Leaving your home country to start a new life, no doubt, comes with mixed feelings. It’s a great achievement because you’re looking forward to greater opportunities in your new country.
Yet, it can be challenging too.
You’re going to be facing new cultures, meeting new people, facing a new economy and probably unfamiliar weather conditions.
It’s almost like starting life all over.
However, there is no reason why moving to another country can’t be amazing if you know how to succeed as an immigrant and make the most of your new life.
In actual fact, the advantages of immigration far outweigh the disadvantages.
If you’re reading this, you might be an immigrant yourself or know someone who is one. If so, you know that immigrating to another country has its challenges and it can sometimes be difficult to make the most of your new life abroad.
But don’t fret — In this article, we are sharing a number of ways to help you succeed as an immigrant and make the most of your new life:
Let’s dive in right away.
1. Set realistic goals for your new reality
Here you are in this new adventure. Probably, you’ve got so much on your mind and don’t even know where to start.
However, one important thing that will help you at this junction is to set goals. Determine what you want to achieve in your new country.
- You may want to learn a new language
- Start a business
- Or… register in a professional course
Just make sure you set realistic goals that you can accomplish within a reasonable timeframe.
Furthermore, make a plan. Once you know what you want to achieve, map out a plan of action. What steps do you need to take to reach your goal? Who can you ask for help?
Take action. It’s not enough to just have a plan – you need to take action and make things happen. Even small steps will get you closer to your goal.
2. Get involved in the community and make new friends.
As an immigrant, you need to start getting involved in your community gradually. Are there community events or projects open to everyone, do everything you can to contribute your lot as a new member of the community. Of course, you don’t want to overdo this!
Don’t try to force your way through; just let it happen naturally as you start to win the trust of the people around you.
What’s more, you can’t escape making new friends.
Some immigrants start making friends as they chat with attendants at the grocery store or in the shopping mall. You can ask these workers questions about their country and how it’s been living there.
Many of those people will be willing to share insights that will help you acclimatise to your new country. The public library and probably the language classes are also wonderful places to make new friends.
Here are some avenues to get involved in your community and make new friends:
- Join organizations or clubs for immigrants: organizations exist that assist immigrants, and the majority of them host events and activities that are accessible to everyone. Don’t worry if you’re feeling shy; you can research organizations that host social events which will be a great avenue for making new friends.
- Attend community events: Attending community events helps many immigrants start their new lives. There are many events that are free and open to the public, from sporting events to cultural festivals.
- Develop online friendships: Social media is a great place to meet new people. Many immigrants use social media to connect with others who have interests similar to their own and you can use that too. Just ensure you stay safe as you connect with new people online!
3. Respect the cultures and laws of your new country.
It’s important to observe local customs and laws when you first move to a new country.
This may cover observing driving rules and abstaining from taking pictures of any government or military buildings. You need to also ensure you treat everyone you meet with respect. This may entail introducing yourself when you meet someone and giving an older person your seat.
In some places, you are not allowed to whistle in public or make certain remarks in public.
If you observe the customs and manners of your new country of residence, your stay there will go much more smoothly.
4. Make connections – network effectively
Networking is an important skill for newcomers in a country. Trying to succeed on your own can be daunting. You need to connect with other people that can help you reach your goals.
According to Canada-based Eno Eka, Business Analysis Coach and CEO, Global Business Analysis School:
Align yourself with the people who have done the same thing that you want to do and learn from them. Reach out to them and try to build a relationship with them. Ask them for say 5 or 10 minutes of their time and ask them questions. Ask them what they did to get to where they are.
So, whether you are an international student or a professional you need to put more effort into networking. In addition, here are some tips to help you get started:
- Attend immigrant events. This can be a great way to learn about the culture and the community.
- Get involved in your community. This can be a great way to get involved in local politics and learn about the area.
- Join a professional organization. This can provide you with opportunities to network and learn about your industry.
- Use online resources, especially Linkedin, to connect with people!
Eno Eka who featured in one of our Podcast Episodes further said,
I went on LinkedIn and looked for people who were in the roles that I wanted to be. I especially looked out for people who were immigrants like me and people who had done career transitions like me. I remember one of the people I spoke to, he used to be a doctor and he was now working as a business analyst. That was exciting for me because I came from an accountant background.
5. Learn the local language as much as you can
As an immigrant, one of the best things you can do is learn the local language. This will help you communicate with the people around you and make the transition to your new home much easier. Additionally, try to immerse yourself in the local culture as much as possible.
To get quickly accustomed with your new language, use language learning software like Rosetta Stone or Pimsleur, which teaches languages and has engaging interactive exercises. Taking classes is also another avenue that will allow you to meet people and get accustomed to hearing the local language.
As you hear the language spoken often, it will be easier for you to learn and become fluent as time goes on.
6. Learn about your new country’s financial system
You need to master the financial system of your new country of residence so that you don’t make mistakes that will lead to financial losses.
For instance, a country like the US has a unique financial system. It is a system that is credit-based rather than cash-based. This means that in order to borrow money or make significant purchases, you will need to build credit. You might not be aware of the numerous financial laws and regulations that exist in the US.
That said, before beginning your life in your new country of residence, it’s important to become familiar with the financial laws and regulations so that you don’t find yourself in a pathetic situation like debt.
Some things you’ll also want to know are: how do I open a bank account? How do I use my debit card? What is considered fair market value when selling something back to a store? And how do I get a mortgage loan? You can ask other immigrants who have been in the country before you to shed light on these concepts.
They can provide some insight into what it was like when they first arrived and help answer any questions you might have.
7. Find out creative ways to lessen your expenses
Starting your new life in another country can be expensive. Hence you need to find ways to cut your expenses so that you don’t find yourself struggling financially.
One of the ways to lessen your expenses is to watch out for promos or discounts on products or services you want to purchase.
You can also research government programs that offer financial assistance to immigrants. You may be eligible for funding or assistance in areas like housing and food costs.
8. Seek medical help when you feel sick (it’s important!)
Settling down as a new immigrant can be overwhelming. It is very common for immigrants to experience feelings of anxiety, depression or stress due to cultural differences.
If you are not sure where to go for medical help, you can try calling your local hospital, clinic, or doctor. You can also ask trusted friends or neighbors for advice or look online for information on local health care resources.
You need to take your health seriously and make sure you don’t self-medicate.
9. Be patient and don’t rush yourself
When you come to a new country, you are embarking on a new journey. You may be feeling anxious and scared, but remember to be patient with yourself. You will make mistakes and there will be moments when it feels like everything is going wrong. But remember that this is only a small part of your journey and that the rest is waiting for you.
Take your time and learn as much as you can. The more knowledge you have, the easier it will be for you to get started in your new country. And don’t be afraid to ask for help.
10. Expect culture shock, but handle it positively.
Moving to a new country can be an exciting time, but it can also be one of the most challenging things you’ll ever do. It’s very easy to experience culture shock as a new immigrant, especially if you don’t know what to expect or how to deal with it as it comes up.
The good news is that there are ways to lessen the intensity of culture shock while still adapting well to life in your new home. Try not to isolate yourself – remember this is a temporary feeling.
Here are some other tips:
- Be open minded about trying out new things; chances are you’ll discover something that becomes one of your favorites
- Spend time with friends who have been in the country longer than you so they can share local traditions and customs with you – Set up activities ahead of time that give meaning and structure to your day (this might mean joining classes at the local college, volunteering at local events, or planning activities for family members). Remember why you decided to immigrate – there’s always something rewarding about pursuing your dreams.
11. Keep a positive attitude
When you first arrive in a new country, everything can be overwhelming. From the food to the customs, it can all be so different from what you’re used to. It’s important to keep a positive attitude throughout the adjustment process, and here are a few tips on how to do that:
- Give yourself time to adjust. It can take weeks or even months to get used to your new surroundings, so don’t expect everything to feel normal right away.
- Seek out other immigrants. Spending time with people who understand what you’re going through can help make the transition smoother.
Furthermore, try not to compare your current experience with past ones. You’ll probably find some similarities but also plenty of differences, so it doesn’t do any good dwelling on things you’ve left behind.
In all, just go at your own pace and enjoy the journey!
Being a new immigrant can be quite challenging and overwhelming, but with the right attitude, you are sure to win.
Remember to make new friends, participate in community activities, ask questions, network and keep learning.
Finally, It is important to be patient, to stay positive, and be flexible.
Remember that it will take time to adjust to the new culture and life. Eventually, you will find your place in the new community. The adjustment process will not be easy but it is worth it.