We have heard about the American dream. We have heard about how beautiful and great America is. In fact, some say it is the greatest nation in the world. So naturally, you may think that everything should be easy and perfect. That single idea leads a lot of migrants to over romanticize life in America.
For every migrant excited to live in this country, they have their own set of expectations. Most times viewed through the lens of perfection. They are then significantly unprepared, when inevitable problems give them a rude awakening!
People do not believe me when I tell them living in America is hard. They either think I am lying or trying to prevent them from coming. However, here are my reasons:
- CULTURE DIFFERENCE: It is not even about the language, the culture is extremely different from how I grew up. The mentality, the social life and things of importance are so vastly different. To be successful, you need to thrive in the culture. The problem is that understanding and adapting to the culture takes a while. It does not and should not happen over night. You will make many mistakes and feel left out often. Most people think it is about making money but, how will you make money when you don’t understand the system?
- SELF-IDENTITY: Now you have 2 cultures: a culture you don’t fit into and a culture that can’t work here. So you have to become a “third culture person”. It is easy to get frustrated. It is easy to get depressed or even feel hopeless when your mode of communication, is not received. In order not to feel like you are loosing your identity, you have to take essentials from your own culture and the American culture to create a new culture. Specially for you and your household. This is by no means an easy process! Especially if you have kids. Finding that balance is a challenge.
- LAWS OF THE LAND: You will live in the land but a lot of the “goodies” may be unavailable to you. It is extremely frustrating when the life you want and are qualified for, is within reach but there are certain laws in place to make sure you either don’t get it or it takes you a MUCH longer time. Unfortunately, to break this cycle some people do unlawful things.
- PRESSURE FROM BACK HOME: If your culture is anything like mine, then you will have relatives asking you for money or expecting that you have become this wealthy person. Just because you live in America. They even challenge you, call you lazy or accuse you of not trying hard enough when you tell them you are not as wealthy as they think.
The journey from personal discovery to finding cultural balance to finding acceptance in both cultures, mixed with seeking success can be a challenge.
So yeah, life in America is not easy! What has been your experience? I will love to read it!