By Gloria Martinez
Moving to the United States forces you to split your attention between two communities: the people you leave behind and those you’re joining. This split attention is incredibly challenging, especially because both carry equal weight and importance. As TriniInXisle points out, immigrants need to maintain those long-standing, familial bonds in order to honor their roots and history. They also have to find a place in their new community in order to gain the sense of belonging we need to thrive.
Polite On Society provides some tips for how you can honor your past, embrace your present, and build for your future in your new country.
Support Loved Ones Back Home
Sustaining connections with loved ones back home is, for many immigrants, a matter of grave importance. The Conversation points out that it’s relatively common for people from other locales such as Lagos, Mumbai or Beijing to move to a new country and send part of their income back home to support loved ones. This practice doesn’t just keep you in touch with your friends and family but also allows you to actively support the community in the process.
If you’re sending funds back home, make sure to use a secure and reliable transfer service. For instance, if you will be sending money home to Nigeria, make sure the service you plan to use is available there and that you won’t be paying unnecessary transaction fees or settling for less-than-fair exchange rates.
Long-Distance Communication Tools
You’ll also want to make sure you have some method of reliable communication with your loved ones back home. In our always-online world, digital methods such as video calls and instant messaging services can keep you connected from even the vastest distances.
However, if your loved ones back home don’t have good internet access — or simply aren’t especially tech-savvy — consider using tried and true methods. For example, The Write Practice notes that sending regular letters back home gives you a great way to stay connected and share details about your life. You can include printed photos and even small gifts in your letters in order to keep your loved ones informed and let them know you’re thinking of them.
Finding a Community
There are several great ways to find a community in your new country — ultimately, it all comes down to your interests. For example, you can seek out a faith community that gives you a chance to worship alongside others. You can also take advantage of social opportunities at work or school, as well as join in on public and community events such as fairs and festivals.
You can also see if there are any organizations for immigrants in your area. Not only is this a good place to meet people and find friends, but it also gives you valuable resources that you may not easily find elsewhere. These organizations are great for helping immigrants adapt to their new surroundings and get the support they need to thrive.
Ultimately, seeking out community support is one of the most important steps you can take when moving to a new country. It’s extremely easy to feel lonely and isolated when you’re in a completely new environment. Taking the steps to seek out solidarity from those back home and put yourself out there in your new community will help you build a support network you can depend on.
Polite On Society is a blog of political and social commentary primarily aimed at the African-American community, purposely named to play on the idea that certain issues are not meant to be discussed in the context of society at large. Connect with us today to find out more!