Tips for Immigrants Adjusting to American Life

America earned its reputation as the world’s melting pot long ago, and tales of great-grandparents’ difficult adjustment to life in America have become part of many families’ lore and legends. Globalization and media may have eliminated some of those struggles — new arrivals no longer attempt to eat bananas with their peel — but many challenges still exist. While the most important resource for new immigrants will be a knowledgeable immigration attorney who can help navigate the legal process, here are some tips to help make the transition to everyday life easier.

  • If you don’t already know English, start learning immediately. Being unable to communicate will hamper virtually every aspect of life in the United States, from looking for work to shopping for food and essentials to finding a place to live.
  • Identify the services that are available to you and take advantage of them. There are several immigration and social service organizations that are eager to provide you with the help that you need, often at no charge.
  • Embrace the change and force yourself to engage with your new life. Even those who eagerly moved to the United States likely left loved ones behind. Instead of looking back with despair, look forward with excitement and enthusiasm and remain open-minded.
  • There are many books to help new immigrants adjust to American life. Go to the public library, ask the librarian for help signing up for a library card, and check these books out for free. The more you read the more you will realize that you are not alone and the better you will feel.
  • Take the time to get familiar with your environment, and especially the various modes of transportation that are available to you.
  • Pay attention to cultural norms around you. If at all possible, find someone who has been here longer or a native-born American who can explain things that you don’t understand. Though it may be tempting to find the answer by watching television or on social media, keep in mind that what you see in the media does not necessarily reflect real life.
  • Go to events where you can meet new people from your own culture as well as from others.

It is both exciting and unnerving to be an immigrant to the United States. For help with legal issues, contact our immigration attorneys today.