As you move through different stages of the immigration process in America, you might feel uneasy about your new environment and surroundings. Chances are, you have already had some new experiences and are learning how life in the United States goes. Since daily life in America can look vastly different than your in home country, at Landerholm Immigration, we thought it would be helpful to offer you some tips and thoughts about adjusting to American culture. For the most part, America is a very accepting place, and most people here are welcoming and ready to assist you (note, some places are more accepting than others, and some political leaders are more accepting than others).
Embrace Your Culture and Share
America isn’t interested in changing you, in fact, you should embrace your culture and practice your personal values, religion, and family traditions. The United States values freedom of expression and speech and encourages everyone to exercise their rights freely. You’ll find that many Americans are interested in your way of life, even if they won’t be participating in your culture the same way you do. We encourage you to share your ideas, traditions, food, and culture with this great melting pot.
With this, keep in mind that everyone has the same freedom in America to practice their culture as you do. There will be plenty of people who have their own cultural expressions. The only unwritten rule this country desires of you is mutual respect and not imposing your personal ideas on others unless they are willing participants. If you encounter a person who is not nice to you or not accepting of your culture, we recommend just smiling and going away from that person.
English is the Official Language
To make your life a little easier, we suggest that you attempt to learn part of the English language.
What you’ll also love about America is that we try to be sensitive to the fact that you might not know English, and usually have resources to help you in your own language. This will be especially true on government documents, the schools you send your kids to, and at offices designed to help you with your immigration procedures. Often, your local public library, for example, will have resources to help you learn English if you want to. And even if you learn English, we always recommend to continue to practice your native languate and to teach your children your native language as well. Becoming bilingual (or multi-lingual) is a valuable skill!
Practice Observation and Asking Questions
Sometimes, if you are unsure what to do or how to accomplish a task, watch or ask questions. Often you can take a step back and watch how other people are doing a task, and you’ll quickly learn how. If a task is still confusing, ask employees, managers, and customer service people how to do something you don’t understand. This is still the case if you do not know English yet. Many businesses have people who know other languages or can usually figure out what it is you’re wanting to accomplish.
One of the best actions you can take as a new resident in the United States is to be aware of your surroundings and respect those around you. You’ll find most people in the states will keep to themselves as they are busy with their own life and daily responsibilities. As you move around at businesses or other public spaces just be aware of your own actions, speaking volume, personal space, etc.
Simple Body Language
Sometimes, the smallest gestures make a significant impact. Even though it can be uncomfortable; a smile and good eye contact is a great way to make a good impression. You can also offer to shake hands with someone, for instance, at a job interview. When someone is trying to help you, give them your visual attention and refrain from using your phone or looking at the floor when you’re having a conversation.
We hope these small tips have given you some helpful tools in adjusting to American culture. We genuinely believe that most people will be very patient and kind, and if they aren’t, there is likely someone nearby who will be. If you need further support, please contact Landerholm Immigration for all of your legal immigration matters.