How To Get Through Life as an Arab American Immigrant
By: Nana Osei/Arab America Contributing Writer
There are millions of Arab American immigrants within the US. Some come for shelter while others come in hope of the American dream. Being an Arab American immigrant isn’t easy so here’s a guide in order to help you survive life in the US.
English is the number one spoken language in the US. However, the majority of people that do speak English actually speak a foreign language in their home. A study shows that over 62 million U.S residents speak another language in their home. English may not be needed in your own home, but in the outside world, it’s essential.
There are many ways to learn English throughout the U.S. One easy way is to find friends that speak English ask them to help you learn. The advantage of this among formal teaching or the internet is that your friends can teach you slang also. Many Americans don’t actually use proper English when they speak and by learning slang you can blend right in!
There are also many programs online that can teach you how to speak English. Rosetta Stone, Fluenz, and EnglishHelper are all amazing programs that can help you learn or get better at your English. If online programs aren’t for you then consider taking a college class to teach you English also
Coming into a new country means integrating yourself into the community. This means you need to make connections and find your place in the U.S. This means you need to put yourself out there and talk to your neighbors. Doing this may seem hard but a lot of people are looking for new friends. By forming a friend group in America you will learn to be part of the community.
Also, try getting involved in your area through either community service or events. By doing this you’re allowing yourself to show you truly care about your community. Not only that but it allows you to form closer bonds with the people within it as it shows you are making an effort to integrate.
If you’re religious try becoming a member of your local church or mosque.
Traveling is something that can really allow you to get a feel of the US. Traveling can be expensive and timely for many, but try to do it at least once a year if possible.
One of the biggest benefits of traveling is that it can help you realize where you truly want to stay in the US. There are over 50 states and each of them is significantly different. This also means that at least one will be able to suit your preferences.
Before traveling do research on the place you’re going. There are many attractions to see in each of the 50 states. Without being prepared before your trip it can honestly be overwhelming. Make sure to look up any events that may be happening during your stay also.
Finding work as an immigrant in the US is not a trivial task. It will require perseverance and patience. However, you will find a job eventually.
The first thing you must do before finding a job in the US is to obtain a work visa. As a permanent immigrant in the U.S, you must obtain a green card. There are many different green cards suited for the type of career you want and the situation you are in; so make sure to do your research. Once you file for a green card with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services then you can work.
One of the most important parts of finding a job is your resume. Put all of your strengths and skills so that your employer can know the best of you. Sometimes it may help to go to college depending on the career you want in order to strengthen your resume with a degree. The biggest thing to remember is to send your resume to as many employers as you can.
Learn to Accept US Culture and Remember Your Own
Leaving your home and moving into another country can be extremely taxing and depressing. However, your life in the U.S is what you make of it. American culture is diverse and exciting. You just have to find something you love out of it and focus on it. If you love food try giving American food a try you won’t regret it. If you like to be active try playing some American sports. America has something for everyone you just got to try.
However, loving U.S culture doesn’t mean forgetting your own. Always remember your roots and your own culture. Do whatever you can to keep it going in your life. Celebrate the holidays of your homeland. Find a group to continue your culture with. There are many immigrants that share the same culture as you in the U.S in which you can speak your language and participate in cultural exchanges.
Don’t Give Up!
In the end, whatever you do, don’t give up! This may sound easier said than done but it’s true. Some days will be harder than others but that’s a part of life in general. However, you came to the U.S which took a lot of work. You can do anything you put your mind into. So, whatever your goal in the U.S is never to give up on it. You got this!
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