I moved to United States almost three years ago with no clue of how to have a real conversation with a native English speaker. Sure I took English classes in my country, but you don’t realize how effective your communication skills are until you have to practice them in a different language and culture.
As a young immigrant and most importantly, a girl who had no clue of how to do things by herself, I want to share my experience and advice to those people that are starting their lives in United States.
Everything is online
School information, jobs , english dictionaries , phone numbers- are all available to you at just one Google search. If you come from South America like I do, this may sound hard to believe, but you don’t have to drive all the way to schools or jobs to find information; you can simply reach them online or on the phone. From my personal experience, I found my school by looking online and got advice on how to get a job by reading personal blogs.
You will need to have courage
Nothing worth having comes easy, and when you are an immigrant you realize that many doors will be shut on your face. Not being able to speak English fluently and not graduating from an American High School puts you on great disadvantage when it comes to finding a job and people that will believe in you. The great news are, there is a a greatest satisfaction after you overcome all your challenges. Even If you don’t speak the language at all, you will need courage to talk to other people with the few words that you know. It is important that you practice at home, but the real knowledge will come once you practice in real life and make awful mistakes. I had the courage to apply for a serving job when I did not even know what the word “tray”meant. I simply got up one day and decided that unless I try I will never know, since then I understood my every day life in United States as a learning process rather than to think of it as being stationary.
Be aware of your surroundings
Pay attention to the roads you take so you get familiar with your new city. Listen to what other people talk, this may sound creepy but actually listening to other people conversations could make you learn small talk, recognize words you have practiced before and even understand the American social culture. Visualization is important to recognize where you are standing at, and what it takes to achieve your goals in a new society.
These are just some things you will need to have in mind when adapting to a new city. Remind yourself that this is just a stage in your life, and everyone around you is going through some kind of adaptability to a new situation as well. Ultimately, we are all the same, don’t ever fool yourself into thinking that this is not for you. As humans we are wired to survived and find the best resources in times of adversity. I promise you that as time goes by, you will build more confidence and when you look back at how you started, you will believe more in your future.