How to Cope in America as a Foreigner

Welcome to America! Now what? Where do I go from here? This article will help you master some necessary survival skills and impact specific knowledge requirements helpful towards your new life in the United States of America.

Steps

  1. Expect diversity and all forms of differences as soon as you arrive at the airport. Though sometimes shocking and overwhelming, be prepared to embrace what you see and hear which might be somewhat strange when compared to your lifelong experiences in your country of origin. For example, Language problems (encompass both idioms, slang, and even jokes) can be a huge barrier in comprehending ‘what is being said and what is understood’. Even immigrants from English speaking countries are sometimes baffled to find out that accents and intonations are different and can be very confusing and frustrating when interacting with American speakers. Hence, it is very important to read up on books, listen and watch American forms of media ( T.V, Radio….) to familiarize yourself with the American English before undertaking the giant step of coming to America.
  2. If the money you have is not the American Dollar, it is advisable to find out what the exchange rate is and if possible convert your country’s currency to the dollars before leaving. Upon arrival, notify the immigration officer processing your paperwork on your intention to buy and exchange monies. You might need the change if you will be buying anything on arrival.
  3. Be prepared to see differences from your pre-conceived expected and acceptable societal norms. For example, some cultures where women are expected to behave or interact in certain ways especially in public are shocked to see how different it is when they arrive in America. The overall freedom of speech, association, media and so on should be an encouragement to participate and promote respect and civil interaction as best as you can.
  4. Always have your passport or legal documents on your person in case you are asked to verify your identity for security purposes. Do not give out vital personal information to anyone unless they are wearing a uniform or have properly identified themselves. Be prepared to visit the immigration and social security administration office in your state upon your arrival to confirm your legal status and receive specific information regarding your future stay. Failure to do this may result in dire legal and immigration consequences sometimes leading to extradition or even confinement.
  5. Be prepared to find a job. Job hunting might be sooner than you thought depending on your own unique circumstances. After you arrive and have been deemed legally authorised to work in America, your next fruitful step is to collaborate and network with neighbors and friends in your search to find gainful employment. There are also employment workforce centers all over the state where you are located who will be willing to assist you find employment. Be prepared, however to earn lower than your expectations.
  6. Though, it is very important to keep in touch with family and friends from your country of origin, it is best to understand that the cell phone carriers and companies are out to make money. Do not be caught in the web of incurring horrendous amount of dollars on international calls and then messing up your credit history and your future in America. It takes one small mistake to lead up to a stay of woes and regrets.
  7. Be prepared for differences. The federal and state legal systems may be very different from what you are used to in your country of origin. It may be stricter or more lenient depending on what part of the world you come from. Nevertheless, be aware that being involved in criminal activities of any kind could be very devastating and destructive.
  8. Enjoy your stay in the United states of America

Warnings

  • Stay away from people offering you money for your passport or legal permit. It is illegal to trade your papers for any reason.
  • Always have an identification on your person in case of any security emergency until your legal status has been confirmed to avoid deportation or confinement. Immediately notify someone if you suspect that your legal documents permitting you entrance in the United States have been stolen or compromised.
  • Be confident and friendly, smile and ask questions. Most people are willingly to help you or point you in the right direction. If you have trouble understanding the language, ask the immigration officer for a translator and one will be provided for you. If you are confused by accents, gestures and intonations, simply offer a smile and explain that you are having some difficulty fully comprehending.
  • Bear in mind that no one in America except your friends and family know who you are or what your social, financial, educational or religious status may be. Do not expect strangers to confer titles ( Prince, Princess, King, Queen) that you might be used to or treat you in the manner that you have come to expect or feel entitled to.
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This entry was posted on Wednesday, October 12th, 2011 at 7:04 pm and is filed under Politics, Social. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.