*Guest post by Marcus Lansky
It isn’t easy for people to connect to something that is very different from what they know. It can be even harder for women of a certain age. The following article may give people new to the country and those that have always called the United States home a way to connect with their communities.
If you are an immigrant who has just arrived in the United States, you may feel anxious, confused, or off-center as you try to navigate the ins and outs of a new culture. Some people may have it a little bit easier if they come from another predominantly English-speaking country, such as Canada or Australia, while many immigrants will deal with learning a new language in addition to a new culture.
Fortunately, there are several ways in which immigrants can find a place in their new culture while keeping their ties to their home country and supporting relatives that may not be as financially fortunate. Below are three ideas for connecting to your new culture while maintaining your bonds with your old one.
1. Help Others Through Volunteering
Choosing to volunteer may initially seem like you are signing up for an extra job if you’re an immigrant who is already working hard to support your family in your new country as well as back home. But finding a high-quality volunteer program that supports the local community can increase your awareness of the local assistance options, and, according to World Education Services be a great way to give back.
Choose a mission you respect or one you identify with. Immigrants from refugee countries may want to help others with refugee status, while LGBTQ+ immigrants may want to focus on organizing resources for members of the LGBTQ+ community who need help or specialized services.
2. Give Back by Teaching
If you are feeling out of place there are likely many people in your new town or city who would love to learn about your culture or your language. Consider teaching a class about language or cultural issues at a library, church group, or community center to spread awareness of immigrant issues and develop connections with locals. By doing this, you will make friends and forge ties with your new community by increasing their awareness of other parts of the world.
3. Get In Touch With Other Immigrants
It’s often easiest to face new situations with others who are dealing with the same issues. According to Noba’s psychology module, this is why our culture starts groups for exercising, parenting, dieting, and more. If you have been in the country for a while, or if you feel relatively confident in your skills navigating your new area, going to the grocery store, and signing up for a bank account, consider giving back to your community by offering to be a type of mentor or local guide for other new immigrants who may not yet speak English or have learned the same skills.
Staying in touch with friends and loved ones back home can also be vital to your well-being as you adapt to life in your new country. For example, you could utilize video chat services like Zoom to stay in touch. And if you’d like to support your family financially, you can send them money safely and reliably through a service like Remitly.
If you’re considering starting your own business to be able to send more funds to family in the home country, there are a few “first” steps to take like setting up payroll. First, you will need to determine what your payroll schedule will be. Then collect Form W-4 from your new hires — you’ll need that information to set up each employee’s paycheck withholdings. Using software like QuickBooks Payroll makes the process a lot easier, and it allows you to avert penalties by meeting IRS deadlines. Another wise idea is to connect with a financial advisor who can help you better understand proper processes and tools for your particular business.
Being an immigrant, especially if you do not speak the local language fluently, can be
challenging. With the right help, you will find your place in your new community, and you can start developing connections, making new friends, and eventually giving back to the place that you now call home. You may be new to the country, but with a little imagination and willpower, you too will know “thisisyourbestyear.
*Marcus Lansky is an abilitator who helps people with differing abilities start their own businesses through training and/or mentorship.