Arrow sings on a beach pointing to different international cities. Photo by Jametlene Reskp on Unsplash

Starting a life in a new country is a big deal. You'll probably feel scared, lonely, and excited at the same time. I know I did...

The good news is, you're not alone. Out of every 30 people you meet, at least one of them is an immigrant.

Having gone through the journey of starting my life in a new country, here are a few actions that made the transition easier for me.

1. Learn the Language

Learning the language of your new country will make everything easier. You'll be able to:

  • Make new friends

  • Find your way around

  • Do well in school

  • Get a job

A teacher writing on a blackboard in different languages. Photo by Leonardo Toshiro Okubo on Unsplash

Visit your local library to check out books and DVDs, take a class, look for mobile apps like Duolingo and Rosetta Stone to start learning, or hop online to learn with the help of ChatGPT.

2. Make New Friends

How do you meet new people? Well, there are LOTS of ways! I registered for English as Second Language classes at the community college and met other immigrants in class. Here are a few more ideas:

  • Join community organizations

  • Go to community events

  • Pick up a new hobby

  • Volunteer

  • Attend religious services

  • Take a class

A group of friends taking a selfie at a Holi celebration Photo by Julián Gentilezza on Unsplash

The more connections you build with the community, the more people you meet, the more connected and supported you'll feel. You could start reaching out to people even before you move!

3. Be You

It's important to learn how to navigate your new country and try new things, but it's also important to be YOU.

Young woman of color saying

This includes:

  • Staying connected with family and friends in your home country

  • Making new friends who share your heritage in your new country

  • Celebrating your holidays

  • Sharing your culture with others

Three young people are cooking a meal in a kitchen. Photo by Edgar Castrejon on Unsplash

This will help you feel grounded and connected, especially during times of homesickness and culture shock.

4. Beware of Culture Shock

Culture shock is the feeling of disorientation and discomfort that comes from being in a new and unfamiliar environment.

It can look and feel different for everyone, such as:

  • Struggling to adjust to the new culture

  • Feeling homesick and lonely

  • Feeling like you don't belong anywhere anymore (my personal struggle)

Young person sits on the couch in a darkened room holding their head Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

Culture shock is a normal part of immigration. Talk to your friends or find professional help to cope with culture shock.


Ana moved to the United States last month, and though she already has a job and has met a few people, she feels uncomfortable in her new life. What could help her cope with culture shock? Select all that apply:

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Start building a foundation for your new life!


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