For Immigrants: Top 7 Tips for Moving to the U.S.

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When you move to a country, it takes some time to adjust to a different culture. You may not know where to go, what to do or how to relate to the people who you meet.

I understand these challenges. My family and I moved to the U.S. from Venezuela when I was 15 years old. I spoke very little English, which made school and life in general tough for awhile. I discovered a benefit to that trying time: it made me strong. Even though you can expect some difficulty when you are first adapting to a new place, look forward to the time when you will feel great about your ability to master life in a foreign land.

In the hopes that you adjust to your new life in the United States quickly, we have compiled a list of helpful tips for you.

Language. Even if you studied English in your home country, you may have trouble understanding phrases, called idioms, that locals use. If you want to find out what American expressions mean, the Idiom Site is a helpful, searchable way to find information.

Food. One wonderful aspect of U.S. cities and most towns is you can find such a large variety of foods. Chances are, you will find it easy to locate the herbs and spices you need to cook the cuisine from your home. There are specialty stores and ethnic groceries in most communities. An easy way to find them in your region is to search the internet for “ethnic grocery Dallas Texas “(or the city you live in).  You can also search by the particular region or country, as in “Greek specialty store Dallas Texas.”

Many supermarkets have entire grocery store sections dedicated to ethnic foods and spices. In Texas,  Central Market grocery store chain has a large variety of foods, condiments and spices from around the world. Fiesta supermarket specializes in Mexican and Latin American foods, spices and drinks.  

Farmers markets are another wonderful way to find locally grown fruits, vegetables and sometimes cheeses and meats. You can search for Farmers Markets and other ways to connect with local farmers and growers on the Local Harvest website.

Medica/Fire/Police Emergencies. Call the number “911” (no area code needed) when you have an emergency that requires medical, fire or police personnel.

Libraries. In the United States, most communities have public libraries where you can check out books or use computers (including internet) for free.  You need to get a library card (a membership before you check out books, so make sure to bring your identification and a piece of mail like an electricity or water bill that proves your home address is close to the library. Libraries often hold fun, free events for children, such as puppet shows and story time.To find out more about your local library, go to this website:  U.S. Public Libraries. You can search for libraries in your state and city on this site.

Mail. Find your local post office here: Post Office locator.

Jobs. If you need to find a job, you can visit a local career center. They can give you advice regarding your job search and can also provide helpful information about interviews, including appropriate clothing choices for your job interview. They will educate you on your rights as a  worker in the United States. Find your career center here: Find a job center.

Schools. Public schools for ages 4 or 5 through 18 are free.  Charter schools are generally great educational choices and are also free, but there is often a lottery to decide which students are accepted.  To find out if there is a charter school in your area, go to this website: Locate a charter school.

It is important to note that children must present vaccination records with all U.S.-mandated vaccines before students are allowed to start school. If you do not want your child to receive all of these vaccines or if it will take your child some time to get the required shots, then you can apply for a waiver from the Department of Health. To find vaccine waiver instructions in Texas, visit: Texas Department of Health Vaccine Exemption form.

All the best to you as you begin your adventure in the United States! Please connect with us via our Facebook page where you can post your questions and experiences regarding the adjustment to life in the U.S. along with any other immigration-related issues. you would like to share.

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