Life is definitely a series of ever-changing events. If you’re one of many immigrants in Kentucky, you and your family may be going through some significant changes as you transition from life in another country of origin to life in the United States. At any given moment, you might feel excited and happy or worried and stressed, depending on the circumstances of your immediate environment and your long-term goals.

The more aware you are ahead of time of the types of challenges most immigrants encounter when they come to the U.S., the better prepared you might be to know where to seek support and help your family members cope with adapting to their new lifestyle. In addition to cultural and personal challenges, legal obstacles might arise, in which case it is even more important to know what types of resources are accessible to you to help you resolve problem issues.

Top three challenge issues

The good news is that many advocate networks specialize in providing guidance and support to Kentucky immigrants and others. The following list includes several issues such advocates say are most common when families from abroad are adjusting to life in the U.S.:

  • Acculturative stress can occur when you try to retain your own customs and traditions to which you were accustomed in the land from which you emigrated but also try to immerse yourself in American culture. It can be challenging and quite stressful to find a balance.
  • Sadly, discrimination is often a reality as immigrants adapt to a new culture. Feeling that you are not welcome or that others are biased against you because of your ethnic background, race or other personal issues can certainly make your beginning weeks or months in the United States a trying experience.
  • If you fled your country of origin due to violence, persecution or poverty, you may be experiencing the after-effects of severe emotional trauma. You may also find it traumatic to face so many new situations, such as learning a new language, changes in food and simply encountering so many new and unfamiliar people every day.

If you have children, you may notice them struggling to adapt to their new school environment, especially if they happen to attend a school where the immigrant population is low. It is helpful to try to connect with others who have traveled similar paths but also helpful to try to make new friendships with people you can trust to provide encouragement and support as your family builds a new life in Kentucky.

Addressing other problems

You may be staying in the U.S. on a temporary visa, under a protected status or planning to take a test for naturalized citizenship. Every person’s situation is unique. Because U.S. immigration laws are complex and change often, it is not uncommon for people in similar situations to run into legal status trouble. There are advocates in this state and others who are experienced in helping immigrants navigate the legal system who can determine the best course of action if a problem arises.