The Process of Adapting to a New Country 

Group of people walking with painted usa flag

Many immigrate to a new country in search of a better life. Whether it comes down to more job opportunities or education, immigrating can be the solution for individuals or families from other countries. 

While the process of acquiring citizenship or residency is tough, what most people don’t know is that immigrating into the United States and adapting to a new life is a whole other process.

It is important to understand the process of adapting to life in the United States to prepare emotionally and mentally. Cynthia R. Lopez is here to help ease the process for you, from applying for citizenship to making it into the United States.   

Understanding Culture Shock 

Many people who travel into the United States from another country experience what is known as culture shock. Much like the name says, culture shock is the difficulty that people experience when they adapt to a new way of life. 

Coping with and overcoming culture shock can be a long process, depending on the individual. Everyone deals with these situations differently. We’re here to discuss every stage of culture shock and how an individual gets through each one. 

Honeymoon Phase

The honeymoon phase is the first phase of adapting to a new culture. Those who move into a new country are excited about their journey and look forward to doing and seeing new things. Eager to explore their country, they may spend plenty of their time doing exactly that. At first, they are very positive about having relocated and enjoy the newness that a country brings, especially if they are coming from a country that was in turmoil. 

Negotiation Phase 

The honeymoon phase may last a couple of weeks, even a couple of months, but right as the excitement of a new country ends, the negotiation phase comes into play. This is where an individual will start to become homesick and may even have thoughts about what life is like in their home country. 

For some, the homesickness can be extreme and it can make simple tasks very difficult to do such as driving to work, going to the grocery store, attending school or meetings, as an individual may compare how they were doing these same things back in their home country. This can also be induced by language barriers. Individuals who are learning how to speak English will often encounter more difficulties when interacting with people. These individuals may find that others are insensitive to their situation. 

Adjustment Phase 

After the negotiation phase comes the adjustment phase, which is the last phase in coping with culture shock. This usually occurs six to twelve months after arriving in a new country. With time, these individuals slowly become used to their new environment, as they now know what to expect from other people and their surroundings. Their daily activities and tasks become easier to accomplish. 

Additionally, communication between other people might become easier, as they have had months to learn how people speak or communicate within their environment. The country they are residing in is no longer a new and unusual place. The country is their home, where they work, go to school, and go about their everyday lives. They now see the country as a place to enrich their lives, which is why they came in the first place. Once they reach this phase, the longer they will be able to settle and have a life in the country. 

Reverse Culture Shock 

Culture shock can come back through a process called reverse culture shock. An individual may visit their home country or come across a family member, friend, or another individual who is from their home country. When this happens, it allows them to revisit life in their home country. Although, because they have experienced this before, it is easier for them to cope with the shock and return back to a state of acceptance. 

Countering Culture Shock 

There are several ways that an individual can cope with culture shock. They can take classes to learn the language of their new country to better familiarize themselves with the culture. They can also take time off from work or other responsibilities to give them the space they need to adapt. It is important to understand that these processes take time, but the process becomes much easier. 

Allow Cynthia R. Lopez, P. C. to Help You With Your Move into the United States 

Whether you are considering residency in the United States or citizenship, we want to help you achieve exactly that. During and after the process can be difficult for you to navigate on your own, which is why it is best you have a lawyer by your side. Contact Cynthia R. Lopez, P. C. to learn more about how you can apply for residency and citizenship in the United States.