When you arrived in Colorado from another country of origin, you may have felt excited and nervous at the same time. If you already had family members in the United States upon your arrival, you might not have felt as frightened or worried as some immigrants who cross a border without knowing anyone on this side. Either way, adapting to a new lifestyle can be quite challenging in many ways.
You might find yourself passing through different phases as you begin to assimilate into American culture and start building new memories. Some people are able to navigate such phases with little difficulty and thereby enjoy a smooth transition. Others run into legal problems or face other challenges that cause great stress or leave them wondering where to seek support to help them overcome the obstacles that are impeding their ability to cope with new surroundings.
When you first move into a new home, get a job, get married or otherwise start living a brand-new day-to-day life in Colorado, you may feel excited that your dreams are coming true. Many people refer to the first phase of adapting to life in the U.S. as “The Honeymoon Phase.”
You have completed your journey and arrived at your final destination. Everything is new, and you can customize your lifestyle to fit your needs and help you achieve your ultimate goals. It’s a very exciting time in your life.
After the honeymoon
Just as married couples often struggle to adapt to daily life after their honeymoon phase is over, as an immigrant, you might experience a similar let-down. In fact, the first phase of excitement can quickly turn into a full case of culture shock, especially if you are struggling with a language barrier or trying to overcome a legal problem that has surfaced.
Culture shock can leave you feeling like you’d be better off returning to your country of origin. It’s helpful to remember, too, that American citizens experience similar stress when they go abroad to live and must adapt to other cultures. A key to getting through this phase is to reach out for support.
Taking one step at a time
Learning to speak, read and write in English is definitely a high priority for anyone who wants to adjust to life in the United States. As you tackle this project, you can begin to take other small steps toward adapting to your new lifestyle. Perhaps say hello to a neighbor or visit a local restaurant, theater or park.
Each day, you may choose one task to accomplish, and before you know it, the U.S. may begin to feel like home. If you’re a parent, you might notice that your kids are not having as much trouble as you are in adapting to their new lifestyle. Some parents worry that this means they will forget all about their native cultures; however, you can make sure they don’t by continuing family traditions and customs that are important to you.
Finally settling in
If you know where to seek support as needed and have people to encourage you along the way, you might wake up one day and suddenly realize that you feel at home. Perhaps you have a job now or, if you’re a stay-at-home parent, you have gotten into a routine, are providing for your children and are feeling confident that you can make a go of it in America.
If problems arise
There are many legal issues that can cause you stress or worry as an immigrant. Whether your paperwork was in good order when you crossed a border or whether you entered the U.S. between ports, perhaps seeking asylum due to violence or other extenuating circumstances in your homeland, you can seek guidance and support to adjust your status or to find help to resolve whatever problem is causing you legal stress.