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Immigrant Opinion: 10 Good Reasons Not to Move to the USA


Source: Yandex Zen

Living in America may seem too complex and unfair. What is worth preparing for when moving, says Artem Shcherbakov in his blog on Yandex Zen.

Photo: Shutterstock

Everyone experiences immigration in different ways: in one the passage is easy and causes euphoria, in the other it turns into the tragedy of all life. The difficulty of immigration for a particular person is determined by objective parameters: knowledge of the English language, the presence of a demanded specialty, financial capabilities and available legalization options.

These parameters can be measured (quantitative) and evaluated (qualitative): English has levels of proficiency, the professions in demand are known to everyone (programmers, engineers, scientists, entrepreneurs, athletes, etc.), financial opportunities are expressed by a number with a certain number of zeros, and legalization options can be divided into easy / predictable (family reunion, lottery won, obtained work visa, green card through investments) and complex / unpredictable (marriage with a citizen, political asylum, search for an employer in the USA and others).

According to these indicators, any immigrant can be placed on the “bad-good” axis, and the closer a person is to the “bad” value, the higher the likelihood that a Pompeian catastrophe will turn out instead of the American dream.

This article has ten reasons why you should not move to the United States if you find yourself at the origin.

  1. Immigrant complex

The immigrant complex is a feeling of being second-rate in relation to the local population, which affects self-esteem, performance and even health. The complex develops against a background of comparing itself with the environment: they know the language, I do not; they have documents, I do not; they have a good job, I do not; they buy a house, I rent a room.

Not every immigrant is confronted with this complex, but the one who encounters is experiencing it hard, and many describe it as the most difficult period in life.

In my theory, it is the immigrant complex that causes prolonged depression in people moving.

The weaker the immigrant's position in four parameters (English, money, specialty, legalization), the higher the likelihood of an inferiority complex. Ailment is not terrible for the reasons for its occurrence (language can be learned, documents to be received, work to be found, and to earn money at home), but by what leads to loss of dignity and faith in one's strength, which practically deprives a person of chances for success.

  1. Social Downshifting

If a bank account does not please the eye with a six-digit number, and the specialty does not involve a working invitation to the United States, the first time will have to work hard and not always honorably.

The cost of living in the US is high, which means you can eat through the savings of two generations here in a few months. Since you don’t want to spend the emergency reserve, consecrated by your great-grandmother, but you have to live somehow, you have to go to work - and not always the first job turns out to be overly intellectual.

Among visitors without money and language, professions are popular, the owners of which rarely get into Forbes plots: handyman, builder, waiter, cleaner, nanny, hostess, loader, taxi driver and security guard. Many of them have already managed to achieve something in their homeland - albeit with the help of acquaintances, luck or entrepreneurial abilities, but they already occupied a certain social level, which they now have to say goodbye to moving to the bottom of American society. Not everyone can stand it.

  1. Stress level

Stress is the body's natural response to problems, and in limited amounts, it's even beneficial as it helps mobilize. However, the stress faced by an immigrant is several times higher than the usual work or study.

The difficulties of finding a job, settling in, renting a home (you're held back because you don't have a credit history), opening accounts, getting insurance, and surviving in a new environment can lead to clinically dangerous levels of anxiety. I have often seen immigrants who collapsed with fever and other somatic manifestations of stress, simply because they could not cope with their emotions.

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Such “beginner stress” has a double destructive force: it is not only unpleasant in itself (like any super-strong stress), but also catches a person at the most crucial moment when he should be positive and energetic. As a result, instead of a constructive and progressive solution to the problems of moving, a person closes in on himself and struggles with an illness that often takes the form of depression. And depression is already a clinical condition that practically does not go away without serious treatment.

  1. Level of happiness

Every year I read the Global Wealth Report from Credit Suisse Research Institute. The 2017 report shows that North America accounts for almost half of all world wealth.

But does this mean that Americans and local immigrants live happier than everyone else? Optional: the level of well-being expressed by wealth should be reduced by the level of stress and other social problems bundled with material wealth.

The rise in the standard of living, which is usually accompanied by a move to the United States (unless an immigrant leaves Switzerland or Denmark, which, you see, is a very rare scenario), does not always compensate for the increase in stress levels. Since happiness is a subjective matter, depending on many factors, a person can evaluate it only after the fact. Many immigrants after a while notice that there was more joy in their lives before moving. So is this the main thing?

  1. Social Integration and Language

Have you ever felt invisible, not even capable of minimal social interaction? If not yet, welcome to the wonderful world of an immigrant who does not speak English.

Language is not only a way of communication, but also a basic component of personality: if you cannot speak fluently, then become a dull version of yourself. Until recently, at a party, you could generate a joke in a fraction of a second that caused the whole company to dislike, and now you are forced to speak at the intellectual level of a three-year-old child and with the quickness of a hundred-year-old turtle.

Ignorance of the English language deprives you of the possibility of full social integration. The old Maslow will not let you lie: once you are full, healthy and protected, you need love and recognition that are difficult to find in a new country.

  1. Legalization difficulties

Legalization in the USA is not only a problem of weapons, drugs and same-sex marriage, which you hear about in the news, but also the immigrant receiving the necessary documents: work permits, social security numbers, resident cards and citizenship.

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Immigration opportunities are different for everyone: someone wins the lottery, someone gets a job offer (and an immigrant visa), someone joins a relative who has already become a US citizen. It is much more difficult for those who begin legalization already in the United States. The options for such people are limited, and they are usually forced to look for a marriage partner, apply for political asylum, or (it's scary to say out loud, but I have to) stay in the US illegally.

Such people stay in limbo for a long time: for some, the process of obtaining documents takes 10 years. At the same time, there are no guarantees of a positive decision, and in case of refusal the applicant is forced to return to his home country, although over the years he has already managed to settle in a new place. This can not be called anything other than tragedy: a person loses the most valuable and limited resource - years of life.

  1. Retraining costs

I know several universal professions all over the world: programmer, chef, taxi driver, waiter. But what about doctors, lawyers and engineers whose skills are tied to a specific country, laws, standards, technology and language?

They have a long and not always cheap retraining process. He will be lucky if he confines himself to testing and obtaining a license, but some specialists will have to go through the whole process of learning and master a whole layer of new knowledge.

Retraining costs - a net loss of time, money and effort aimed at obtaining a profession that you already own, but in a new country. For some people, these costs can amount to hundreds of thousands of dollars (imagine, for example, a lawyer or surgeon) and are an important factor in deciding whether to move.

  1. Immigrant Handicap

The life of an adult is not only study, work, family and leisure, but also a huge amount of “metadata”: our connections, acquaintances, convenient ways of solving typical problems and habits. A person begins to acquire connections in school, continues at the university, and finally forms an environment when entering into adulthood.

An immigrant, unless he arrives on the soil prepared by his relatives, is forced to look for contacts again.

Which clinic is better to contact? In which area to rent a house? Where to find a good lawyer and realtor? In part, these problems are solved by the Internet and social networks, but, losing a huge array of “metadata”, a person in any case feels less protected.

  1. Contradictions and Security

With apparent prosperity, the United States is a country full of contradictions and conflicts: 325 million people share the same territory, but they have different political beliefs, religious views, cultural backgrounds, skin color and ethnic origin. And although the American society, built on the principles of respect and tolerance, digests most of the problems, some still get out, including in the form of crime and terrorist acts.

The problem of massacres in America is exaggerated by the effect of the media multiplier, but it still exists. According to the statistics of murders in terms of population, we occupy a place near Albania, the Niger and Turkmenistan.

This is not to say that it is dangerous in the USA. But it can be said that in the USA it is not safe.

  1. Homesickness

If you don't value your homeland and only read about nostalgic feelings in books, the best way to experience both is to become an immigrant. Longing comes at different times, but for most, sooner or later, it still happens.

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Homeland is not only a territorial unit on the world map and a record in the birth certificate, but also a whole complex of sociocultural experiences: people, sounds, smells, places, events, culture, customs, holidays, memories, humor, cuisine, love, fear, taxi drivers, ice, first sex.

Most of the significant events in your life — bad or good — are most likely related to your homeland.

Many Russians, after moving to America, deny involvement in the culture and the presence of the Russian matrix, but this does not prevent the Russian matrix from remaining in them and from time to time give voice in the form of attacks of nostalgia.

Moving to the USA is probably the most serious decision in your life. To make it true, you cannot build it on illusions.

The original column is published on Artyom Shcherbakov’s blog on Yandex Zen

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