Living in the US is a dream to many foreigners. It is exciting and at the same time frightening. I have been writing for this blog for a long time now. I have received emails, comments, and messages from foreigners (most of them Brazilians) who would love to live in America.
And the thing all those emails have in common, besides the dream, is fear. Here are the most common fears immigrants face when moving to the US and how to deal with each of them:
“I’m afraid my kid(s) won’t adjust to life in the US.”
Many foreigners who come to the US, bring their families along with them. What I can say about this issue, having in mind my experience living here, is that you don’t have much to worry about… Unless you will be here on a temporary basis.
Kids are more flexible than adults. They learn English faster and they can make new friends faster. So they won’t have issues in any of those areas. But if you are here on a temporary basis, your kids may not want to go back to your homeland. This is a real possibility, more about this in another post.
“There are so many natural disasters in the US compared to my country and that scares me a lot.”
There is no place on Earth that is 100% safe from natural disasters. Can you tell your boss you don’t want to move to the US because you’re afraid of tornadoes or volcanoes? Well, in theory, you can, but you definitely shouldn’t.
What you should do is do your own research about the most common natural disasters in that area and gather information about it, how to prepare if and when those disasters hit.
“I’m afraid I won’t make any new friends in America.”
Americans don’t get a nice reputation abroad. There is this stereotypical American, who is fat, rude, and clueless about the rest of the world.
So when foreigners move to America, they also assume making new friends will be one of the hardest thing they will have to deal with in the country. Little they know, Americans are actually one of the nicest people out there. They are polite and some do know what happens beyond their “own backyard”. So this is another problem that is a not a real problem.
“I want a long-distance relationship with an American, but I’m afraid it won’t work out.”
We all know relationships are not easy. If you throw a bit of culture clash in there, things can go downhill fast. But if you want to make your intercultural relationship work, well, you both will find a way to make it work. No matter what.
You will have to be creative to deal with visa restrictions and other problems along the way.
“I’m afraid of being discriminated in America because…” And they fill it up with national origin, sexual orientation, skin color, and so on.
While I cannot guarantee there won’t be any discrimination. I also cannot guarantee the source that will generate any discrimination, if that is the case.
What do I mean? Most of my readers are Brazilians and I have noticed a pattern of discrimination that tends to happen within the Brazilian community in America. Or with other foreigners, but rarely coming from Americans (maybe that has changed a bit lately though).
I am aware this is shocking, but that is the reality of being a Brazilian immigrant in America. Stop worrying about discrimination and spend that energy on creating the life you want in the US. Something different may happen to other groups of immigrants, I cannot speak for them. I can only speak from what I have known, heard, and seen in the past decade.
If you are from another country and would like to share your experience, please, leave your comment below.
“I’m afraid I won’t be able to adjust to life in the US.”
Unfortunately, that is a real possibility, not everyone will be able to adjust to life in the US. Immigrants tend to be flexible enough to adjust to anything new though. Living abroad is a great experience, but it is not for everyone. And that is why many people prefer to be tourists instead of immigrants. And that is OK as well.
“I’m afraid of becoming a loner and/or out of place in a foreign land.”
This feeling linked to the fear of discrimination. But it is another feeling immigrants have to face. Dealing with annoying feelings and nagging doubts is part of being an immigrant. It is inevitable. And it is how you deal with those annoying feelings that makes all the difference.
Some psychological states are common to all immigrants as well. At first, those feelings are stronger, but as you create a new life, things will improve. Of course, this will also depend on your patience, flexibility, and mental outlook. If an immigrant has a deep negative outlook about his new life, well, they will have a harder time adjusting. It is as simple as that.
Are you a foreigner who currently resides in the US? Would you like to share your fears and how you conquered them? Use the comment box below.