you know, Connetics helping nurses to come here in the US. And I'm happy to be here. Thank you, Jane. That is that is quite a story and quite a journey that you've experienced in coming to the United States. And we love that you proudly sitting there in your Houston t shirt. And so we're going to learn.
And also we'll go to lives in Houston. So we going to be learning a lot about that location because that's one of the places that many people know about and takes us we've heard about. And we love that you here to help and nurses and health care workers. Jay Because and I think that's what onwards and upwards is all about. It's really just the community helping each other, sharing stories, sharing advice, sharing tips about what it's like to get to the United States. And when you live here, what it's like to live and work here. So we love that you have a paying it forward for others because that's onwards and upwards is all about. And we know that Rona feels exactly the same and we love that you are from IPASS. IPASS is one of Connetics esteemed partners. We work with IPASS very, very closely and we love working with the Jay and Rachelle and Jean and, and the team at IPASS who do such an amazing job of helping nurses through the processing to get to the United States. Okay, So if you have your questions about Texas and please put them into the chat and Rhona and Jay will be happy to ask them. And I know you worked in in Saudi J And I see we've got Melvyn and Nora, who are both from Saudi and Tennessee saying Hi, Brigitte is from Ghana, and Lilibeth is saying is tagging a friend, saying, Oh, Danielle is taking the place. So thank you for tagging a friend. We love that you pay it forward and hate us asking How can I get sponsorship guys? And it would be great if you can help me with this. I'm currently working on my CGFNS and Visa clearance, so I hate to. I would suggest you go to the Connetics USA website and look at the success path that we have on there.
This success part is more specifically for nurses, but it's a very similar process for a lot of the allied specialties, and this will take you through the steps that you need to go through in order to live and work in the United States. It's a very complicated, frustrating, long process, but also very exciting. And the goal really is to get you to enjoy and prosper, which is what Jay and Rhona are doing right now. Okay. So let's find out a little bit to dig a little deeper into Rhona and Jay's story and their experience. Living in takes us. Rhona, I know that you gave us your brief introduction, but can you tell us why you came to the United States and why specifically Texas? Actually, when I came here 26 years ago, I was I came to California first. I was an immigrant myself. I was a beautician by my father. And when I got married, I moved here to Texas in 2013 because my husband found a job here in Houston. He's electrical engineering engineer, so he works for as a connect connection with the oil and gas company. So that's how I, I moved here to Texas because of that. And, and yeah, I mean, you know, I don't know anything about Texas. I've never lived to any other state but California. But I'm an adventurous type of person. So I go, okay, let's go, let's go. We'll see what we're going to have it there. Know it so well. It's obviously now, yes, we were lucky enough that my husband has a relative, still lives in Houston, Texas. So he she was able to tell us what it is like in in in in Houston.
And we actually lived in Port Arthur first, which is close to Beaumont, like about probably 10 minutes or 20 minutes away from Beaumont, because my husband works for this oil and gas oil rig there. And we lived there for a few months, and then we moved to Houston, lived in an apartment first. Then after a few months, we found a house that is close to my husband's aunt's. So we bought the house and back then it was only like less than $200,000 for the house. That was like back in 2012. So we were like thinking that, okay, we're going to have kids. We need the house apartment. It's not gonna work for us. We need to live in somewhere that is zoned to a good school. So with the help of my, my, my husband's relatives, they were able to tell us where to live. Where is the location? Perfect for our kids and. Yep. And now we're here. And now you're here living the American dream. Run up and. Yes, Tanya. Julie. Thank you. Rona. So and Jay. You know, Runners experience is really interesting because it's really different to your experience before you came to the United States and why did you choose Texas out of all the states? Because people don't realize how big it is and how different the different states are. It wasn't really my intention to like, you know, choose Texas primarily because my family's here. So that's really my main motivation to come here, because as much as I want, I mean as much as I can to help to be with my family. And yeah, they are here in Beaumont, Texas, since they in they say it was my sister and then she petitioned me, both of my parents, and then they came here like way back probably about almost 20 years ago. So I didn't have any chance, like just other states because like I said, I, you know, primarily I wanted to be with my family as much as possible.
So that's a good consideration as well as much as you can. You have to be with your family, you know, support system. So yeah, we like it here. So in the first place, it will never be staying here for like 20 years if they don't like it here. So yeah, so I stayed here. We weren't in the same hospital with my sister and working environment wise, I also like it, so I'm still there. So I'm working already for like five years. So yeah, so it definitely worked out for you and that is helpful to have that family like Rhona had her family member Okay, you have your family member, But I think, you know, not everybody's going to have family in the United States. And even if you do have family, it might not be possible to be able to go and work in a specific location because maybe you only get a job in a in a different location. So. And Rhona, what what did your aunt tell you that was helpful about living in Texas? I think you said it was your aunt. Yeah, it was my husband's aunt, actually. It's my husband's relatives, So? So, yeah. I mean, what he told what they told us is if you're going to live here in Texas, you're probably going to be able to buy your house. Like, that's the main thing, because, you know, California, it's going to be hard for us to buy a house. We have to probably like live away from the city, too, for us to be able to, you know, like for for for me and my husband, who's just starting up a life. You know, having, you know, like a family and all. So it's going to be hard for us to buy our own house in California if we're going to stay there. We have to be away from the city. But here in Texas, lucky in that my husband found a job. So that's the main thing. The house, the I mean, the cost of living most likely.
So that would that's what encourage us to move here to Texas. Okay. So that's helpful. Then we're going to dig a little deeper into that just in terms of the housing and the cost of living and how that might be different to other places in the United States. J You mentioned that you had visited Texas before you came to live here. When you arrived, when you first arrived here and your first day and as a as an immigrant, what was that like? Oh, I was an immigrant day. I told myself like, yeah, this is the place I wanted to live cause my family's here and I was orientated with of course, I met a lot of people, a lot of Filipinos, like I said, support system and the fact that most of my relatives are also here. Most of them are also here. And then it was a feeling of like, Oh, this is really my place. And sometimes you get to feel like some, some boredom because, you know, Texas is kind of back. You cannot see buildings everywhere except you go to Houston, though. But if you go to Houston, you can see buildings, but not as compared to the Philippines. Like you have a lot of buildings at the same time, lots of people. But yeah, in Texas, specifically in Houston, when you go there, lots of buildings, but not much of people. So it's kind of boring though. But when the end of the day, you're you tend to be here with your family at the same time you have a good kind of job so you can sustain your living here as well. So my first day yeah, my first day is kind of okay. It's just that, you know, my family's here and that's why it's really a big help. So. So that was that was wonderful to be with the family and to reunite with the family. But it's interesting that you speak about the difference between Beaumont and Houston.
And if we look at a map of Texas, we can see how big Texas is. So people might hear the word Texas. But if you look at the map of Texas in the in where it sits in the middle of the United States and you see how big the state is, there's a lot of differences between the different places like Beaumont is very different to Houston, is very different to Dallas or Lubbock or Amarillo or El Paso and or Corpus Christi. So so lots of differences between the states and Rhona. I know that you've lived in in Houston for a long time, but can you share with everybody who's watching how Houston is maybe different to maybe some of the other big cities that people might know, like Dallas or Houston? Houston is quite different, like what J.D. said. Like if you go to downtown with lots, you know, with the you want really you actually see people walking because there is an underground in downtown where all of this walkers, you know, use their pathway to get to from one building to another. So you won't see much people walking outside. But compared to Austin, which is quite different because the city hall is there, so there some tourists who walks around the area. And also Austin is known for a small barbecue. So actually Texas are known for that. And if you go to San Antonio, Texas, there would be more people walking outside because the Alamo is there, The river walk is there. Well, it's like a tourist spot for San Antonio. So but Dallas, I think it's the same as Houston. So you won't see much people walking outside in downtown where, you know, all these tall buildings are at. And in Houston, the name stays there. So you can go to Nossa if you want to take your family or your friends who was visiting you and yeah, I mean, you know that those are the differences between this big cities here in Texas.
But if you go to like a countryside, you'll see much like more like if you're if you're if you're if you like to go hiking or fishing or just boating, you can go to those countryside because there are some lakes there where you could go rivers, I mean, water parks as well. So, yeah, I mean, that's all I can tell about Texas. So and a beach actually that I'll miss that one. Yes. And that's interesting because a lot of people might not realize that there's a beach, you know, because it sits in the middle of the country. If we look at that map and people might not realize that the actually is a beach, that you can go to it. But it depends in Texas how far you might be from there, because Texas is, I think, the second largest state in America. So it's everything is big in Texas. And Jay, the one thing that people often talk about in Texas is southern hospitality. What is southern hospitality for those people? You've heard the term, but don't really know the southern hospitality, if you know the word like howdy, that's very Texan. Oh, great. And even if, you know, if you're not traveling to Texas, you can see that everywhere like I would be. But you see, like I would be. That's very Texas so you can well, it's normal for the people to say like howdy or something but well, how would they or not like better? Most of them are like really pleasant to talk with. And I'm not just talking about the patients and everywhere, like in offices, in everywhere you go, like in the parks, that's just common. But you know, it's not a perfect place and there's some unpleasant people, but most of them in general, they are, you know, they're blessed, I would say that. Okay, So it's not so Southern hospitality, everybody is that it's the South is known to be people are friendly and warm. So that's what J speaking about. And as I said, some people, you know, people can be different in different parts of the world, but it, it, it definitely is known as a friendly place.
People are very warm, generally speaking, and friendly and. Okay, so Kelly's asking I'm watching from Jamaica being offered a I think it's a John from Texas as well. I'm currently awaiting my embassy interview date at Point, which I commence my license endorsement process. So Cana And if you are Connetics nurse, we have a whole license endorsement team that will be helping you with that process. And luckily enough, the license endorsement for Texas is not that. I mean, all license endorsements are as a process, but not that complicated. So our team can help you with that. And Frank is asking, is it possible to choose Houston as a location when registered with Connetics? So from here we have many clients all over Texas. Some are in Houston, and please apply to our website and we'd be happy to speak to you and see what your background is. And we're going to be the best fit. And but as Jay had said, you know, people talk about Houston as one of the most populous cities, but there are many places that are equally as great to live in, and I want to be one of them, which A-list. But. Jay what do you like about living in Beaumont? Oh, like I said, it's about 1.5. We're probably about 2 hours from Houston. It's not really like a city living, but it's near to Houston, you know what I mean? Like, you can just go at any time to Houston for like an hour and a half or 2 hours. Right? So it's kind of late. But at the same time, a city living well, it's also a landmark here because Beaumont, Texas, is also about 45 minutes from Louisiana. So we're like jumping off and on from Louisiana and Texas as well. So we're at the very southern eastern part of Texas, like I said, about 45 minutes to Louisiana. So it's a laid back kind of thing. But like I said, you can go at any time to Louisiana, to Houston for about 2 hours. So you kind of got the best of both worlds living in Beaumont.
We're living in a smaller place in in Texas. Let's talk a little bit about the cost of living and the taxes. And Rona, you mentioned that people come to Texas because it is easier to buy a house. And we're going to talk more specifically about housing in a few minutes. But can you talk a little bit about the Texas? What is different, what people might experience in Texas? What I can talk about Texas is, you know, if you experience living in a different state in the US, you know that the weather is quite shocking because when I used to live in California, I'm used to that cold weather and you know, having this Indian summer there in California for a week is already like, you know, like everybody is like, you know, feeling like, you know, where is this cold going to come back? So but when I moved here in Texas, I was like, am I in the Philippines? Because it was hot? I it's hot. And summer, we have a longer summer here in Texas compared to other states. So but when it comes to winter time, it's really it can really cold like, you know it even snowed in some parts of Texas as well so yeah, that's something that's quite different compared to other state. Yes. So it is warm but it can get really cold. I was in Texas, I think it was about a month ago, and it was just after you had what was it was like raining and ice like Ice said, what was it? I think it was sorry Jay exactly, exactly. I was there the week after that and it was pretty cold in Texas. So and that gives us an idea of the climate. And we and if we talk about the cost of living. Jay can you talk a little bit about what it's like in Beaumont even as opposed to Houston? Yeah, Houston and Beaumont, it's just nearby to each other.
The cost of living is pretty much the same. But I would say like the more it gets, it's a little higher here in Beaumont, Texas than in Houston. Some of the people here prefer to like stay in Houston. But on the fact that, you know, the mortgage is lower and for nurses as well, they they also found Houston us with lots of hospital. So that's a opportunity as well for nurses at the same time a little lower cost of living. And some people are also like working in Houston, a big hospitals in Houston at the same time living here in Beaumont like, you know, an hour and a half. Right. This is okay. But that in general, the cost of living is a lot lower. I haven't been to California, you know, as a resident or something, but I paid a lot of friends from California that they said, particularly in San Diego, I guess, and somewhere in L.A. they said like a 700,000 house in in L.A. or in San Diego, I'm not really sure. But the comparison between San Diego and L.A., but that pretty much it's really higher than the cost of living here in Beaumont or the market. Specifically, They said a 700,000 house here is equivalent to like, I guess, 300,000 house here in Texas. You've got a three bedroom house here in Texas for about $300,000.
And when you go to California, as far as I can remember what they said, it's costing about $700 for two bedroom house. So it's a lot different. You know, so so it's you have to consider those kinds of things when you choose a certain state. Yeah. And do your research because people might not realize how different housing, for example, or even Texas can be in the different states. And we've got some cost comparisons that really are quite eye opening when you look at the difference between living, for example, in San Francisco and Texas and the cost of living in Dallas is 40%, 45% lower than in San Francisco. And if you look at that housing costs, it's oh, and Miami and 14% lower in in Dallas and and between Miami and Dallas. And if you look at New York, well, the difference is the cost of living between New York and Dallas is 58% lower in Dallas than in New York, 80% higher in housing costs. And so there's a massive difference. And that's one of the many reasons that people and look at Texas as a great option to live in because it is just much more reasonable to live there. And you also only have federal tax. There is no state income tax.
Can you can you talk a little bit about the state income tax? Yeah, here we don't have a state tax, but we do have like city tax where, you know, when it's when it's income, income tax time, you'll see that you have depending on the city where you're living because you're paying for the school, for the city, the water and all, you know, all those things are included. So those are the county tax that they count, even though we don't have a state tax. But we do have that county tax that they that it's being added to when you're filing your income tax here in Texas. So it's high because for that reason. But we don't feel it much because our mortgage is set to this. We pick this type of mortgage where we have an escrow. So whenever we pay our monthly for our house, there is a bonds there that goes to our escrow account. So we don't feel that we're paying that much money. Whenever, you know, when it's time for filing our taxes. Okay. So that's a big plus of living in Texas. Everyone knows state income tax makes it very much more affordable as opposed to in California. I live in San Diego. Jamie mentioned San Diego and the taxes are very high and the housing is very expensive. In fact, 700,000 in San Diego. Jay I'm not even sure you would find maybe in certain locations you might find a house, but it's really, really expensive here to buy. And even to rent. So and there's a lot of benefits, therefore, to looking at Texas. And Nancy is asking, do you recruit from India? And Nancy, if you are born in India and with the Visa Bulletin, we can only help you if you had a previous petition. So if you were sponsored many years ago, we do we are able to recapture and I-140 and to sponsor. And if you happen to be married to somebody who is not Indian born India, unfortunately, these backlogged Indian channel back up on the Visa bulletin and we've done some shows in the past about the Visa bulletin. So and unfortunately, unless you are if have a previous petition or if you are married to somebody who was not born in India or China, we will not be able to do a green card for you at this time.
And we are hopeful that there will be legislation change. There's a massive demand for nurses in the United States. So we hopefully they'll be legislation change and then we can help any we would love to help any Indian born nurses or health care workers come to the United States. Nora is in Saudi and is asking, is it mandatory to take intake before applying? And so, Nora, we do have an intake scholarship. Unfortunately, right now it is temporarily full. We've had such a massive demand for our intake scholarship and that's where we working with Jay and IPASS to get a lot of nurses through the NCLEX and that you are welcome to apply and we have other options for you and to see how to get through your intake program NCLEX and process and Okay. Hey, we have and let's play some trivia, everybody. We're going to have some trivia and that is about Texas. Does anybody know? And if you do know, put this into the chat. Jay and Rona will know what is the Texas nickname? Is it the lone state? Is it Centennial State or is it the Evergreen State? If you know the answer to this question, please put it into the chat. I can just see everybody around the world going on their phones, Googling and whoever is going to be the first person to put it in the chat there we go. Rhonda says, the lone state.
Well done right, Rhonda, you are correct. M.A. has got a four, is it? Oh, everybody's got a yes, Correct. Jen. Leah, thank you for playing along, everybody. It is the Lone Star State. Okay, let's do one more trivia. It's so fun. And okay, so this is an interesting one. A carbonated soft drink that was created in the 1888 1880s by pharmacist Charles Alderton in Waco, Texas. Which soft drink was that? Is it Pepsi Cola Center or Dr. Pepper? Anybody know the answer to that one? Is it Cola, Fanta? Dr. Pepper, Rona J Do you know the answer? Dr. Oh, there we go. And there we go. Rhonda Hazes And Abby says it is. Dr. Pepper There you go. I always mean, if I see Dr. Pepper, I always think of a cute story that we had on onwards and upwards a few years ago when we were talking to an international nurse and, and he just arrived in the United States and a patient say to him, can you please and get me Dr. Pepper? And he ran around the hospital looking for a doctor called Dr. Pepper. When you didn't realize there was actually a drink, it was a soda. So thank you for taking with us, everybody. All right. So we spoken about the cost of living in the taxes. And let's talk a little bit more about what's fun to do in in Texas.
Where have you traveled in Texas? And I think we've got some pictures and of Jay and erroneous travels in Texas. And so maybe you can share with us some of the stories of where you've traveled and in that area right now. Great. What's your favorite place to visit in Texas? I actually everything in Texas is my favorite because it's always fun to, you know, discover things that you never know that, oh, Texas has this, Texas has that. So went to this. My story is that, you know, enjoying the scenery. You know you could actually go, oh, actually, I mean it's Aqui last weekend but you shoot for the weekly go thing and that was like, we're going to stop at the island, which is about 6 hours away from us. So that's where we're going to spend our spring break and another thing on here is there's a lot of the park. So summertime is coming. So they're going to be alone again. So it's really fun for the kids to go to those water WATERPARKS And we do have an indoor water park which is in Texas. So any time of the year, you know, this is the family that has it. And I know if you're up or if you like going to data, you know, there's a spot there where what you call this, I, I forget the name, but there's a three spot there also in Dallas that where you could go and it's always fun here also during Halloween because you know you could go through and there's a lot of farmers here does like pumpkin farms Yeah you know you could it's Texas big as you know we have a lot of countryside here in Texas so you could always bring your kids there and, you know, enjoy the farm like living with all this animals that you've never seen before or never seen in any other state in that in the U.S.. So, yeah, it's always fun.
There's always a lot of things to deal with, with, you know, with kids and even death, you know, even though you don't have kids, you know, it's always fun. So hard to pick a favorite, right? I have got so many favorites. Okay. What is it Jay knowing about that. J what is your and what is your favorite thing to do for fun in Texas? As to me, I love to like eat barbecue, you know, Texas barbecue. So I love Austin. I've been to Austin for like, like many times, probably about four times. Austin is about 3 hours, 4 hours travel from here. So I love barbecue. That's a that's a barbecue, you know, restaurants in Austin. So, yeah, that's the best place for a Texas barbecue, I would say. So Jay’s foodie. Texas is known for barbecue and also for chili. Can you speak a little bit about chili? Do you like the chili? And is it different in different parts of Texas? The opinion, Yeah, yeah. I love to eat the hot and spicy food, but yeah, I love it everywhere here in for, you know, like just to know every, not every morning. But usually when I come from work, like I work nights every weekends. So after work I go to a Mexican store and then I don't buy groceries there. I found the food fresh in the grocery store in a Mexican, something like a wet market or something. Everything is fresh there, including their food. Like it's really authentic Mexican food. So I love that place so I can find lots of new food in that specific Mexican restaurant. And at the same time, a store. You're making me hungry Jay.
Come and taste that delicious food that you're going to hear. It's big time. Yeah. You know, everything here is big. So when you go to the restaurant, big plate with loads of foods. So, yeah, I mean, you're going to enjoy the foods here in Texas. And also it's a crawfish season, so a lot of families, you know, a lot of people go see this crawfish I saw to eat to eat crawfish because, you know, crawfish is it's known also here in Texas. So lots to see and lots to do. What about finding ethnic foods? So, you know, often I mean, I'm from South Africa originally came here 23 years ago and it's for me, I'm the first one of the first things that I did when I got here is look for other South African foods and that we could buy here in the United States. And can you buy it? Because in Texas, I would imagine so. Growing up. Yes. Yes. Just like any other cities, you know, like just like any other state. There's also a lot of ethnics restaurant here in Texas, specifically in Houston. If you're looking for a South African food, there's a lot of South African restaurant here.
There's also groceries. If you're looking for like a Mediterranean, there's also Mediterranean places where you could go if you're looking, you know, a Chinese restaurant is always going to be in every state, wherever you go, ever, every series. There's always like a Chinatown And so, yeah, if you're looking for like a Russian food as well, there's also a Russian restaurant that's done pretty much everything. China, you just have to like search for it and you know, Google it and there's always, you know, grocery stores or ethnic restaurants here in Texas, not only in Houston, but everywhere, especially the big, really, really fun. It's a fun place to eat. And the Portia, as Rona says, everything is big in Texas, so the portions are big. So. Oh, my goodness. Every Time that I've been there eating the delicious barbecue or the chili or the seafood, you come home, you feel very satisfied. So I like to see and do. If we look at the map of Texas, it's kind of right in the middle of the country. So it's really kind of convenient to look at the other places in the United States to travel. And. Jay where have you traveled that is close by? Well, maybe not so close to Texas that.
Can you tell us a little bit about that? Not so close to tech. You mean like out-of-state travel or something out of state? It's weird. Where have you traveled out of state? And you mentioned Louisiana. What was that like? Louisiana is kind of more laid back then. And then Texas, you can see a lot of swamps. And, you know, those are kinds of best moments in Louisiana. And it's always the same with Texas, though. I went also to I came to travel also in Colorado. It's a lot different state than Texas. It's a lot colder in there. We went about probably, but that was before pandemic 2019, and we also went to California in San Diego. And that's a nice place. That's a very nice place. And I have lots of friends as well in San Diego. In L.A., I've been to L.A. as well, and I've been planning to go to San Francisco, but not now. Not until my wife is coming over here. Probably this this year. So I'll be traveling a lot this year and whatever. And that's as far as I can remember. So lots of fun places to see it. To see it go, you need to come and visit me in San Diego. Jay When you come back to San Diego, time, Rhona, what are some of your favorite places that you have traveled outside of Texas? So we've been to Louisiana just because we just want to see like how it is like in Louisiana, especially new Orleans and then usually Louisiana is also one of our stopover area. When we're when we go to Florida, actually, Florida is where all the Texas goes. If you're looking for a really nice beach, you know, for summertime, because it has a very nice fine sand that looks like a sugar. So usually we go to Destin, Florida. So that's one of my favorite place outside Texas, because for that reason then and also, of course, California will always be in my heart because I came from I came from California specifically in San Francisco. So we always go there whenever we want to visit my relatives.
So I already know my way around there as well. So I'm always the driver whenever we go there because, you know, we don't need a Google map to go here and there. And plus Napa is there. You know, if you you're up for a winery type of scenery and the coast, the Pacific cause is just right there. You want to get your app or, you know you know, just to relax and enjoy the scenery of the ocean, the Pacific Ocean and also the places that we went to as well is Las Vegas. But I'm not like a type of person that likes to gamble. So what we did, we stay in in, in we stayed in Las Vegas, we rented a car, then we drove to Utah to see this national park in Utah, which is, you know, my kids really enjoyed it because it was really phenomenal. It was really phenomenal. The National parks there, like the Zion Park and the Bryce National Park. So it was one of the my favorite places to go to and the Grand Canyon as well. Oh, my goodness. So many places to see, so much to do. And I think the great thing about it takes us, as we said, is that it's right the middle of the country. So it's really easy to travel to all these amazing places that Rona and Jay are telling us about. It's not that far. And, you know, to travel because it takes us is right there in the middle. And. All right. Let's talk a little bit about transportation in Texas. I'm just watching the clock and we've got so much more to talk about. And it's talk about transportation. And Jay, can you tell us a little bit about and do does everybody have to have their own car in Texas? Is they public transportation? Is it Uber and Lyft where you live? Are they trans busses? And tell us a little bit about that. Yeah, it's not like California or other cities in the in the US where there's lots of Uber, for example, like, you know, New York or L.A. or San Francisco here in Texas, you can have Uber. However, Uber is going to expensive. It's a lot more expensive than the L.A. San Francisco or New York. You have to have your own car. That's said you have to have your own car.
The first thing that I did is to get a license. When I came here, like, well, I came here 2016, so as a tourist, so I got a license by that time, so I just had to renew it. And then when they came back in 2018 as an immigrant. So yeah, the thing is you have to have your license because you have to drive, you know, you have to have your own car. Lucky me that, you know, I have my sister that she has as a, an extra car. So. Well, I was the driver by then. My sister don't like driving like freeways. I do driving freeways because she's kind of scared. So right now I'm still living with my sister and my family, with my parents. And yeah, you have to have your own transportation here and for us and advice for those who are coming here in the US. So you have to get or I guess you can get your international license and then get validated from the DPS so we can use that one while waiting for your permanent license here, here in Texas. So it's a necessity here. So you can see busses, but very we're and that the schedule is very limited and taxis I don't ever see taxis here in our place in Beaumont. I'm not sure about Houston. No. But yeah, there's no taxes in place so you have to have your own car. So it's really a necessity driving is in be as much as you can. Like I said, you have to get your driving lessons back in the Philippines. If you came from the Philippines, an international license and get MULLAINATHAN here. Yeah it's really helpful if you have driven before because coming to the United States, there are many places in the United where you just have to have a car. They might be some busses, some public transportation, you know, maybe like in Houston, you might find more than in Beaumont, for example. But by driving and having your car is really a very big deal for anyone coming to Texas. And Rona, can we talk a little bit about schooling and what advice do you have for any parents bringing their kids to the United States? I know you've seen hundreds of nurses come to the United States as an onboard inspiration.
As for Connetics, and can you talk a little bit about the school system and what parents would need to know about how things work here in the United States? I mean, choosing a school for your kids, you need to also consider the location where you're going to live because, you know, just like any other states, it depends on where your house is zoned at. But for 4 hours since we got the support from our relatives, so they were able to tell us where is the safe place and where's the good school board for our kids. So that's where we bought our house. There's also some websites where you could look at, which is the great schools that or where you get, you know, search for the good schools that are zoned to your chosen place where you're going to secure your housing. So that's where you going to go as well. And yeah, there's a lot of resources online. You just have to really like do your, you know, lots of research about it and search about the cities. You know, where is the safest, you know, a safe place where know to live. Most likely in the north side of every city. That's where you know, where you know, like north side of the city where the safe place at where you could, you know, find your housing as well. And also, you need to think about the school system here in the U.S., Of course, you know, like just like here in Texas, we start from August. That is the school year started. And yeah, I mean, there's a lot of activities as well that schools provide to our kids. So that's also one thing that, you know, they need to look at as well. You know, extracurricular activities. Yeah. So I think and one thing that's really important for parents is to do your research, as Rhona said, and Rona will put some of those websites into the chat for anyone who's interested with kids of how to understand how school zones work and what are some of the things that you need to look at in order to make the best decision for your kids? And moving on to housing, I know, Jay, you spoke a little bit about the cost of housing and how that might be different in different states.
Can you talk a little bit about in Texas how much a house might cost and also how much an apartment might cost to rent? Your apartment is a lot cheaper than the house. So an apartment, for instance, like a one bedroom apartment, would cost about probably about a thousand or 1200, because I inflation, I guess for the past two, three years or three years, it went up probably 1000 to 1200. So it increased. I mean, an average house, if you're getting a house here are costs for example, like it's usually like 2 to 3 bedrooms. Most of the time it's three bedrooms. The cost of house is about $300,000. So that's a lot of money. So if you are planning to stay here as much as you can, you have to live in an apartment. You know, this is a spread. My advice and it depends upon not, of course, upon your salary. Bill, we nurses have higher salaries. No, but it doesn't mean that you can buy this. You can buy that. And you know, those kinds of things, right? Amazon, there's lots of that. But as much as you can, you have to like be financially strategic in terms of deciding what to buy or something. But as to me, I would prefer like staying in an apartment for a lower cost than a house because if you're going to buy a three, two, two, three bedroom house for a 300,000, most likely you're going to pay for a month's work, which you pay. It's about 3000 as well. So it's like 300,000, 3000 a month. That includes the insurance that's and everything. So that's a lot different from a 3000 and a thousand apartment. So but are already like have a stable job. And I guess you can also buy your own house. I think that's great advice. Jay is really to try and keep your expenses low, especially when you first arrive in the in the United States, because there's a lot of things to see and to buy.
And people can get themselves into trouble where they want, you know, they see these beautiful homes or and lots of nice shiny things to buy. And it can be very risky to get yourself into financial problems because you don't really realize how expensive it can be. Rona I think you have a few wifi issues and jumping in and out, but I and I'm just curious, in Houston, how do the prices of houses and apartments to rent compare to Beaumont as an example right now China Well actually back there you when stock 13 that the apartments will range from about 700 to 900 when you still live in an apartment. That's how much we were paying. But when we bought our house, it was only like less than $200,000. So until now we were paying like less than $2,000 a month for our mortgage. But now the housing is getting higher because a lot of people coming from other states are moving here in Texas. So but you could still find a house that would cost like around $300,000 and and above. So that would still probably would range about $2,000 and up for monthly, including the insurance. So it's still you know, it's still affordable. Yeah. So and that, as you said in the beginning, is one of the main reasons people like to come to Texas because it is still affordable to buy a house or even just to rent an apartment way more than many other states. Why were we at the question? I think this is the last question we were able to take today. Does one need to buy a new car or can one start with a cheaper pre-owned car then upgrade later and after one has settled down? Why? We I would definitely suggest that you start with a cheaper car. Rona and Jay, I don't know if you agree with that, but my advice would be to go through to spend the least that you can as long as it's a safe and reliable car until you actually have learned how to budget and kind of get into the rhythm financially of living and working in the United States. And I see both Jay and Ronan nodding their heads in agreement to that one. And okay, so to finish off and Rana, what would you say is your best advice to anyone who's coming to live and work in Texas? Final words of advice.
My best advice, sorry. My best advice is learn about the city where once you decided that, okay, I'm going to move to that city, learn about it, find out everything, the resources that that the city can offer you if you have your in your family. Like what I said earlier, do your research about finding a house that is zoned to a good school. And if you do have a relative, that's a plus because they have you get that support. They know what the is like. They know what you know, where that a good location for you to buy your house or rent an apartment. Consider all of those take all those advice as if you do have a brand that's telling you this and that that you know you know, take those advice and see what's the best option that you could go for. I mean, you know, it doesn't hurt to it doesn't hurt to live in a new place. It's always a learning process to find out what this the city or the place could offer you. You know, it's not always, you know, there will be good and bad experience, but at least you're learning. You're learning about the city, about the place, you know. But after a few months, you'll get the hang of it. You'll get used to living in there is whether wise is the food wise, the people actually here in Texas, all the all the people here are very friendly. So I don't have any problem with that. So, yeah, I mean, do your research. Yeah, we will love it. That's great advice. Gonna research, research, research. People don't realize how big the United States is and how big even the state like Texas is. Things can be very different. So really, do your research, ask questions If you don't have family or friends there and you, a Connetics nurse or health care worker speak to you.
Onboarding patients. We have so many resources, so many bodies that we can put you in touch with. They might not be your but your own family, but they can be your chosen family. And Jay, final word from you. What do you wish someone had told you before you immigrated to the United States, specifically to Texas? What do you wish someone had told you before you arrived here? I think the what's gotten better? I didn't hear it. It was I so I said, what do you wish someone had told you before you arrived here? What do you wish you had known beforehand? Oh, I would say like the financial strategy about, you know, living here in the US. I guess it's not something about the Texas, you know, absolutely. It's applicable to everywhere here in the US. So the financial aspect here is kind of a thing. So you have to learn a lot of things about the finances here in Texas and I didn't realize it when I came here. Just a little story, though, but some person, you know, some random person approached me and then he said he's actually a doctor after a 30 minute thought. And I just found out that he's a doctor, you know, in our place. And he's a Filipino. He speaks our own language. And he said, like where you came from in the Philippines? And then he said, like, Oh, yeah, I came from this problem. So 30 minutes after I did, I know that he was a doctor in our place, but well, he was talking about the financial strategy here in the US, and then he even said that I did I did not even, you know, focus on my medical expertise. Instead, I focused on the financial strategy about the U.S. and then I realized that that's really correct.
So you really have to be equipped not really equipped or you don't need to be an expert, but at least you have to have an advice for your finance, specially if you're working, you're a working individual here in the US. And then it doesn't mean that, you know, you're a nurse and then you're getting a higher salary and then you can, like I said earlier, you can buy this and you can buy that. There's no you know, you don't have to be luxurious to buy all those things. You have to save, you know, you have to save. And like I said, it's not really hard, though, but it's at least a an advantage for you to be literate in your finances here in the US. I guess. Thank you, Jay. I love that you brought that up. And I think that that is such a valuable advice for anybody who's immigrating, whether it's to Texas or to any other state, is to educate yourself and become financially literate, to learn the system in the United States, and how to best position yourself financially. Great advice, Jay and thank you for sharing that, that very interesting story. And I would advise all of our viewers to watch some of the onward and upward shows that we've done on financial literacy. In fact, we have a show coming up on budgeting and very, very important to learn how the system works and how to educate yourself and learn how best you can live your American dream, like DiBona and Jay. So thank you for joining us, Rhona and Jay, Thank you for watching us. To our viewers all around the world. Before you leave, please remember upcoming shows we have on the Connetics onwards and upwards shows every Friday.
Next Friday, we have next generation in place. Very big change coming up on the 1st of April. Very important for those nurses. I know we had a question about in place today to educate yourself about the next generation in place and how that's going to impact those nurses who have not yet passed the NCLEX exam on the 17th of March. We have our usual segment, Immigration Q&A with our legal experts on the 24th of March. We are doing a show on Pearson PTE, which is one of the new English tests that the CGFNS has allowed nurses and health care workers to do. So the whole show is going to be about PTE. And on the 31st we have state side and we're going to be talking about what it's like to live in Pennsylvania. And I would encourage everybody to download our free guidebook. We have a guidebook and it's in the chat with all everything that you need to know about. Every state takes us included, and you can go to our website and download that. On the 7th of April, we're going to talk more specifically about children being children to the US. And on the 14th, as Jay had said, speaking about financial literacy, we have a show on budgeting. When you arrive on the 21st, we have a client showcase 28 an immigration Q&A, and I'll offer a talk show once a month on the 14th of March in Heroes and the 11th. A lot of information about next generation in place also don't, forget our Connetics college every Monday.
Check the time zone converter in your time on steam parties aspire and you'll see Jay again and on from IPASS and Swoosh and Niner is talking doing NCLEX classes and English classes this is free information for nurses. It's our way and our partners way of paying it forward for our nurses. And last but not least, the Connetics initiatives. And so remember, all international nurses or health care workers going through Connetics get a free English scholarship. We have our NCLEX scholarship, a $1,000 referral bonus for our podcast Nursing in America. And we are doing stateside right now so and so that can be really interesting to listen to the Connetics podcast Nursing in America, we have a direct nurse aid program onwards and upwards, Connetics College and lots of Allied needs as well. Thank you so much for joining us around the world. Thank you to Rona. Thank you to Jay. And we will see you next week onwards and upwards. Everybody, have a great weekend. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Bye.