As anyone who has moved to the United States from another country knows quite well, it can take a great deal of time to get acclimated. Everything — from learning a new language and customs to getting used to the different foods, shopping malls and rules of the road — can be simultaneously exciting and overwhelming.
In order to adjust to life in the United States and make the transition to your new home as smooth as possible, consider the following words of advice:
Be Gentle with Yourself
As Rapid Immigration notes, moving to a new country can cause a serious case of culture shock. Some people end up feeling depressed, lonely and angry as they try to adapt to their new home and culture. To help cope with these feelings, it’s important to understand what you are experiencing is completely normal.
Allow enough time to adjust to your new country and, whenever possible, look for some similarities between cultures and citizens, rather than always focusing on differences.
Apply for Your Driver’s License
For many newcomers to the United States, obtaining a driver’s license is one of the most significant adjustments they will have to make. Perhaps you didn’t have a car in your former country, or if you did, the rules were so different you might think you have arrived on a different driving planet. To get around in your new city, it's important to earn a driver’s license as soon as possible.
In order to do so successfully and with minimum stress, check out these free online practice testsat driving-tests.org. The website is also a great source of information on different traffic laws and safe-driving practices from state to state, which will help you prepare to earn your driver’s license.
Learn Our Social Customs, Idioms
Chances are U.S. social mores are quite a bit different here compared to other countries. To help get acclimated to your new home, it’s important to read about these customs. Vanderbilt University recently published a great article filled with advice about some of the many situations newcomers will encounter. For example, most people in the U.S. like to have a good amount of personal space between themselves and others.
In fact, if someone backs away during a conversation, it usually does not mean they aren't interested in talking to you, but rather are hoping to re-establish a more comfortable personal distance. If English is a new language for you, learning our variety of idioms that pop up in daily conversation can also be helpful. Smart-Words.org offers an in-depth list of the most common idiomsand their meanings, which will help you understand what it means to “burn the midnight oil” or when something "really takes the cake."
Make Your New House a Home
A comfortable and inviting home can really help newcomers to the United States adjust to their new life. To help cope with possible feelings of homesickness, consider decorating your new place with your favorite artwork and posters, as well as some family photos taken in your hometown. Stock your kitchen with a mix of your favorite spices, herbs and shelf-stable foods from your old country. If you didn’t bring any with you, ask a friend or family member to mail you some, or perhaps look for stores in your community that sell them.