Being a Foreigner: Lost in a Sea of Opportunity
As a foreigner, it’s easy to look around and see the difficulties you face—language barriers, cultural differences, and the way opportunities present themselves are all very different in a new country, a place that is foreign to YOU.
You might say that as much as you are a foreigner to the US, the US is foreign to you. Sure, you came here for a job opportunity, or to support family, or to earn a degree, but what’s in the US for your higher self? What is here for your entertainment, your enrichment, your happiness?
Many who come to the US have a singular focus on a goal: career, education, or to help family. But if you do not feed yourself emotionally and mentally outside of work or classrooms, the US will seem as binding as any place where there are no opportunities.
When you’re among people who share different language, different values, and different ways of living day-to-day life, being a foreigner takes a long-term toll. The effects may seem at their onset to be an “adjustment period,” but if you don’t take the time to address what your life is missing in terms of “fitting in” somewhere, being away from your home country will eventually drive you back—degree in-hand or not.
If you want to avoid the painful mistake of isolation, it’s up to you to put yourself out there. Whether you choose to respect your cultural mores of dress and conduct is up to you, and not for anyone to question. But what is up to you is your happiness while you are here, whether you choose to stay for a lifetime or a semester.
Being happy generally means you are at peace with your environment. To be at peace with your environment, you must make a choice to assimilate into a culture that welcomes people just like you every day. From outside, it may not seem like you are welcome, but if you look closer, you’ll find the places and people who not only want you around, but who will be enriched by your presence.
Don’t surrender to staying foreign. Don’t agonize in the idea that you are alone—this is just an idea—the truth is, you are surrounded by a sea of opportunity, and it is filled with only people, not labels. You will find likeminded individuals wherever you are, but it’s up to you to be brave enough to begin.