Life in Florida as a Registered Nurse
Hi everybody and welcome. It's Friday so it must be Connetics USA weekly show onwards and upwards. Everything that a healthcare If you need to know about living and working in the United States, I am your host, Tanya Freedman, CEO of Connetics USA. If you are a healthcare worker interested in coming to work in the United States, please apply to Connetics USA and our team are waiting on hand to speak to you to see how we can make your American dream a reality. Today's topic is living as a nurse in Florida. This is going to be a really fun, exciting show that Florida is a very, very popular destination not just for international healthcare workers, but also for Americans. So today we're going to learn about what it's like to live in Florida, what the climate like what you can do for fun in Florida, what the food is like, what the taxes are, like, what the cost of living is like housing, schooling, culture, lots and lots of topics coming. So if you have any questions, please feel free to put those into the chat. And I will ask your questions to our guests who will be joining us shortly and they will be telling us about their experiences of living and working in Florida. So today I'm joined by Nina and Anu Hi, Anu.
Hi Hello. Good morning Miss Tanya. Hi. Welcome. We are excited to see you here. And I know that our viewers all around the world that are watching you now. And so excited to learn from your experience about living and working in Florida. If you are watching today, please put your name into the chat and let us know where you are watching from it's so fun to see everybody around the world posting where they living and any questions that you might have for Nina and Anu. So Nina and Anu and please go ahead and give us a little background and introduction about yourself. Let's start with Nina. Okay. Hi, good morning, everyone. First of all, I would just like to thank Miss Tanya Kim and the rest of the team for inviting me in the show. So it's really an honor to be a part of this event. My name is Nina Fernandes. I've been a nurse for over 15 years and I've started my earlier years as a critical care nurse back home in the Philippines a couple of years later and moved to the Middle East. I ventured into cardiology so I specialized on cardiovascular nursing and was trained in the cath lab. And six years later, I'm here now in the US so I working in the cath lab specifically here in Florida and in one of the most prestigious and largest institutions here in Florida, which is advent health.
Thank you, Nina. Well, we are excited to hear about your story. And I think an interesting perspective also because you know you came from the Philippines lived in another country then came to the US we're going to dig into see how things were different for you moving from different countries and how the US is different from other places in the world. And introduce yourself not new we honor we don't hear you I knew I think it's having a little technical hitch. We don't hear you on I think you need to turn up your volume. Maybe I know you can you can log in and come back. Log out and come back in if you want to do that. So this is live everybody a live conversation with Nina and with our new And while our news giant joining us again I see that Thomas Mani is saying after using will you will twice and feeling I never knew I could ever pass the NCLEX yay. Congrats Thomas Marley achievement. And today I'm really happy. I just passed my NCLEX on my third attempt with great help from Dr. Luther. So congrats on as well. Congrats. Yeah, and if you are looking for a position we'd be happy to help you. We have positions all over the United States. So please apply online and our team are waiting on hand to see how we can help you with your you're fulfilling your American dream. Hi Mohammed from Ghana, Jen Rosa from Singapore Stella Silla from Philippines earner from South Africa, my home country.
She is tagging her friends thank you for tagging your friends. She onwards and upwards is about paying it forward nurses helping nurses. So thank you for doing that Glory's from Kuwait Edison. And from Kuwait our lien a regular viewer welcome IBM from Jamaica. Lori's asking, please Connetics, how many years of a contract Do you offer? So glory just to answer that question. Connetics is direct hire which means that you are not employed or sponsored by Connetics, you are employed or sponsored by the hospital system. So it's a permanent full time position. And typically you will have a three year commitment. So it's not a contract. And the big advantage of direct hire is you get paid the same as an American nurse, which is what Nina and our new are experiencing right now. On your let's try again. We can't hear you on I'm not sure why I'm just having a technical hitch. And maybe our team can help you backstage. And so let's maybe start off with Nina while Anya is trying to sort out her and her sound. And Nina, did you always want to come to the United States?
Yes, indeed, it has always been a plan for me ever since I decided to become a nurse. So my sister, I do have relatives as well, working in the nursing field. And they've been living in the US for a couple of years now. So it's good to have family as well, here in the United States. That's definitely helpful makes it a much easier transition. Did you always want to come to Florida? Yes. Florida has been always one of those states that I've always wanted to go to because it reminds me of a home in the Philippines. It has a warm, sunny climate. I love the weather here. And yeah, I also love the place. It has a lot of tourist attractions. The beaches as well reminds me of home. So it's like closer to home to me. We just want Florida is one of the states that I prefer. So it was it was an easy transition. And yes, let's try again. Third time's the charm. Hi, good morning, everyone. All right. All right, guys. I'm gonna go ahead and introduce myself. Yes, my name is Arnaud. I am from India. I came to United States in 2019. And thank you very much for Tanya for giving me this opportunity to share my journey with you guys. Tanya has been always since I can remember I started with Connetics.
They were wonderful. The team is wonderful. And I'm happy to be here to share my journey and experience with you guys. Thank you honor. Well, we excited that you are here and we are grateful that your audio is working. So tell us a little bit about your American dream. Did you always want to come to America? And Nina said she did. But did you always want to come to America and why specifically Florida? Yes. So since I graduated from India, I had the plan to work abroad. And us was my dream destination. Not necessarily. So first, when I applied for us, I was actually applying for Arizona, but due to some issues, I had to choose another state and I when I was given the option I picked Florida because like Nina, I was working in Middle East for some time. And I like the weather. I'm someone who loves warm weather rather than cold. So I opted out any you know, northern state, and I choose Florida because the weather was something that I can adjust well in I love you know, of course the tropical climate, the rains. And in general, just the warmth of the of the stadium. That's why I came to Florida.
Okay, so that's a definitely a good reason because it's more what you used to do so easily easier to adapt. And you know, had you ever been to the US before you came here when you immigrated? No is actually my first time here. This year in the US. I've always wanted to go as a tourist. So I actually arrived here a couple of months ago, around last April. So it's been really overwhelming at first, but it's been a whole changing experience for me. So yeah, it's my very first time. There's never been here before. Had you ever been to the United States before? And was there anything that surprised you ever been? Seemed like? Yes. Yeah, exactly. Like Nina. I have never been here before or Yes. never traveled to United States. Yeah, my first time. Okay, so I think this is very common for many international healthcare workers. It's expensive to travel. So it might be your very first time to come to the United States. So we're going to hit play a little fun game, Florida trivia and please viewers that are watching. Feel free to jump in as you learn more about Florida. Does anybody know and put into the chat if you know what Florida's nickname is, is that the Sunshine State, the Lone Star State or the Garden State? Who knows what that is, which is the Florida's nickname.
If you know what it is, please put it into the chat. And you'll see who the winner of this trivia question is. Is that the Sunshine State Lone Star State or the Garden State? Ah, Roderick Scott at Sunshine State. Florida. Roderick has 237 days of sun. Well done, Roderick. We've got another one coming up. And what is the capital of Florida? Does anybody know this one? Orlando. Tallahassee, Miami? Anybody know? Oh, I see. We've got quite a few people Roderick, we beat them but we're a nation. Tin sunny Blake. She tastes also said sunshine steak. So let's do so the next one. So Roderick thinks it's Miami. Anyone? The capital Blake also things Miami. Let's have one more earnest thing sunshine. Oh, Johanna saying Tallahassee. Let's put up the winner. When it's actually the winner. Let's put up the what it is. There we go. So, Julian, you were correct. And Sunny. Not Sunny was not correct. Yeah, Sunny was correct. Sorry. So um, Tallahassee is the answer. So some fun trivia there. So you can learn a little bit more about Florida. So Nina's tell us exactly where you are in Florida. I know we've got a map of Florida. And let's show let's tell the viewers where exactly you are in Florida.
I'm actually situated in Lake Wales. So I guess not everyone has heard about this small city. It's a very small town in Polk County, in Florida. So it has a lot of tourist attractions. It's more of you know, you see all the old Florida. So there are a lot of places here that's been dated for like, hundreds of years or centuries. So it's a very laid back town. You know, the cost of living here is a lot cheaper compared to living in the bigger cities in Florida. So yeah, it's a very laid back and I love the place. Okay, thank you, Nina. So where is it exactly on the map? And is it what is it near to? It's in the southern part of Florida, if everyone is familiar with Tampa, so it's just probably like an hour away. So make wheels is still not you know, popular. It's not in a popular place at all. But it's a very small town. And the nearest place that you could find is in Tampa. And it's also a couple of hours away to Orlando. So an hour drive an hour strike during that map. It's kind of on that West Coast closer to that. The west side, right, Nina? Yes. In the south southern part south. Yes. Okay. All right. So I know where are you in Florida? Which I am actually. So I'm in Orlando, which is like Nina said, she's an hour away from me. If you can see on the map towards the Daytona Beach, you see just below Daytona Beach and Titusville. over to your left hand side is Orlando.
Okay. So Nina, if you have you been to other cities in Florida, how is where you live different to other cities in Florida? Yes, indeed. When I first landed here, I was in Orlando. And then we had our orientation program, it was conducted in Altamonte. Springs. It's another small city. Compared to where I'm staying right now in Lake Wales, of course, it's more well developed. The bigger cities are more progressive, you see a lot of taller buildings, a lot of skyscrapers and a lot more establishments that you can find here in Lake Wales, only a very only very few are there but um, mostly, all you can see are, you know, the big lakes and the different what do you call this, like the different tree it's more of like trees and lakes compared to bigger cities where you see that, you know, it's more of well constructed buildings, and you see the malls. So it's really very different. It's more like a rural area, like it's very laid back. Yeah.
Okay, that's interesting. So, because for many people, if you've never been to Florida before, like Nina and Anu, you might think that Florida looks a certain way and might not realize it that it really can be different in different parts of Florida. So Nina, it sounds like it's a much more rural and country outdoor country kind of living then maybe living in a big city. And who how, how is it different in Orlando? So yes, Orlando is it's a city I guess. It's especially where I'm living. It's like 10 minutes from the airport and closes cities like Nina said, I have not been to Tampa where the nearest cities or towns are like Daytona. I have been to Daytona St. Pete. But yeah, Orlando is basically more of cities and skyscrapers. We have a downtown Orlando area where all the you know, offices and clubs. All of those attractions are but there are parts of Florida which are part of Orlando, which is a bit of countryside, but where I'm located right now, it's in the main city.
Okay, more on the city side. All right. So we're taking a question from the chat Asum is asking what is the cost of life in safe community which is not too expensive will expensive and suitable for Muslims and will be near to Halal supermarket and restaurants? Which part of Florida can meet that Bob standards? Nino What would you say to Asum, who's probably maybe hasn't been to Florida before? And what is the kind of the cost of living in a safe area? That might be there might be a Muslim community. Any ideas to share with Asum from the UAE? Well, for me, yes, sorry. For me, I only came here for a couple of months in Florida. So I'm not yet familiar on which specific cities are as what he asked. But all I know is for Florida, it's very culturally diverse. So it doesn't really matter on which city you are residing at. Some of my colleagues are also there's a huge diversity of the workforce here. I'm here in Florida. So even my colleagues as well were from different countries. So yeah, I don't think there's any specific city, even the whole Florida itself, the state itself, it's very culturally diverse. And it would be very easy for you to adapt, if ever you decided to stay in Florida. So there's no problem at all.
Thank you. Thank you, Nina. So there you go. Awesome. And very multicultural and probably many Muslim communities all over Florida. I know anything to add to Assam. Would you want me to say for Essence question. Yeah, and I agree with Nina said, the town. The city itself is very culturally diverse. We see people from all walks of life from all religion, part of the world in if you walk to a grocery supermarket, you will see everyone you know from all part of the world. And yes, like you asked our same. There are a lot of restaurants I have been to a lot of Mediterranean and Middle East restaurants here and yes, there is supermarkets where they sell Halal meats as well. You just have to look for them like for me, especially and I can and of course Nina can agree as well like there are supermarkets which are specific to like Indian supermarket or Philippines. And same as with Latin, in their supermarkets where they sell halal meat as well. And I know there is couple of them over at OB t where I go most like a couple of times. The owner of that shop is from I think he is from Iran. But yes, there are shops available. And it's a very, very safe community. And like you asked if you find the apartment or a house a little bit in a, you know, the places where the rent is expensive or I can say like little decent. It's more sick, those communities are more safe.
Thank you, Andy, thank you for adding that for us some and any other viewer who maybe had a similar question. And Nina what surprised you about coming to live in Florida? Was there anything that you didn't expect when you arrived here? About one Oh, yes. For me, I do know Florida is a tropical state. But I didn't expect the summer here to be like super as well because I've spent a few years in Dubai so Middle East it's very it's actually known to be you know, during the summer days summer season to be hot but in Florida it is as well. Um, what surprised me as well as also, you know, on the better side would be the lot of tourist attractions available. And back then I didn't know that they had a lot of beaches and some freshwater springs. So I'm glad that you know there's so many places that you can go to When you're reciting in Florida, it's a sign that from working here, it's also like a vacation as well, because there's so many theme parks, and so many places that you could explore. I myself, I've been here for a couple of months, I haven't really fully explored Florida yet. So I'm still looking forward to explore the state.
That's fabulous Nina. And I think for anybody who's not that familiar with Florida, and when we were looking at the pictures that were just shared, I mean, there's just so much to do there. There's so much so many fun activities to do, which is really, really, really wonderful. And I knew I know, there were a lot of things to like about Florida, is there anything that you don't like? Um, so I think, I mean, like I said, you know, I like the weather, the rain, and the scenery is just so beautiful. Everywhere you look around, it's just trees and lakes, oh, my god, beaches. Everything is good, like, but again, you know, hurricane, it's something that you cannot control. But again, I don't have anything that I say I would dislike a little bit about the driving. The you know, those drivers are everywhere. So, other than that, everything is good.
Okay, so it sounds like you're really happy there and really enjoying it. Do you? Have you both mentioned the beaches? Do you have a favorite beach that you've been to so far? Um, there's a Vero Beach. It's just one hour away from our place in Lake Wales. So there are a lot of beaches actually in different cities. So and they are each of those beaches are probably like one hour to two hour drive away. So yeah, as you can see in this in the photos, there are white sand beaches, and Miami Beach has also been very well known for that. And yeah, it's the beaches are beautiful. And when it's swimming, there is also a it's more like, the sea is warm. So it's very suitable for swimming and to enjoy as well. Okay, so lots to see and do and lots of beauty. And you in speaking about the climate, you did mention the hurricane. So for somebody who's sitting outside of the United States, and they see these things on TV, it can be very scary, and very worrying. And tell us a little bit about the hurricanes that the latest one that happened hurricane in and did you experience that in Orlando? Or do you have anything to share with any of the viewers about hurricanes?
Yes, of course. So yes, during the hurricane Yan, we were, you know, it was level three, level four. So we were alerted, and we did a lot of preparation in the hospital as well at home. And yes, you know, like they say, get your groceries for a couple of days in advance and make sure you're not driving during those strong winds and staying at home, making sure you have enough supplies. So we did all that preparation. Luckily, where I stayed, didn't have a lot of flood issues, as well as any power outage. So I was good. But yes, in the hospital, the teams who stayed back, they had enough support from the hospital as well as from the community. Yeah, it was it was not that bad. As I was seeing on the on the TV on the picture. Some areas were hit very, very, I wouldn't say they were worse. But the part where I'm Orlando didn't get hit so much. We just had a lot of wind and rain and just flooding on the roof.
Okay, thank you, Andrew. And I think you know, what you see on TV, I mean, it can feel very scary when you see those pictures. And it's certainly not something you know, it is something to consider in living in Florida. But from my understanding, it's really something that's kind of part of life. And what I've learned for many people who live in Florida is you just need you learn to prepare for it. What was that experience like for you? For me, um, during that time, it was my very first hurricane. And unluckily you know, it has been that that hurricane Ian has been considered one of the worst hurricanes ever to hit Florida. So it was a whole new experience for me. I was on mat leave during that time. So since I was situated in Polk County, Polk County was one of the counties including the list, we're in the government actually considered those counties to be on a state of emergency. So you know, my husband and I do have a two month old son that time we were in that prepared as well. So we decided to temporarily head to Georgia, just to stay there for the meantime because We don't know where the hurricane will be hitting, you know, initially it was predicted to hit Tampa, but unfortunately, it hit other cities. So that's one thing as well. So we just wanted to make sure you know, we're all safe.
And we were praying that this place that we were staying wouldn't be, you know, to it, we wouldn't be hit so much or they wouldn't be so much destruction. Luckily, Lake Wales was fair, and there wasn't much any damage to our area. And one thing I've also learned in Florida, despite of them having so many hurricanes, Florida has been known, you know, for their disaster preparedness, they really do know how to act. So they do have a plan, they do have several programs and how to immediately intervene or to act on whenever a hurricane will either be coming or has landed in Florida. So they're very third. Yeah, very organized as well.
That's very good to hear. And I'm sure very reassuring for many of us who have never experienced something like that. And I think if we think about it, wherever you live in the world is going to be something. I mean, I live in California, here we have earthquakes, you know, if you live in the northeast, you can have snow storms, if you live in the Midwest, you can have tornadoes, is there's probably always going to be something but I think the one thing that at least is a little bit of a reassurance with hurricanes is that you do have warning, so you can wear it like you didn't mean I moved and you know moved temporarily to Georgia. Yes. Okay. So we've got tests watching from Kenya Glory's asking do you post nurses to Texas? Yes, Laurie. We have positions all over the United States. Texas is one of them also a very popular destination. And when it's from Malaysia, and Roderick from London, and Glory's asking, please, since you offer direct hire, do you also support once the person arrived in the US until he or she is settled in Satori? That's a good question. Because it's a huge transition. Nina's nodding her head. United States is a lot of things to learn. Right. You know, what was the hardest thing when you arrived in the beginning, when you came to Florida?
Well, there's one thing that's been challenging as well, and I'm still working on it. It's driving. I didn't have any driver's license since back home in the Philippines. So that's one thing I'm working on, it's essential to learn to learn how to drive here, it's very important as well. So yeah, that's, I mean, I drove in South Africa, but we drive on the other side of the road in South Africa. So it was so scary to me to drive to learn to drive here in the United States. I know what was been the biggest challenge when you came when you first arrived in Florida. Um, so again, I came all by myself. No family, no friends, I had no one here. So I had to, you know, it was a little scary, because I have no one to actually guide me to. But yes, from advent health, we get a lot of help, as in settling in getting all the, you know, stuff that we need to start on. But most challenging was probably just feeling away from home, finding everything, sometimes on my own. Just like supermarkets or, again, like Nina for a month, I didn't have a car because I mean, I had the license, but to switch it to international license and actually buy a car. So for a couple of weeks, I was just using Uber and once I got the car and driving license and everything, it's been good. But like Nina said, you have to have a license. There are places you can go by walking, but it's just very, very far. But yes, that was just initially it was a month or so that I found it difficult because and as soon as I started working, I made friends and then it was okay. But in the beginning when you are on your own, it could be a little challenging.
Yeah, I think it can be an end. You know, I think it can be challenging either way. And maybe Nina, you can relate to this. Because when you come on your own, everything's on you. And so you've got to kind of make things happen. Whereas when you come with a family like Nina did, and it can also be challenging because you have that support system but then you've got more things to settle. Am I right Nina? You got more like you've got a spouse or you know, you had a baby congrats on the on the American Baby Nina. Thank you so much. Yeah, speaking of challenges, that was one of the biggest challenge for me. I actually came here in the US I was seven months pregnant. Without the support of Connetics and without advent health support, I wouldn't be able to, you know, be here as well. So it was quite challenging. Being seven months pregnant, I had to undergo you know, the orientation program. That was for two months, but everyone has been so supportive, especially the people in Connetics, my onboarding specialists came as well. I guess some of the viewers has actually asked regarding, if ever, you know, if they joined Connetics, would they be settled in? And the moment they arrive in the US? My answer for that would be 100%. Yes, they've been very supportive. Until now, I'm still in contact with my onboarding specialist, Ms. Kim. So they've been very supportive, they've been very helpful, they provide you all the information that you need, in order to settle well, here in Florida, they make your adjustment period, you know, just smooth and, you know, worry free. So I've been very, you know, grateful to, to be a part of the Connetics.
Thank you, Nina, thank you for giving me a shout out. She's amazing, as are all onboarding specialists. And I just love that picture of your cute little baby, that American baby. Yeah. So that's a lot of chat a lot. But a lot of change. And that's the thing, you know, you start this process, it's life continues. And you can get pregnant, which, you know, adds a whole other layer of excitement, but also complexity. So glory, just in answer to your question, Connetics have what we call our circle of support. And these are all the different ways that we support nurses when they arrive in the United States, you can actually see this on our website. And we really like to think of surrounding you. That's why it's a circle, but lots of different things. So you will have an onboarding specialist, as Nina mentioned, and in this case, it was Kim, we bring you in with buddies, we have the Connetics Angel Network. This is a mentorship program, we give you information about the places of worship. So as I know, you're asking that question, we have the Connetics clubhouse, which is and I'm just picking out a few things from here, the kinetics clubhouse, which is once a month get together, and we teach you different things about living and working in the United States, like what is credit, how to build your credit, how to rent an apartment, how to buy a house, how to pay your taxes, and we have a spousal support program, we have considered Connetics College, lots of different ways that we support our nurses when they arrive in the United States. So you're certainly not alone.
And okay, let's go back and talk about Florida fun. And so, and I knew Florida has got a lot of fun things to do. There's a lot of attractions. There's a lot of recreational sites, what have been your favorite things that you've seen or done in Florida? So far. I like going to the beaches. So that's one of my favorite thing whenever I can get out. Just I have been to Daytona Beach like multiple times, and also to Cocoa Beach. And, again, it's just my interest that I love racing. So I'm always on Daytona racetrack. And just go karting. I mean, of course, they have a lot of carting places here. And then just the food. So I have been to universal twice, but haven't been to Disney yet. So my favorite thing is just to go back to NASA, and the Kennedy Space Center. That's just my interest. So I just love going back to how many times and then yeah, just walk in a park. I have so many places nearby. Just you know, drive over there. Sit in a park Lake Eola. Watched, you know the word fence or Yes, exactly. We did go into St. Pete. That was the oldest school and recently went to Universal. So yeah, a lot of places. Yeah. Yeah. That's really kind of hard to see.
It looks like a vacation. You'd look like so many fun places to see and do Nina, what about you? What is your favorite places to visit? And to see and to have fun in Florida? Yes, Florida has been known to have a lot of tourist attractions. If you just want to, you know, de stress and unwind. There's so many places, you know, like so many options that you can head to of course, there are a lot of theme parks. So as you've known the happiest place on earth, we have Disney. So we have this new world. There are a lot of freshwater springs. We also as mentioned by Miss Anu a lot of beaches as well. And in my city here and Lake Wales. We do have a lot of parks. We're in it's overlooking with a lot of lakes. So it's very beautiful. We'd love to go there with me and my husband and my son. Yeah, a lot of you know scenic places. Yeah, it's definitely like a vacation. Yeah, here in Florida. To see and lots to do when you're not working. You mentioned the food. Florida is no There's some foods that are very well known in Florida. What did you learn about the food? What is your favorite American food? In Florida?
Okay, so yes. All kinds of burgers. And what I tried was empanadas. The tacos? More like spicy Mexican food. And yeah, like I mean I do love the gator thing. And that was something that I have never tried before the gator meat since you know Florida is full of gators. So when they there is greater hunting season. You can see a lot of restaurants serving like really, really good. Either appetizers or dishes. So yeah, that was something that I have never tasted before. So that was interesting. But yeah, other than that, it just lots of good food. And there are a lot of Indian restaurants too. So I'm still exploring actually. Okay, so lots of ethnic foods as well. And what is it tastes like? The gate the gator tail than the gator bites?
So it does take it tastes like chicken but a little more chewy Yeah, just to be brave to Oh my goodness. Nina Have you tasted tails data gigabytes? What decade a tale. No, I haven't tasted yet but I'm gonna look for I'm gonna like definitely check it out. What are some of your favorites Nina? Um, well, you know, Florida has. It's very multicultural here very culturally diverse, so you wouldn't have any problems. If you're craving with specific cuisines there are a lot that we have Chinese cuisines. If you're looking for the best Mexican, Cuban or Puerto Rican dishes, you can head out to Tampa or of course in Miami. Of course, there's a large Filipino community here. So we have a lot of Filipino restaurants here as well. A lot of good news for all your Filipino nurses or Filipinos. So it's coming to Florida. Whenever you know, popular fast food chain Jollibee we have one in Tampa but there's one upcoming in Orlando So if ever you've been home so you can head on there. And Jollibee and yeah, there are a lot of restaurants here like whether you're you know if you're missing something that's you know, close to home.
There are a lot of buffets as well we Filipinos love food so that's one good thing and you will never you know there's so many options here in Florida you'll definitely enjoy the food here is great as well if you're a foodie then yeah, Florida is the place to go. is the place to go What about the shopping some viewers might be interested in the shopping Nina you're nodding your head yes the shopping as well in our land of there are a lot of outlet malls you know if you want to go to places we're in you want to save but you want to also buy the best brands there are a lot of outlet malls near Orlando so there's huge malls they sell them you know they're all discounted items but they have the best brands there you can find you know shoe brands like you know your Nike or Adidas or if you're into clothing they have gap other wear like Ralph Lauren so different so many different brands were in you can go shopping as well and but at the same time you're able to save a lot so those are one of the you know famous attractions here in Florida if you're looking forward to shopping so many outlet malls available here in Florida can be a little bit dangerous Nina a little bit dangerous on your on your bank account or your credit card. Yes.
That's my shot. And I knew one of the great things about living in Florida is that it's close to a lot of other states that have got other famous attractions have you been able to travel at all to other states close to Florida or in the United States? Not yet. So since the COVID hit I didn't actually get out much. But yeah, I have planned to probably go to Georgia or maybe Las Vegas next year but again, that's for different reasons but I haven't gone out much like out of state Yeah. Okay, so mainly stayed in Florida. What about new Nina? Have you been able to travel at all I know with COVID has been more difficult, I guess. Yes. From the Philippines. Um, I first traveled to the West Coast area of the US I went to Oregon to visit my sister there. I spent a few weeks there just to spend time with her and her family. It's been very Oh, I think Nina has a technical, they've also been to California, specifically Los Angeles, it's been a good spirit as well. You know, Hollywood and all the famous attractions there, everything has been there. So it's been a popular and fun place as well. And as you mentioned, nearby states to Florida, or we had one interstate travel, which was in Georgia, so we didn't go there by plane. So we drove there. It was like a seven hour drive. But it was worth the drive. It was great. So Georgia, it was, Georgia is a lot colder than Florida. But the place is also beautiful as well. So I'm looking forward to travel to other nearby states like Texas, they have North Carolina. So those other states are on my bucket list. But Georgia is it's been beautiful. Yes, it's an easy drive.
Oh, did it take you to drive to Georgia? Um, oh, if you know, you, you would definitely have several stops on the way but um, probably a maximum around seven to eight hour drive. So seven to eight hours. So yeah, but it's not like, you know, it's not difficult to travel on the way there. There are a lot of stops a lot of restaurants on the way. So you wouldn't have any, you know, any problem making that seven hour or seven to eight hour drive to Georgia. Okay, good to know. All right, we're going to take some questions from the chat. I see that Roderick has a question how much you will earn the average excluding the taxes, insurance and other deductions without overtime. And I knew any insight to Roderick about how the salary would work and what you would what an international nurse would earn in Florida.
Yeah, sure. So, some of it depends on how many years of experience you have, of course, you get paid per hour. So and in the starting again, it can be different in different places, different hospitals, I could say, but you are making, I mean, excluding the taxes and the overtime, it should be still decent around 60. I could say 60,000 a year. Okay. And remember, also, Roderick that, you know, as an owner says it depends on your years of experience or how it works. Because with direct hire, you get the same pay as an American nurse, you will have each hospital has a salary scale. So if you have one year of experience, you get a certain rate two years, a certain rate three years, etc. And it goes up with your years of experience. And, Nina, can you share with the viewers just a little bit about how taxes work in the United States? Well, in Florida?
Yeah, actually, Florida is known to have no state income tax, which is, which is actually good compared to other states. We do also have the withholding tax here the federal tax taxes, well, we still do pay for that. But I'm, I'm not really that, you know, knowledgeable regarding the taxes here in Florida, but all I know is it has no state income tax, whenever you receive your payroll, or your salary. There isn't much of any huge deductions at all, like you're gonna be able to save a lot from your earnings. Usually, most of those deductions go to your benefits, like your insurance, or if you have a bill like short term disability, or, you know, there depends on your institution or your facility if they provided those benefits to you. And, yeah, the taxes here aren't much. There's also holiday taxes as well, which Governor DeSantis has imposed, which is also helpful as well. So it Comparing to, you know, West Coast states in Florida, it's not really that that much. And that's all I can say, Oh, it doesn't take much of your payroll as well. You'd be able to enjoy much of your earnings. Yes.
Okay. So there you go. Roderick answer to your question. And Sonny has a question. Just curious to know from your experience in terms of choosing and getting an apartment, were you able to sign the lease even before landing or did you get you did you get it when you landed on? Yes, you need to be the how I did was you did do need a letter from the employer to apply for your lease. So once you're here and I think maybe you know, we got to you can get that letter mentioning your salary, and that you are employed in a hospital. So it was pretty easy because I was able to apply for my lease in a month. Until then we were still saying In the accommodation, you know, that was arranged from connect Connecticut and advent health. So I didn't have to worry too much about it. And same thing, the letter of recommendation you will need for lease and also for your driver's license. So it all was done in one month.
Okay, so there we go Sonny, I know it can feel very scary to think of going to a new place, especially if you've never been there like Anu and Nina and trying to find accommodation, especially if you've got a family or even if you haven't got a family, it can feel very scary. And just a shout out to advent health. Because we have, we've helped hundreds of nurses go to advent health over the years one of Connetics, Premier employers, and we have a recruitment event coming up soon. So if you've just passed your NCLEX, please apply to Connetics USA, we have many, many opportunities at advent health and other hospitals in Florida as well. And we'd be happy to help you as well as other hospitals all over the United States. Of course. Samu has a question, can I get sponsorship from h1 visa for medical and laboratory technician. And so summer, if you are a technician, you would have to come on a perm green card. And we have a show coming up. I think it's in about two weeks on medical lab technicians, medical lab technologist so please watch out for that children will be able to give you more insight there. And Nina Blake have a question. What advice can you give to someone who's moving to Florida without any relatives in terms of apartment, car bank, etc?
Well, that's a good question. Before heading to any state, or if ever, you've you know, you've chosen Florida to be your place of choice, it's very important to do your research beforehand. If you don't know where you're going to be deployed by then. So it's best for you to start searching for apartments. There are a lot of helpful websites for that we have the apartments.com we have Zillow, we have Trulia, so many options for you to start searching for the apartments. And there's one thing that you should also take note, it will be the safety of that street in place. So you know, wherever if you find an apartment, you need to know the neighborhood, you need to know if it's a safe place, if the crime rate is low, that's one thing for sure that you need to look upon. And you wouldn't have to worry even if you don't have any relatives, especially if you've joined Connetics, or if ever you've been hired by advent health have they've been very helpful regarding they would help you settle and help you find an apartment and as what Andrew has mentioned. You know, if you're hard for advent health, they do have a one of the benefits is you know, free accommodation for 60 days. So my family and I were well accommodated, we were able to stay in the accommodation, you know, it's a lot different from you know, other agencies we're in, you know, you're able to stay in a studio apartment.
You can cook, you can bring your family with you. You don't have to be you know, staying you know, in one, you know, cramped place with other nurses. So, um, you know, it feels like home. So they will definitely make sure that you're comfortable here that, that you're everything's so convenient. So yeah, not worry, right, Nina? Yes. Not to worry at all. Yes. And it'll take a review. home away from home. Louise, and it has got a question and ask you about the cost of apartments are new. Can you give us any insight about how much an apartment would cost to rate? I think that's Louise's question. Yes. And, of course, like Lina, Nina said, if you need a studio apartment, the rents are different. If you're looking for a two bedroom, three bedroom house, the rents are gonna be a little higher, of course, but what I have, you know, because I changed apartment last three years, like three times, the rent has gone up every year, little by little, but it's not as bad that you cannot afford or you cannot manage out of your pay. And yes, like, ultimately, I mentioned when you're looking for an apartment, if you look for a safer location, the rent might be a little higher than the other places. But again, safety comes first.
And of course the travel like if you're working, how much you want to commute, the further you go during might be cheaper. But you're you know, spending the time traveling. So a couple of factors, but it's not as bad compared to other states, but I'm hearing the cost of living and also the rent is not as bad and you will be able to save a lot that you can deposit or put as a deposit to buy a house. So it's not bad. I mean, yeah, it's reasonable. Uh, yeah, definitely, I think the word is reasonable. So I think that's a really good description of it. And it's really interesting to look at the cost of living comparison between Florida and other states. If you look at, for example, at New York, and you can see that it's much more expensive. So the cost of living is 181%, higher in New York than in Orlando, Florida. And it's also much more expensive in California. And so if you look at the cost of living between Orlando and San Francisco, 121%, higher in San Francisco, and you can see there, how much higher the housing costs are. But I think interesting, as Ana actually mentioned, even within Florida, there are differences. So if you are looking at Orlando versus Miami, for example, the cost of living is 20 27%. Higher in Miami. And so there are definitely differences Orlando and Tallahassee and 8%. Higher in Tallahassee, so it you know, with from state to state, and within a state, there can definitely be differences in terms of the cost of living, which can make a big difference. Florida is known for the retirees and the snowbirds. And Nina, did you know what the snowbirds or the retirees were all about before you came to Florida?
Um, no, I had no idea at all. I actually had no idea where the term snowbirds until I attended, you know, my orientation it has been mentioned and explained. So when you say snowbirds, those are people living in winter states, whether the plants are either retire or they just want to visit a warmer climate or want to stay in the warmer sunnier climates. So they had to Florida. So that's how I understand, you know, the term snowbirds. Yeah. So there are a lot of snowbirds and a lot of people that in Florida are new, how does that impact living in the state? It doesn't, you know, of course, we all have grandparents, you know, so it's not that bad. But yeah, you do see them in the group in the supermarket in the park. It's nice to see them out there. And like Nina said, I also didn't know what Snowball was, I thought it's actually a bird. But yes, seriously, but again, in the audition, they did mention that, you know, of course, retirees, or just people they have second homes here they come by during the winter months to get some sunshine and they're out there everyone. You know, of course, we lived together, it's a good community. I don't see them. It's good. Like, you know, there is no issues actually. And they of course, sometimes we do see them in the hospital, very loving, you know, retirees are always, they're just so warm. They're just so polite, like they just have so much experience to share. So if we get to meet them, they're just very nice. Yeah.
So it sounds like you're in enjoy that. So definitely a very interesting community because very multicultural and we also have the snowbirds and a lot of retirees. And one question that we got in the chat is about schooling. And any advice for parents when they I know Nina, you have a baby. And I think our new any advice for parents about schooling that you've heard from friends or colleagues, Nina? Um, yes, for actually, there are a lot of good schools here. If you're looking for, you know, good schools for your children in case you plan to settle you're in Florida. I myself, you know, I still have just one two month old son, but based on my colleagues, you know, there are a lot of options. It depends on where you're situated at or where you're residing at. The schools here, again, are multicultural, you don't have to worry. Every, you know, all the schools here are EDD provide really like, you know, high quality education here. So you wouldn't have to worry at all. So I haven't known much regarding, you know, you know, how the whole process works. Um, whenever you're situated here with your children, and you want to, you know, begin or commence on the enrollment process. I don't have experience for that as well. But all I can see is there are a lot of good schools in Florida.
You just have to do your research. It depends on where you're going to be deployed at or which city are going to recite to, but you wouldn't have to worry even in my area. It's a small city, but the schools here are very, very good. So yeah, so that's, that's good to know. And I think also a lot of good universities. So if you University, yeah, older kids. There's a lot of options there for great universities as well. And we have a question from DNL, who say, what if I'm a fresh grad? And would I be able to apply to Connetics without experience? And how is the process and when is also asking about the process, so, and do you know, and we have many opportunities for new grads. So that's the good news. So please apply to Connetics USA and our team are waiting on hand to help you. And if anybody is curious, like Dr. Neil or win about the process, the best place to look is at the Connetics USA Success Path, it's on our website. And it gives you all of the steps that you need to take in order to come and live and work in the United States. And as you can see, there, number seven is enjoy and prosper. And that's really where our new and Nina are right now enjoying and prospering and living their American dream. So I'm just looking at the clock, I think that's a good place to actually finish off. And MENA any final words of advice for anyone looking to come to the United States?
Yes, all I can say is, you know, it's never too late, you know, if you're, if you really want to go to the US, you know, work for it. You know, you really need like, like, what can I What else can I say for me, because, you know, I'm pretty to six years old, it took me years to, to move to the US. But I'm finally here. And all I can say is, you know, the quality, the quality of living is good. I'm enjoying much. And I'm very grateful that I get to go come here to the US, of course, all of us would love to come here for greener pastures, for a better future a gamer for a better future for me and my family. So all those obstacles, all those challenges in getting here, you know, I've been there, you know, it's from taking the NCLEX you know, looking for a suitable employer. And, you know, all those, you know, processes just to get here, I know, it's difficult at first, but it's going to be worth it. So it's definitely a good choice as well. So that's, that's all I can say. It's going to be difficult, it's going to be very challenging, but it's going to be very worth it. So the sacrifices are worth it, right. A better, more stable life for you and your family and your beautiful new son. Thank you. I knew any final words to end the viewers of why Florida.
Um, I would say just come prepared. There is nothing you need to bring with you, as in, you know, to come and work here in Florida, everything will be I feel like everything was set up for you to be successful. from Connecticut, and also from advent health. The days from the very first day, they were hands on taking care of you making sure that you needed it, whatever you need to arrange or organize for you. So there was not much of a struggle or you didn't feel like you're lost in the middle of nowhere. So you're in good hands. And I mean, you will have really good experience in and of course in Florida as well. Thank you, Ana. Well, that was what great final words for our combo Nina and are new, and really inspiring to share your stories with everybody watching all over the world. And you know, I know that just the two of you have really paid it forward today, and helped so many people by sharing your story, talking about some of the sacrifices some of the hardships as Nina said, but also now being able to enjoy the successes, which is I know, which is what everybody around the world, which is looking to you and seeing you guys as the inspiration to help them move forward.
So thank you for joining us before everybody leaves. I just want to remind everybody about upcoming shows. And so we have every Friday, our show onwards and upwards and 7am Pacific Time, please check your time zone converter for the time in your country. And next week we have our regular show immigration question and answer with the legal experts. So bring your immigration questions on the 18th. I know we had a few questions in the show actually about med techs. So we have a show dedicated to med techs on the 18th on the 25th we have a Thanksgiving special Thanksgiving show. And on the second license endorsement Q&A On the ninth transition from international students. I think we had a question Yeah, actually from Louise in the chat about students on the 16th immigration about US citizen 23rd We've got our Christmas special show and then best and onwards and upwards moments on the December 30. And then the love for a talk show which is once a month we have the next generation NCLEX very important topic. The NCLEX exam is going to be changing so really important to educate yourself about got that on November 15, and the 13th of December clinical difference in med surg, what it's like in med surg as opposed to in the US as opposed to around the world.
We also have every Monday check the time zone converter for the old time in your country. And we have our esteemed partners Aspire Swoosh, IPASS and Niners classes on NCLEX. This is free information, tell your friends and colleagues free information about the NCLEX and about the English in the Connetics college. And we also have last but not least, our Connetics initiatives, which is we have free English scholarship for all Connetics nurses free NCLEX scholarship for those nurses who have not yet passed the NCLEX exam. So this is for selected nurses. Our $1,000 referral fee is extended until November 30. Check out the details on our website. Our podcast nursing in America we launched a new season was released last week, nursing in America, this is stateside everything you need to know about all the different states. And obviously we work with Florida but we work with all the states and we have our nurse aide program our Friday show our college every Monday and we also help allied needs. So lots of things to look forward to in the coming weeks. We're going to finish off now. Thank you everybody for joining us. Thank you Nina. And we will see you next week onwards and upwards. Everybody. Thank you. Thank you so much. Thank you