The FAMCare Blog

Cultivating Connections as a Recent Immigrant

Posted by Kim Hickman on Aug 13, 2021 10:45:00 AM

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Today's blog is written by guest blogger, Michael Longsdon from ElderFreedom.  We truly appreciate him for sharing these helpful insights. 

Any major move can be hectic, stressful, and lonely at times, but a move to another country and culture often takes those feelings to the next level. If you've recently moved to the United States and are experiencing disconnectedness and isolation now that the initial excitement has worn off, Psychology Today says don't despair. You can create new lasting relationships here while maintaining the ones you've made in your home country.

Where To Find Connection Here

No matter how old you are, no one likes to feel like "the new kid" all the time. Once you've settled into your new home, taken care of getting your basic needs met, and completed any necessary immigration forms, you may feel like you don't know where to begin making new friends.

It's important to remember, first and foremost, that even if you feel alone, you are not alone. One of the best things about the U.S. is its diversity, and even if you're not in a community with others from your country, chances are good that they are not all that far away. There are multiple places you can find expats:

  • Online groups: Some websites connect expats through massive global networks, and social media sites host many groups of immigrants and nationals from various countries.

 

  • Cultural events: Search online for food festivals, performing arts and media productions, and holiday celebrations that are from your native culture.

 

  • Big cities: If you're a reasonable commute away from New York City, Los Angeles, Chicago, or another metropolis, consider a field trip there to visit ethnic communities and restaurants.

 

  • Universities: Many colleges attract international students and offer social, music and cultural events that are often open to the public.

 

  • Social clubs: Some communities have social clubs for specific nationalities or ethnicities, such as Italian, Armenian, Polish or Latin American. 

 

  • Houses of worship: Many churches, synagogues, mosques, and temples are country- or language-specific.

 

  • Networking: If you’ve started your own business — which includes creating a business plan and registering your business with the state (go there to learn more about the LLC registration progress) — you can make connections with other people in your field or industry. You may be able to grow your business as a result.

How To Maintain Connection There

Maintaining solid connections with those in your home country may come easier, but it is not without its challenges. Remember that some people may view a move to the United States as a sign that you've "made it" and have unrealistic assumptions about your life and financial status. Be honest with your close friends and family about the ups and downs of living in a foreign country, but at the same time, allow yourself to build your new life without guilt.

When you can, you can help your loved ones by sending them money from the United States to the Philippines through an international wire transfer service. By using a transfer service, you can send funds to relatives in the Philippines safely, reliably and quickly with little to no fees and competitive transfer rates. Many have apps you can install on your phone and send funds quickly, easily, and with minimal (or no) fees.

Why You Need Connections

According to a survey by Aetna International, creating a solid social network is the most important determinant of an immigrant's overall sense of happiness and well-being. Though you may begin by connecting with other expats, don't limit your relationships to only those from your home country. There are many rewarding friendships to be made with people who are different from you. Whether it's by volunteering with a charity or organization, pursuing a hobby, joining a local interest group, or working day to day, you can meet good people with whom you can develop deep connections, given time and energy to nurture them.

The most important thing is not to isolate yourself.  Get out there and don't be afraid to initiate conversations. In your neighborhood, your home country, and community of new expat friends, you can overcome feeling like the new kid, knowing you have a place to belong.

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Topics: immigration

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