You may be someone who enjoys travelling. However, if you move to another country with the intent of starting a new life there, the feeling is very different than that of being a tourist. This blog offers tips on emotional adjustment for immigrants. I hope it helps you transition more easily into a new culture.
In this blog, I will only address the emotional adjustment. There is the language, day to day chores that require you to use a foreign language. Speaking with neighbors, shop clerks, etc. These topics are addressed in other blogs.
Emotional Adjustment for Immigrants
Part of the emotional adjustment is that of belonging. Even if you SKYPE with your friends and family everyday, it’s just not the same. And how do you belong if you are new to the country?
Belonging to a Group
Whether you are an introvert or extrovert, you have interests that others share. What are those interests? Is it sharing recipes? Photography? How to bring up your children? Find people that share your interests. Meetup.com has many groups with a variety of interests. Library events also offer opportunities to meet others. In fact, there are story time for toddlers in some King County libraries. If you have children, bringing them to those events will automatically help you meet other moms. Moms have lots to share about their children. This is one way to start feeling you are part of a community.
If you feel you are too shy to join a group, remember many people in those groups are also shy. They are there because they are interested in the same hobby as you. When you have something in common, communication comes more easily.
Career Transition and Professional Identity
In addition to feeling a sense of belonging, another emotional adjustment is your professional identity. You may be in a field that requires certification here. And getting that certification means passing exams in English. Depending on where your English level is, passing that exam could be easy or difficult. Those in the medical field often face this dilemma. Some decide to take the exams until they pass, or enroll in a college program close to their field. Still others change profession entirely.
If you feel a bit lost in the process of finding what to do next in your profession, you are not alone. There are groups that help with exactly this topic. You can ask your library if there is such a group meeting in their location. Or you can ask the librarian how to find such a group. Meetup.com may have such groups. Workshops teaching about LinkedIn may bring you in contact with others in a similar situation. Career-Horizons teaches how to create an effective LinkedIn profile, and provides networking events for you to meet others who might also be in career transition.
These are just two of the emotional adjustments that immigrants may need to make. Connecting with others with similar interests, and finding professional groups that may share your career transition, will make a significant improvement in feeling supported and belonged in your new culture.
The article How to balance your life as a new immigrant goes more into this topic.
If you find this blog helpful, you might also like this one on Feeling Connected in a New Country.
Estrella Chancoaches immigrants and international professionals in English fluency, interview skills, and public speaking. To schedule a session with her, please email firstname.lastname@example.org