As newcomers to the US, some people like to hold onto the traditions that make them comfortable, while others want to start a new life right away, fully exploring the new culture.
While it is tempting to stay inside rather than venture out into an unfamiliar place (especially if you don’t have an outgoing personality) , you will find that adjusting to life in a new country will be easier when you have a network of friends. All of us need someone to talk to, share stories, and help navigate through day-to-day life issues.
There are several ways you can take a step towards meeting new friends:
- Participate in a newcomer group. The US is known as a “nation of immigrants,” with people arriving from various countries all the time. Depending on the size of the city you live in, you have a good chance of finding others who also have come here recently.
- Try a language exchange with a native English speaker. One of the quickest ways to improve your language skills is to converse regularly with a native speaker. It can be easier (and more fun) to accomplish this goal if you find someone who wants to learn your language in exchange.
- Take dance lessons or an exercise class. These types of activities always create easy-going and friendly atmosphere. You can just follow along until you are ready to meet people. If you prefer music related activities, there are many free or low-cost options to explore.
- Attend local international festivals. Throughout the year, and especially in the summer, you can find festivals of different sizes. Small ones celebrating a particular country like Italy or Germany, or large events with many countries represented.
- Take advantage of your local library. In addition to borrowing materials and participating in activities, you could join a book club in order to practice both your speaking and reading skills.
- Watch local news and read newspapers. These are good ways to improve your language skills at any level and stay up to date on current and local events.
If you find yourself feeling overwhelmed, don’t immerse yourself in the culture right away. Take time to adjust to your new home, holding onto your own traditions and practices. If possible, call or write to friends or family in your country of origin, in order to stay up to date on what is happening there.
We can help you address the challenges unique to women in a new country. Contact us for more tips on developing your support network.