Helping Students Adjust to Life in the United States

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Take a moment to think about a year of your life. What are some things that you need to do in a week, a month, or a year? You must buy groceries, pay utilities, renew a license, go to the doctor, the dentist, get car insurance, and many other things. But what if you were new to the area? How would you know where to do such things? How would you find a good doctor, a nice store, or a reputable business? You would probably ask a neighbor, conduct an internet search, look at reviews, or use social media. However, what if you were not sure what questions to ask? In this article, you will find some tips for helping students adjust to life in the United States by guiding your students as they adjust to their new surroundings. These tips are based on common questions that you may be asked by your students.

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Identify Key Locations

First, it is important for your student to know where to get licenses, utilities, and common services. Give your student websites, locations, and tips about procedures in your area. This allows your student to feel confident and at ease. Use a tool like Google Maps to help find important locations within your area. Your student will also appreciate it if you help them to avoid any places where traffic is problematic.

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Introduce to Healthcare System

Next, medical care can vary greatly from place to place. It can be overwhelming to navigate through the differences of a primary care physician, urgent care, a dentist, an emergency room, a nurse practitioner, or a physician’s assistant. Explaining to the student about the differences between the type of care and situations that each medical facility provides can help the student know how to proceed in various situations. Identifying special care facilities that a student may need to know is also useful. For example, if a student has children you may want to share if your area has an emergency care facility specifically for pediatric, medical care. You can include a review of body part vocabulary and describing ailments when discussing this topic.

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Direct to Locally Grown Products

Your student will probably quickly find a grocery store. But what if your students want fresh ingredients or specialty items. Introduce your student to any specialty food stores in your area. Many will be accustomed to buying food from local sources. Suggest places where students can buy fresh produce, farm-to-table products, and locally produced items. Do not forget to provide hours and days of operation. Many farmers’ markets do not operate on an everyday schedule.

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Periodically Check In

Lastly, make sure to ask your student from time to time if they need any guidance with finding things in your area. Every person has different needs. Each student is an individual and recognizing that will help you to guide them appropriately. Being aware of the information that is used on a day-to-day, weekly, or yearly basis will provide your student with a welcomed peace of mind.

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Want more tips about helping students adjust to the United States? Check out our article on preparing ESL students for natural disasters.



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