When you decided to emigrate to California from another country of origin, you may have felt both excitement and anxiety. Especially if you had never before been to the United States, you might have even felt a bit afraid, not knowing what to expect about the people or culture in this country.
Then again, even if you prepared for years for your immigration journey, the reality of the trip might still be stressful. Perhaps, you studied English and learned as much as you could about the so-called “American” way of life. It doesn’t necessarily mean you won’t struggle during the typical adjustment period as you settle into a new lifestyle.
While it’s logical to assume that moving to a different country means you will encounter new customs and traditions, it can still take time to get used to living and working in a new environment. Even if you greatly desired to leave your origin country, you might still find yourself missing its people and its culture. This can cause feelings of sadness and loneliness.
You might have had books, videos, or even an in-person tutor to help you learn to speak, read, write and understand English. However, studying a language in a classroom-style setting and immersing yourself into its use in a new culture are two different things. When you’re suddenly surrounded by people who are speaking English as a first language, you might feel confused and easily overwhelmed.
There are many different dialects of English in use in California and elsewhere in the United States. Even traveling throughout this state means you’ll likely encounter people speaking English in slightly different manners, which may make translating and conversation quite challenging.
Perhaps, your existence in the country you used to live in was one of survival, meaning there was great poverty and you worked hard just to meet basic needs of food, shelter and clothing. Adapting to a new economy can be difficult. Trying to find employment, learning how to file income tax returns and other economic or financial issues may be stressful for you, especially during your first year in California.
You can find encouragement and support by staying closely connected with people in your new workplace and community. Perhaps, there are other immigrants in your neighborhood, maybe even from your same home country, who can help you feel welcomed and more comfortable in your new surroundings.
It is not uncommon for legal status problems to arise for many immigrants, particularly if you crossed a border without having all your paperwork in order. This is why it’s also a good idea to seek clarification of U.S. immigration laws that may affect your ability to gain employment or to stay in the United States.