It’s never easy to move to another country. No amount of preparation can really do justice to the life-changing move you’re about to do. Here are some ways to mentally prepare yourself and your family as you move to the USA.
Learn more about the work you are about to do.
Google is your friend. Although nursing and teaching are two of the top professions for Filipinos in the USA, there are other jobs that Filipinos do. Some are in the religious sector while others are in Information Technology.
Look for some blogs and information about the field of work you will do.
More specifically, look for potential issues and problems being encountered by professionals in your field. Read blogs, websites, magazines, and journals about your area of work.
You should also look at the possibility of continuing education you can engage in. Are there seminars and conferences you can attend? Can you pursue higher education while you work?
Know more about the community where you’ll live.
After determining the area where you’ll live, it helps to research and understand what you will be facing. Try to look for a Filipino community near your place of work and residence. There are Filipinos in most states in the USA, although the majority are concentrated in the West Coast (California and Washington state). Look for Facebook pages, groups, and associations in the state or city where you will live.
Another great way to prepare for your move is to read some news website of the community you’re moving to. You can see what kinds of malls, stores, and shops are available nearby. You can also check what kinds of leisure activities you can engage in.
Read books, blogs, and columns about life in the USA.
I am a big reader and I’ve found it helpful to read about the experiences of other Pinoys who found themselves living in the USA. I heartily recommend the following books.
- Suddenly Stateside by Marivi Soliven Blanco – This is a great collection of personal essays by Marivi Soliven Blanco. She chronicles her and her husband’s journey from graduate school and to living their lives in the USA.
- America is in the Heart by Carlos Bulosan
- Also try to read essays and columns by Shakira Sison where she talks about life in the USA.
Talk to Filipinos who have gone through this transition.
If you have friends and family who moved to the USA in the past couple of years, talk to them. Ask for tips about living in the USA. You can be as specific as you want. The challenge, sometimes, for those who have stayed in the USA for 2 years or longer, is they may forget what it is like to be starting out in the USA.
Ask questions about housing, work, traffic, finances, banks and loans, and even the mundane details of life.
I would never have known about the possibility of applying for a Tax ID number for my wife and son if we hadn’t talked to some Filipinos in the USA. In doing so, we were able to save as much as $3,000 in our income tax return for our first year in the US.
Prepare for homesickness.
It is tough! There will be times that you just want to buy a ticket and fly back to the Philippines. You will be far away from family and friends. You won’t have a lot of people to rely on and the process of making new friends is just not the same.
Go back to any experiences you may have where you had to rely on yourself and your spouse alone.
Between my wife and me, I was the one with more experiences moving from one place to another. My father and mother are both preachers and in our denomination, preachers moved a lot. Within 2-6 years, we had to move from one town to another.
It is tough. But I developed some kind of toughness and a set of mental, emotional, and social tools to help me adjust to new cities. I can’t say the same for my wife. She stayed in the same house since she was a child and even when she studied in college, she would go home every weekend to her family.
It was more difficult for her to adjust. I am very thankful that we have neighbors who are Filipino nurses and they have become a community for us. It’s definitely made a difference in her adjustment to our new place of residence.