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1. Come here on H1-B through a consulting firm on the preferred vendor list.
2. Consulting co puts these single guys together in apartments.
3. They work for a year, sending the money home.
4. They heard from their families that their arranged marriages were set up.
5. They went home for the wedding and came back to the US with their bride.
6. They got pregnant and, before the baby was born, they headed back to India, with 2 years of American work experience under their belt to get managerial roles in the offshoring operations.
It was like a freaking revolving door.
If you just want to learn to program for the sake of learning how to do it, or for your own startup company/project, I'd go with one of the more "modern" languages like Python or Ruby. If you're looking to learn to speed your sysadmin tasks up, Perl or a shell scripting language (including the newish Windows Powershell) might fit the bill better.
If you do come down with cancer or have an accident that puts you in physical therapy for 2 years, you'll be amazed how quickly you can go from $200 or $2000 in health care costs to $2 million.
Longer-term insurance is more in the $400-$500/month range for that same family. (just priced at eHealthInsurance.com)
Yes, those are high-deductible policies. So are many employer policies at this point.
The point is that most companies present the "value" of the health insurance as much higher than what you could get on your own.
I work as a self-employed contractor and pay my own health care costs. I'm 33 and the most my health care is going to cost me in any one year is $4000. That's less than my car payment.