Moving to a new country is a significant life event and can inspire many challenges, particularly for asylum seekers who may have experienced traumatic events or hardships. For Cuban asylum seekers in the United States, adjusting to a new life involves understanding the legal process, adapting to a new culture and accessing critical support systems.
While doing this isn’t always easy, it can be easier if you approach this process with a plan. Consider these tips if you’re trying to adjust to life in the United States.
Navigating the legal system
Understanding and complying with legal requirements is crucial for asylum seekers. This includes attending all required immigration proceedings. Because asylum laws and rules change frequently, working with a legal professional who stays abreast of the most current information is best.
For many Cuban asylum seekers, English may not be their first language. Learning English can be essential for communicating, finding employment and integrating into the wider community. There are often community programs or resources available to assist with language learning. Online learning can also be beneficial.
Understanding cultural norms and customs
Each country has cultural norms and customs, which can benefit social integration. This can involve learning about U.S. holidays, etiquette or even day-to-day activities like banking and transportation. It may be beneficial for you to find a community of other Cuban individuals who can assist you with learning ways to adjust to life here.
Accessing social services and support
Various social services and supports are often available to asylum seekers, ranging from housing assistance and food banks to mental health services. Identifying and accessing these resources can be critical for establishing a stable living situation and addressing emotional and/or psychological needs.
Seeking employment and education
Finding employment is often an essential step in becoming self-sufficient. This might involve recognizing and transferring skills from Cuba to the U.S. job market or seeking further education or training. For younger asylum seekers, enrolling in school and pursuing an education can also be essential to the integration process.
One of the most important things to remember is that you have rights in this country. Finding out more about those rights and other issues related to immigrating to the United States can help to better ensure that you adjust as easily as possible.