How to Balance Your Life as a New Immigrant
Last Updated on January 25, 2019 by Estrella
Moving to a new country as an immigrant is very different from visiting as a tourist. You are making this new environment your permanent home, away from the support system you have for many years. This emotional adjustment can be uncomfortable. This article offers some ideas on how to balance your life as a new immigrant.
Ways to feel connected and balanced
There is something about being in a new country that can feel rather lonely. Connecting with others can help immensely. Think of a time when you were travelling as a tourist. When you met other tourists and strike up a friendship, didn’t that feel good? You can pretend you are on extended vacation. This attitude may help you feel more comfortable initiating conversations with strangers. But if you think “if people who live here are not friendly, then I am not going to feel good living here” then you are putting a lot of pressure on the interactions you have.
Find others who share your interests
One of the ways to connect with others easily is to look for those who share your interests. Meetup.com is a good place to look for groups who share your hobby. It’s easier to start a conversation with someone who also enjoys photography, or hiking, or biking. And if you find a group you like, soon you’ll feel a part of the group, and you start to have a sense of belonging in your new country.
Another way to feel connected is to nurture new friendships in your new culture. I want to share a story here. An older couple just moved into their new house. The next door neighbor mowed their lawn everytime she mows hers because the couple do not have a lawn mower.
Another neighborly story. A woman moved into her new home. Her new neighbors helped her carry the boxes inside, and made sure she has soap and toothbrush for the night. The following evening, when the woman came home from work late in the evening, her neighbors came over with dinner. And during a cold winter, the neighbors told her that they just bought a lot of firewood. If the power goes out, just knock on their door and use their firewood. What a great example of being neighborly!
Keep your regular habits
When I travel, I bring my favorite tea with me. There’s just something comforting about having familiar smell and taste. When everything else is new, these habits that comfort us will also help us to feel at home. So do as much of the things as you’ve always done. Eat food you are used to. Find stores that sell your favorite food. Comfort food. Comfort activities. Family life as usual. With this stability, it is easier to feel adventurous with the new.
Networking with professionals in your field
If you moved here for a job, then you have an easier transition already. However, if you moved with your spouse, and you had to leave your career behind, it is possible that you might explore other career options. And sometimes you may be unable to work because of visa status. Even so, staying connected with others in your field can help you get a head start.
By connecting with people who are in your profession, you can learn about job openings, career options within your field, best way to apply for jobs in certain companies, etc. And if you meet the qualifications for those jobs, even if you are not yet authorized to work here, you have already made connections who can guide you in the job search process. Then by the time you get your work permit, things can happen more easily for you.
How to meet people in your profession
To find people in your profession, you can start with the following sources. LinkedIn groups, Meetup groups, and Career-Horizons networking events.
LinkedIn has a variety of professional groups. Join the ones you like, participate in the online discussions so you can be part of the conversation. Some of the local ones may meet regularly, so you can attend one of their events.
Meetup.com has groups of various interests, including professional interests. These groups do get together regularly. Attend the ones you like, and see if you want to be part of the group. There is no obligation to remain a member.
Another organization is Career-Horizons. Matt Youngquist offers webinars on how to create an effective LinkedIn profile. The organization also has networking events. The informal atmosphere makes it easy to talk to others who are also there to connect professionally with someone.
If you are a new immigrant, there are ways to feel connected and balanced, amidst all the new changes. Find people who share your interests, connect with your neighbors. Also, keep your habits that are comforting, so your life feels normal. And connect with others in your profession, whether or not you can work at the moment.
If you find this article helpful, here is another one on How to make friends in a new country.
Estrella Chan coaches immigrants and international professionals in English fluency, interview skills, and public speaking. To schedule a session with her, please email firstname.lastname@example.org