Richmond, Virginia is an archetypal East Coast city. With its colonial architecture and political pedigree, it attracts a serious breed of expat who are involved in the fields of government, law and finance. The city is home to one of the 13 US courts of appeals, and one of the country’s 12 Federal Reserve Banks, plus a number of Fortune 500 company headquarters. The city is dotted with memorials to historic events in American history; Richmond is, for example, where Patrick Henry’s famous “Give me liberty or give me death” speech was made. But that doesn’t mean Richmond is all work and no play. Known as “The River City” due to its location on the James River, locals and expats living in Richmond make the most of the balmy summers with a riverside iced tea, or something a little stronger. For culture vultures, the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts hosts numerous works of art spanning more than 50 centuries of human history, while nature-loving expatriates in Richmond will be enchanted by the breathtaking Maymont gardens, or the surrounding Blue Ridge Mountains.
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Richmond is the capital city of the state of Virginia, so it benefits from easy access to some excellent roads. In fact, the nation’s capital, Washington DC, is just a couple of hours’ drive north of Richmond along Route 95. The city’s location in the center of the East Coast means that Richmond culture is a unique blend of northern and southern America. To prepare yourself for moving to Richmond, start listening to bluegrass music and introducing your palate to smoky barbecued meats. The strong economy of Richmond attracts expatriates from across the United States and all over the world so you will be in good company. However, if you are worried about fitting into a new city, or need some tips on how to make new friends, simply get in touch with one of the seasoned expats in the InterNations community via our forums, discussion boards or private messages system.
There are many expats working in Richmond, but acclimatizing to the working environment will be easier for Americans than non-Americans. Do some research before you arrive and be aware of what to expect from your new work life. American employers typically offer around two weeks of vacation time per year, and the average employee works around 35-40 hours per week. Any expatriate working in the US should ask if health and dental cover is included in their salary package, as medical attention of any kind can be cripplingly expensive, so health insurance is a must-have for residents and expats living in Richmond alike. Above all, make sure you have the right to work in Richmond before setting off, keep an eye on employment laws that may affect you and make sure you keep your visas and permits up to date. For further advice check out the content section on InterNations with its many articles on such topics as moving to the US, coping with culture shock, international finance and more, or get in touch with veteran expats who can give you some advice through the InterNations discussion boards and forums.