Along with the many practical legal considerations involved in immigrating to the U.S., immigrants must also adjust to American culture. This is often easier said than done in many cases, especially when considering the attitudes of many people hold these days regarding immigration. Brown University offers the following tips to new immigrants so they can ease into the transition and begin enjoying life in this country sooner rather than later.
The first step is to understand than are many stages when adjusting to a new culture. When you first arrive you’re bound to feel excited by the novelty of the situation. This excitement can easily lead to hostility as cultural misunderstandings begin to build, which quickly leads to frustration. As you become more acclimated, you’re likely to view these misunderstandings from a humorous lens. At some point, you should begin to feel that your new country has now become your home. However, this journey is different for everyone and it can take years for some people to truly feel at ease.
Keep in mind that culture shock is a normal experience for every person that has left his or her country for a new one. Focus on the positive aspects of your experience when times are tough, as this will lead to more positive experiences. It also helps to understand the social mores in the U.S. For example, most Americans prefer ample personal space when speaking to others. It’s also considered to be polite to be on time for appointments and meetups.
The best way for you to get acclimated is to meet other people. If you’re employed, try arranging meetings outside of work with your co-workers. You can also join groups to meet likeminded individuals and share experiences. Making friends will provide deeper insight into the American experience, while also enriching your life from a social perspective.