Debbie Nogueira
By Debbie Nogueira on April 28, 2022

5 Things for English Learners to Know When Living in the US

Moving to a new country can be anxiety-inducing. It can be thrilling. It can be exhausting. It can be wonderful. Preparation is essential for making an international move. Not just packing bags and finding lodging, but also preparing for cultural differences. Moving to the US is no exception. Here are 5 things for English learners to know when living in the US.

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Let People Know You Are Learning English

A main way to avoid major headaches and uncomfortable situations is to let native speakers know that you are learning English upon initiation of verbal communication with them. In the US information equals understanding. If drivers see a "student driver" sticker on a car, they will be more understanding of why that car is taking 10 years to make a right turn. The same is true for English learners. Give native English speakers a verbal "English learner" sticker, so that they know to have more patience with you as you do your best to express yourself. This does not mean that you should say "my English is bad." Especially if it is not true. This will simply come off as trying to fish for compliments. Your English may not be native, but it is not bad. Simply express to them the country you are from and that you are learning English. People will understand and be more willing to help you.

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Know People Will Ask About Your Origin

As annoying as it may become for you, Americans will always ask you where you are from. It does not matter how many years you have been here. They will ask you. It is a normal part of the American culture. An accent to Americans is fascinating. Ethnic backgrounds are also fascinating. Ask any American "what they are", and they will start to spout off nationalities of places where their ancestors are from. As proud as they are to be American, they are just as proud of where their background comes from. Hence the popularity of 23andMe.

Canva Design DAE_LtXQvmIDo Not Abandon Your Native Language

As much of a temptation it may be to completely stop speaking your native language in order to learn English, that may not be the greatest life strategy. In the US job market, knowing a second language is very valued. It makes you more marketable and more valuable to employers. Here a few examples of jobs that are specifically in need of bilinguals, but this is not an all-inclusive list. In addition to making you more interesting in the job market, you should consider maintaining your native language for any posterity you may have. One of the biggest mistakes that immigrant parents make is to not teach their native language to their children. This not only takes away the professional edge that their children could have, but it also takes away the health benefits providing by being bilingual.

Canva Design DAE_LrLlRIISign Up for Language Training at Your Job

If you would love to improve your English is a more formal setting, language training will be a great option for you! Language training is a type of professional development paid for by companies for their employees to grow in their language skills. Classes can take place on company time or outside of the job. They can be in person at the job site or online anywhere the English learner would like to connect to their lessons. Classes can be individual or group and are given by a professional English teacher who specializes in teaching corporate clients. The best part about language training is that it comes at no cost to the student, since it is the company that pays for the training. You might also consider paying for personal language tutoring, if your company is not able to pay for language training.

Canva Design DAE_LsyFg24Sign Up for Intercultural Training

Another highly helpful way to adjust to life in the US is to get intercultural training. Intercultural training is a type of professional development paid for by companies for their employees to grow in their intercultural skills. This allows employees to be culturally sensitive and not commit cultural faux pas. Since culture is best experienced rather than talked about, the intercultural classes usually take place at the student's place of employment. Classes can be individual or group and are given by a professional intercultural trainer who specializes in teaching corporate clients. Consider bringing up the idea to your boss, and you might just start your intercultural training before you know it!

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Want to learn more about American culture? Check out our article called 7 things you did not realize were weird about American culture.

Published by Debbie Nogueira April 28, 2022
Debbie Nogueira