New York, many people dream of moving here…

But what is it really like to move to New York? To build a new life in this popular expat city?

In this Ask an Expat series I interview people living all over the world but outside of their home country. I try to help paint an honest picture of the ups and downs of life abroad, share tips for anyone thinking about moving abroad and information about what to see and do in the city, town or country the expat lives in.

I’m excited to share some expat advice on moving to New York!

Expat life in New York City, USA

Location: Long Island, New York
Name: Yasmin Love Interlandi
Age: 25
Home town: Glasgow, Scotland, UK

Her story:  

“I’ve always had a passion for traveling and living life outside of my comfort zone. My father moved to Istanbul, Turkey when I was 12 years old. I always went to visit him in the summer months and became comfortable traveling long distances by myself from a young age. In 2012, aged 19, I participated in Walt Disney World’s International College Program, in Florida for 3 months. During this time I lived with a girl from Long Island and after our program finished I went to stay with her in New York for a couple of days, which is when I met Anthony for the first time. Flash forward five and a half years; there’s been a long distance relationship, a successful K1 Fiance Visa, a marriage and a new home in the USA.”

Why did you move to New York?

“Me and my husband live on Long Island, about a 45-minute train ride from Manhattan. We chose this area as my husband was brought up in this area, as he is a US citizen. We wanted to live close to his side of the family, as all of my family still lives in Scotland. I’ve also always been fascinated with New York ever since I was a little girl, so it was a dream come true when I actually got to move here!”

What do you like about living in New York?

what is life like in new york city

 “New York is such an amazing place to live as there is always something happening. Living so close to Manhattan gives you access to a variety of tourist attractions, restaurants, bars and museums. The career opportunities in Manhattan are also more extensive than in Scotland. I work in Marketing, so it’s very exciting to have a range of companies to choose from as a lot of the big name brands are headquartered in NY.

Long Island specifically is an absolutely beautiful place to live and such a contrast to the hustle and bustle of Manhattan. We live 5-10 minutes from multiple beaches and during the summer months it is the perfect place to enjoy the warm weather. The weather in New York in my opinion is perfect as you get definitive seasons. The winter is very cold but you get rewarded with a really warm summer, which is so different from Scotland, as we get a lot of rain there.”

What do you dislike about living in New York?

 “New York State is one of the most expensive states in the USA, so you have to be prepared for that if and when you move here.

Moving from Scotland to New York also meant that I gave up the right to good quality chocolate; the chocolate in the US definitely doesn’t compare but on the plus side Nutella is still readily available!

Another dislike is that there is A LOT of people living in New York City, and with that comes a lot of traffic. It’s crazy the amount of cars that are on the road here! Even on the weekends there is always some element of congestion which can be pretty frustrating.”

What is your favorite thing to do in New York?

 “During the summer months my favourite thing to do is go to the beach. As I said we have so many beaches that are close to us, for example Long Beach and Jones Beach. There are also a variety of breweries, beach clubs and wineries on Long Island, which make for a great day out.

Hop on the train into Manhattan to explore places such as Greenwich Village, Central Park, Times Square etc. The list goes on and on, you could spend weeks in the city and still have loads to see and do.”

What is your favorite place to hang out (restaurant, bar, etc.) in New York?

“That’s a really tough question as there are so many. I love the Stone Street Tavern in the financial district of Manhattan as it’s got a great atmosphere and outside seating for those warmer days.

On Long Island specifically you have Rockville Centre, which has a multitude of bars and restaurants to suit any kind of craving! In the summer, the Nautical Mile is great as they have loads of water front bars/clubs and really great places to eat such as EB Elliot’s.”

What is the expat community like in New York?

“I would recommend joining as they do a lot of NYC expat events, which give you the opportunity to go and meet others in similar situations. I’ve not attended any events as of yet but have spoken to others who have and their feedback has always been really positive.

In general there is a huge expat community in New York City as it’s such a melting pot of cultures but I’ve yet to meet another Scottish person!”

Any tips for moving to / living in New York?

moving to New York City

 “If you’re coming to America through a fiancé/spouse visa make sure that you do a lot of reading and research about what it entails. It will make the process a lot easier for you if you understand all the steps. We have completed all of my immigration process without the use of an attorney or agency!

It is very fast paced here and can be overwhelming at times but despite what you may hear sometimes, New Yorkers are really pleasant and helpful people, so if you get lost – just ask for help!

Looking for a place to rent will also be quite tough – prices and competition are quite high! You may want to find something temporary first, before committing to a longer term contract. You can do some research online before you make the actual move. Nestpick, for example, lets you search between hundreds of apartments and rooms for rent in New York, so that you could even have some viewings sorted before you move to New York.

As said previously, prepare yourself for the elevated cost of living if you’re coming from a relatively low-cost country.

Finally, BE YOURSELF and have fun. It’s a great place to live and if you’re fortunate enough to move to New York – enjoy every minute of it!”

Any resources you found useful during the process of moving to and/or building a new life in New York?

  •  VisaJourney: An immigration community for those moving to the USA through various visa routes.
  • Head Out: Really useful for finding things to do and discounted tickets.
  • Travel.State.Gov: The official US Department of State website where you can find a wealth of information on the various visa processes.
  • NY Gov.: A fantastic resource for those of you who are moving to New York.

Is there something you just have to see or do when you are in New York?

“Other than what I’ve already mentioned, I’d say the view of Manhattan from the Top of the Rock observation deck is a must do and I’d also recommend going to see the skyline of the city from New Jersey!

If you have a sweet tooth like I do, then Junior’s Bakery is definitely worth a visit, they have without a doubt the best cheesecake and chocolate fudge cake. There is one on 45th Street and 49th Street in NYC as well as the original one in Brooklyn.”

 About Yasmin

life in new york - interview with an expat

Yasmin is a Scottish 25 year old who followed her heart to New York to marry her American citizen husband.

On her blog Yaztalksalot Yasmin shares stories about her life after moving to New York from the UK. She gives insight into the entire immigration process and life as an expat in the USA.

About New York City

about New York City, USA - expat life

New York City, with a population of approximately 8.2 million, is the most populous city in the United States of America. The city comprises 5 boroughs sitting where the Hudson River meets the Atlantic Ocean. At its core is Manhattan, a densely populated borough that’s among the world’s major commercial, financial and cultural centers.

New York City is a center for media, culture, food, fashion, art, research, finance, and trade. It has one of the largest and most famous skylines in the world, dominated by the iconic Empire State Building. Other world famous places not to miss in New York are Central Park, Times Square and Broadway theater.

New York City, the “City That Never Sleeps” is intense and unique. NYC is loved by both tourists and expats, and a city you have to visit at least once in your life!

Also read: An Insider’s Guide to Things to do in NYC (on a Budget)

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Interview with an expat about life in New York

Author: Sanne Wesselman
A traveler, wanderer, digital nomad and entrepreneur. Owner of marketing company A to Z Marketing (
I spend most of my time living and working abroad and use this blog to share some of my international experiences and travel tips.