Houston is a vibrant city where international appeal and southern charm mix into a melting pot of cultures from far and wide to create a unique atmosphere with something to offer for everyone.
Deemed the ‘New Capital of Southern Cool’ Houston has more than 2.2 million residents and nearly 22 million tourists visit per year! But, what is it really like to relocate to Houston? To find out, we spoke to Nick Tregellis, NES Lead Account Manager who has relocated from the UK to Dubai and then to Houston in 2017.
1. When you were presented with the opportunity to relocate to America, what were your first thoughts?
As much as I loved my time in Dubai, I was ready for a change of scenery and a new challenge. But I still wanted to stay with NES, so when the opportunity came around for a relocation to Houston, I was excited! I was already interested in pursuing another place to live so it came at a good time.
2. Why did you ultimately decide to relocate?
I’m the senior account manager for ExxonMobil so I have always been aware of the importance of the Houston market in oil and gas. ExxonMobil have their head office there so I was interested in being able to support the client on a greater scale. 3. How did you find preparing for the move?
3. How did you find preparing for the move?
I found it very interesting actually because it gave me a better understanding of what candidates experience when they relocate.
The most stressful part is usually the visa and travel process but that was done well – the NES assignment support team made things really easy for me. They did the leg work!
4. How have you found integrating into the American expat community?
There is a large British community in Houston so to be honest; I didn’t suffer from much culture shock! Everyone in Houston, local or expat, has been very friendly and welcoming and this helped me to settle in quite quickly.
5. What's the best thing about relocating to Houston?
Houston surprised me, its more community driven than I was expecting and very family orientated. I could easily see myself settling down here and I am now looking to buy house next year.
Another good thing is the food. Houston has been called the food capital of America which was another pleasant surprise. It’s a really vibrant city with high quality bars and restaurants.
From a career perspective the best thing is that the oil & gas industry is booming – there’s so much activity to go after! It’s a very busy and exciting market.
6. What was the hardest aspect about relocating?
Initially in the first week or so of moving, the jet lag was the hardest! From Dubai to Houston the time difference is 9 hours so that was an adjustment.
I’ve also found being even further away from family in the UK quite hard. In Houston there’s a greater time difference and also the flights take much longer.
I have to say as well that I do miss my friends and colleagues in Dubai – I did love living in Dubai but I miss people more than the place and it’s always nice to see them at the end of the year when we have the NES Christmas Awards
7. Is there anything you wish you'd known prior to the move?
On a slightly more light-hearted note, I wish I’d known that none of my Dubai attire would be suitable for Houston! Loafers don’t fit in at all so I bought a pair of cowboy boots and now I’m okay!
8. What do you do for fun in Houston?
There’s a load of things to do in Houston but the stand outs for me are Golf – the weather is perfect for it and Houston has some good courses and travelling internally. It’s quite cheap to do this so I’ve been exploring some other American cities.
9. What's the cost of living like and how did you find adjsuting to the differences?
The cost of living is super cheap. Houston has a low tax rate and I’ve found accommodation etc. to be inexpensive! So much so I’ve been able to save money each month towards buying a house next year.
10. What tips would you give to someone thinking about relocating to Houston?
The best tip I could give someone would be you need to save money before relocating! There are lots of hidden costs, such as money upfront for accommodation that you might not realise you need. Initial costs can be large but this evens out after a while. Also, bring plenty of teabags, baked beans (or any home comforts really) as they expensive to buy out here.
11. Would you relocate again? If so, where to?
I’m happy in Houston but I am always interested in new locations and opportunities. I have enjoyed supporting the set-up of new operations in the past so I would potentially relocate for a role like that - a location such as Denver/Colorado would be good, I’ve heard positive things about there. Outside of America, I am interested in China or Japan because there is spike in demand and activity there.
12. Finally, how did you find the support from NES?
NES has been very supportive, whenever I have had an interest in relocating to a new location they have made that happen for me. There are so many opportunities globally. Their support was very comprehensive, I was guided every step of the way with no hiccups which gave me full confidence the relocation would go smoothly.
NES & Houston
NES Global Talent has been operational in Houston for over 20 years, holding key workforce service agreements with operators and EPCs across the region. Our presence in North America stretches from Calgary to Mexico and is supported by a global network of over 60 offices. If you have workforce requirements in America, our dedicated recruitment experts can support you with every stage of your project life cycle.
To date, NES Global Talent has placed thousands of contractors across America; our assignment support team can ensure your transition to the USA is as smooth as possible. We support contractors throughout their assignment and beyond and are also able to offer you the best in global job opportunities.