Dublin, Ohio may not seem like the most obvious place in the United States for a Brit to emigrate to.
A suburb of Columbus, boasting a population of just over 41,000, and best known for being a popular stop on golf’s PGA Tour, it’s fair to say the Dublin certainly doesn’t compete with the US’s more popular immigrant hot-spots.
Yet that didn’t stop 39-year-old Clare Blake, originally from Brighton and Hove, from emigrating there seven years ago.
“I met my American husband in England and decided to move to the US with him around eight or nine years ago,” explains Clare. “We settled in Dublin as that’s where he’s from.”
While moving as the fiancé of an American citizen is undoubtedly more straightforward than emigrating as a skilled worker, Clare says that the process was not without its problems. “At the time, the immigration service was going through a lot of reform,” she recalls. “While it [emigrating] was a fairly simple process it was delayed, so it was rather stressful having had a wedding booked. It took me around nine or ten months to get a visa, when it was predicted to take six.”
Even once Clare had her visa, though, there were still some important restrictions placed on what she could and couldn’t do. “When i first move to the US I couldn’t work as I was on a fiancé visa,” she explains. “Then, once I could work I decided to not pursue a career, as I had planned to become a stay at home Mum and have children within the year.”
Today, though, Clare is confident that her decision to leave Sussex for Ohio was indeed the right one. “I love how it’s financially a lot easier,” she enthuses. “Housing here in Ohio is so much cheaper than in England, the south in particular, and I find the cost of living better, too. I love the hot summers, and how child friendly Dublin is. It’s so great for young families.”
As someone who had lived in America on a temporary basis for two years as a teenager, and visited the country many times since, Clare felt that she was more than prepared for the culture shock associated with living permanently in a new country.
“I missed close friends and family… and the food of course, although it’s pretty easy now days to get almost everything here,” muses Clare. “The biggest thing I miss, and I hear most Brits living in the US miss, is being able to walk places, like out of your front door to pop to the shops, or walk down an English-style high Street. That doesn’t happen here. I also initially missed just bumping into people I knew! It takes a while to feel at home, and that’s a big part of the settling process.”
Asked now, however, whether she believes that she made the right decision to emigrate to the US, Clare’s answer is an unequivocal “yes”.
Ohio may not have the reputation of Florida or California when it comes to being a potential US immigration destination, but Clare would certainly recommend the State for anyone considering a new life across the Pond.