Diplomat on how to get a job at the UN and move to the USA - ForumDaily
The article has been automatically translated into English by Google Translate from Russian and has not been edited.
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Diplomat on how to get a job at the UN and move to the USA

Depositphotos.com photo

A Russian-speaking diplomat incognito told about her experience of moving to the United States. Depositphotos.com photo

Incognito, the Russian-speaking diplomat told ForumDaily about her experience of moving to the United States and how the diplomatic statute impedes renting housing.

Living in the United States was for me a consequence rather than a cause or even a goal of life. And if it all started as a temporary phenomenon, now, after about nine years, I recall the saying:

“nothing is more permanent than temporary.”

Since 2007, I have lived in New York, where I arrived on a United Nations (UN) work visa. The UN diplomatic visa was issued on the basis that I had been selected to serve as an assistant in one of the departments of the Secretariat. I remember receiving an email from New York from an HR representative on August 29th: “Congratulations on receiving your position... look forward to seeing you at work on October 1st.” I immediately answered in the affirmative and began collecting documentation and medical certificates for obtaining a visa.

No more than two weeks passed from receiving the signed contract to the interview at the Embassy. The interview was short and went without much delay, since all the necessary documents were in my hands, and the UN itself sent a special letter directly to the Embassy, ​​confirming my status and the duration of the contract - 3 months with the possibility of extension subject to satisfactory work and availability of funds from the recipient me department.

With a three-month visa in hand, a return flight ticket and three suitcases of autumn and winter clothes, I flew to a country that was very distant and foreign to me. Far away - both in distance and culturally. But since it was the headquarters of my dream organization, I knew that I would not miss this chance, and the fear of the unknown would not become an obstacle. After all, you don’t want to regret it for the rest of your life, do you? And I will always have time to return home.

To this day, many years later, I am very grateful to local friends - a married couple from Puerto Rico, who met me at the airport and gave me shelter for the first time until I found an apartment.

Since my work contract began on October 1, I did not have enough time and knowledge to quickly figure out where and how to look for housing, what it costs, what a social security number is, why you need to open a credit card and have some kind of permanent or temporary residential address in the United States. At work, new employees were not provided with any assistance in moving to New York. It was assumed that these were personal problems that you solve yourself and do not cause headaches for your superiors. All they helped me with on the spot was documentation for opening an account at the UN Credit Union bank, to which my salary was transferred.

Wages, after subtracting the required amount for food, travel, telephone and other in-flight minimum expenses, allowed to rent a small apartment outside the island of Manhattan, or a room somewhere in the city in the area of ​​residence of students at Columbia University (Harlem). Based on these considerations, I sat down on the Internet and began to systematically write letters in response to renting ads using the craigslist page. It is noteworthy that today, with the availability of much more improved resources for finding housing, this service is still very popular with users, as it collects data on the demand and supply of a wide variety of goods and services in all US cities and states.

The first weeks of attempts to look at apartments were unsuccessful. All brokers, namely they, as a rule, offered apartments for sale or rent, responded with refusal and threw up their hands in helplessness. “You only have a contract for 3 months (apartments are usually rented for a year)? No Social Security number (meaning a foreign tourist with no long-term prospect of staying in the US)? What is your credit history? Like “no credit history”!? Without it, we cannot register you, because we do not know about your solvency! What kind of visa are you on here anyway—diplomatic? So you won't be held accountable? Do you have a local trustee who will vouch for you in case of early departure from the apartment (after three months, based on the logic of the contract) and who will pay your annual rent?

By the way, the status of a “UN diplomat” and a diplomatic visa to the USA were not only of no use to me, but only aggravated the difficult situation with finding housing.

Americans, for various reasons, believe that the UN is a structure of dependents and parasites who need to be dissolved, since the organization is ineffective and only wastes their money from taxes paid to the state. In addition, in their opinion, the status of a diplomat implies only privileges and immunity, and no obligations to the authorities and US law. In the event of any offense, you will not hold them accountable, and they will calmly “fly away” home without paying utility bills or rent, leaving the apartment owner with nothing. When I, naively, said where I worked, a couple of brokers simply interrupted the conversation mid-sentence. Over time, I no longer unnecessarily mentioned the word “diplomatic visa”.

I remember another funny incident of calling brokers in the Brighton Beach area of ​​Brooklyn, where Russian-speaking immigrants live who left the post-Soviet republics or Israel in 1970-90. The broker's first words were in polite English, the conversation began with standard questions about the contract and status in America. Realizing that I also spoke Russian, the interlocutor switched to Russian, changing his businesslike tone to: “in short, give me $2000, and we will try to persuade the community at home so that your documents are not examined so carefully.” I didn’t want to give away my savings in vain, without a guarantee of a positive response, so I ended the conversation on this “corrupt” note.

After six weeks of continuous search for housing (on weekends and late evenings), workdays (ten hours at work and three hours on the way from home to office and back), I despaired of finding at least something. But I did not want to sit on the neck of my friends, although they morally supported me and never hinted that it was time to move out.

As a result, I settled on the option of living in the suburbs of Manhattan, in a four-room apartment, the furnished rooms of which were rented out on a monthly basis. The cost - as I already understand it now - was very inflated ($700 per month). I had to share a kitchen and bathroom with three other residents. Was I delighted with the “obshchak” living in a small room without windows, where it was cold all the time (without central heating), but only with a portable electric heater? Of course not, but in the absence of alternatives, I was grateful to fate for this option.

Already a year and a half later, when the market situation changed due to the financial crisis of 2008-09, I received a temporary social insurance number and a couple of credit cards (and thanks to them my credit history somehow began to manifest), I began to look more solvent in the eyes of brokers and yet found a studio in Manhattan. By that time, I already knew how to bargain and beat down the price, and also knew more perfect English.

My first experience in the country was unforgettable and very rewarding.

I think it was a very good test of survival - in a country where you are a stranger, whose accent language you don’t always understand and you feel like just an unwanted immigrant.

This country and its harsh conditions temper you, making you stronger and more experienced. I don’t know how long my short-term contracts with the UN will be extended, and, accordingly, how long my notorious “diplomatic visa” will be. But I know one thing: after America, I’m no longer afraid to end up in any corner of the world.

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