The article has been automatically translated into English by Google Translate from Russian and has not been edited.

Personal experience: what can surprise and upset Russian immigrants in America



The author of the blog about the life of Russians in America shared her story.

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Yulia Shipulina graduated from the bachelor's degree and entered the master's program of the philological faculty of the Southern Federal University. True, she never managed to finish her studies. Literally six months after admission, due to an unusual coincidence, Yulia ended up in the United States. Now she lives in Oregon, works on Russian-language radio and blogs about her life. 161.RU publishes the story of a Rostov woman about how she went abroad, what surprised her in a new country and what are the disadvantages of living in the USA. Further - from the first person.

Interesting offer

I moved to the US a year and a half ago. My future husband Lesha and I just met then. He worked for Intel. They decided to transfer his team, as the Moscow office was closed. Lesha made an offer to move, he proposed to me, and we ended up in America. There was a choice: in addition to the United States, it was possible to move to Costa Rica or Stockholm.

Special preparations for the move was not. I managed to finish the first semester of the magistracy in Rostov, passed the exams, took the documents and left.

True, I had to urgently get a driver's license. Otherwise, I would not be able to drive a car in the United States and would be left without a vehicle - in the States with public transport trouble.

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In general, to move to the US, I had to get married, drop out of university and take out a loan of seven thousand dollars. We took things with us in two huge suitcases. A colleague Leshin helped us find housing - at the time of the move, he already lived there.

I didn’t prepare at all for this: I didn’t find anything, I didn’t find a job, a place to study. I brought a diploma and certificates here, made a power of attorney for my mother and arrived. We did not learn English in advance. Lesha knew only a professional, narrowly focused language, I knew how to speak a little bit. Once I had to talk with an American on the phone, and I caught myself thinking that I could not make out what she was saying.

Ordinary americans

There are really a lot of fat people in America. Much more than in Rostov is not a stereotype. I also gained eight kilograms, now I'm trying to lose weight. I think the problem is that all of their cars, people move a little. And eat a lot of fast food. According to the club card, soda is bought in packs in shops. There are no small shops - only huge supermarkets where you can spend 40 minutes even on trifles.

People are not soared about the appearance. A common style is casual. Jeans are hanging down at the hips, visible underwear, gray sweatshirt, sneakers - this is what the average American looks like.

People are friendly. And this friendliness is not false, as they used to think in Russia. There is an openness behind the smile. I once got stuck in the line at MacAvto - the car got up, it wouldn't start, it didn't move. Gypsy from the car, standing behind me, came out, checked the gearbox, contacted someone on Skype and eventually fixed it. During this time, a queue formed, but no one was outraged, did not shout - everyone reacted with understanding and patience.

I began to notice and have more confidence in people. I was driving down the street at night, and then the guys stopped me. The wheel burst and they asked for a jack. I did not have a tool. As a result, she took the guys to a special store, waited there and brought them back. Earlier, in Russia, I would not do that.

Americans are more simple. There are no fences here, people do not close cars, houses, apartments. There are thin doors on one lock, and thefts rarely occur. In addition, Americans have no problems with tolerance, because it is a country of immigrants, a mixture of cultures.

Americans are very religious

US residents are very religious. In this country, many believers, different sects. For example, when the inauguration takes place, in Russia the president lays a hand on the Constitution, and here on the Bible. In the States, many laws are based on it, in every bedside table of every American hotel lies this book.

Here charity is developed. Americans are very compassionate. And the money donate and ordinary citizens and stars. Bruno Mars donated his income from his last concert to Hawaii. "Metallica" in total donated to education at least a million dollars. There are many charitable and social projects.

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In the US, the system is almost socialist in some areas. The medicine is paid, but the insurer pays most of the treatment. Big companies buy insurance for their employees. Although citizens also partially pay for the work of physicians. In general, large sums are charged for the treatment. I recently broke my arm. For the operation and treatment, 30 thousand dollars had to be paid, but I gave only five thousand - this is the maximum that a person can pay per year for treatment. The rest was paid by the insurer. If there is less than two thousand dollars in the family’s wealth, the state does not pay the treatment, but the insurer. Low-income people pay no more than 200 – 300 dollars a year for medical services.

Weapons, Crime and Homeless

I live in Portland. Such news often flashes: shooting in Vegas, then a schoolboy in Florida shot children and teachers. The USA is almost in the top five in the number of such incidents.

At the same time, if a citizen does not have psychological deviations, he can buy weapons in the store. We are talking about an ordinary grocery store: here is a food department, here with toys, and here with a gun. Everyone has it, however, it can just lie in the safe "just in case." For example, a friend has a pistol, he never used it, the weapon is locked. By the way, in our state, in Oregon, shooting without warning is allowed if you are defending your territory.

In Portland there are disadvantaged areas. There are a lot of blacks here, although Oregon is considered predominantly white. Mostly these are gangs. They live in their own areas, divide the territory. There are flourishing drug trafficking, prostitution. Usually I try not to drive into such areas. Here you can break the glass from the car to steal the left things. If I am forced to drive into such an area, I simply close the inside of the car.

I once participated in filming in one of these areas and got into a shootout. So the police do not know how to shoot - never hit. The bandits smashed two cars and a shop window - they didn’t even have a case on them.

There are a lot of homeless people in Oregon. Sometimes this becomes a problem. They do not have the right to stand on private property, but they can be located, for example, in the flower bed of the library next to your house. They stand, stink, smoke weed, yell. Most often they sit in the middle of sidewalks, under bridges, they just lie in the city center, along buildings.

Once we brought homeless. We drove from the mountains, we decided to give a lift - it was interesting for me to talk. The guy really smelled, but we survived it - more afraid that he would throw drugs. It turned out that he was only 20 years old. Before becoming a homeless, he went to college for an electrician. He said that the homeless is his lifestyle at this stage: "Maybe in the future I will not be a homeless."

Work in the States

When I first arrived, I decided to organize a “Total Dictation” here. Another step towards adaptation was to volunteer at the library. I worked there for a year and studied the language at the same time. Then I got a job in a media center, and now I work as a PR manager in the Russian-American theater, I sell performances, I promote Russian theater in the American market. This is a production, we rent a building, theater arts courses.

I also have a morning show on the Slavic radio. It belongs to a large media holding that broadcasts on two more Russian-speaking waves. That radio where I work, broadcasts on the AM frequency. In Russia, this frequency is unpopular. In the US, frequencies are divided in the following directions: AM - chatter, FM - music.

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Russian-language media are not so professional. Russians work mainly with Russian-speaking businessmen. Therefore, all these media focus on advertisers. They can be called more advertising information. They produce a lot of content that is not unique - information is simply taken from the Internet.

When I worked at the media center, my task was to search for information, write texts and find advertisers. There were prospects to make a portal with interesting texts. I asked bloggers to write, made social texts, wrote news about the mover of the Russian-speaking community, interviewed social activists. Unfortunately, it is impossible to do journalistic investigations here, because all godfathers can be offended.

Actors from one of the theaters of Portland

After that, I realized that I wanted to conduct the show. And then a place was made on the radio. And now I have my morning airs, to which Russian-speaking guests come. Once there was a very interesting American. He is simply in love with Georgia and opened a Georgian restaurant in the USA.

It is very easy for an emigrant with a special permit to find a job in the United States. Without permission, it's harder. When applying for a job, it is important to know English. If there is no language and experience, you can go to work in the service: a cleaner, a maid, a driver. When moving to the USA, you can find a Russian community in advance. People help each other. They make it easy to find a job offer. Loaders, cleaners, nannies are always required.

There are almost free language courses in the USA. Twice a week for two hours, volunteers learn English with you. Then you can go to college, get some kind of education. Many become dental assistants. I take English courses in college. They are expensive - 500 dollars. But you can get a grant if you are from a low-income family. I want to go to magistracy here.

I want to finish it, and then leave - either to another country or to Russia. I do not plan to receive citizenship in the United States. For this you need to live in America for at least five years. And I have other goals.

Longing for others and other disadvantages

It is very difficult to get used to another country. This is the most painful topic for me. True, now I calmed down a bit. But it was difficult. I came to the US without a specific purpose. I have and had money, there is a car, an apartment. I work and get cool experiences, do cool things. I can go to study. But it was difficult, because there was no incentive to adapt. And usually they favor the lack of money. The situation was complicated by external factors: a different climate, I started to get sick, migraines appeared.

I am a social person, and I have no friends here, I am afraid to start a conversation on the street. I lost myself, left Russia at the very peak of youthful development. I knew where I want to work. I understood that I want to be known and I want to work in the media: either in Yandex, or in TASS. And there was no specifics. Plus, another cultural background.

Another disadvantage is the longing for relatives. To Russia to fly 24 hours. Even at a distance, you don’t communicate much - the time difference of the 11 hours.

I have often been asked: do you get the feeling that you are inside the movie walking along the American streets? I answer: no, there was no delight and admiration - I had longing and shock. America is not as beautiful as Europe. It's mostly new towns. From architecture - buildings from blocks.

I still have a language barrier. I work for a Russian-American company: I got over short conversations right away, but I'm afraid of long ones. I seem to have a slight accent, but I still worry when they ask me to repeat a phrase.

Problems in the US can occur in an intolerant person, he has a hard life.

Now it is especially stoked for gender equality. Today, for example, I was at a very curious lecture. The lecture was led by the Portland black police chief, who told her how hard it was to work because she was a black woman among white men. Now here they often show which women are poor and humiliated. There is an assumption that the media earn on this topic.

Here, tasteless food, everything is insanely sweet, fatty, high-calorie. I do not like it: you go to a restaurant, and there are mostly french fries, soda and roast meat. In the dishes add a lot of spices, ketchup. There are generally some problems with the products: vegetables and fruits in supermarkets are tasteless. True, it is not scary, because at the fairs, which often take place here, you can find tomatoes with tomato flavor and strawberries with strawberry flavor. In the USA, small business is generally well supported, exhibitions often take place, therefore there are a lot of brands, especially cosmetic ones.

Despite this, I am an atypical example of a Russian émigré in America - I am not distressed, not homeless, I do not fight with reality. I have everything.

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