Whether you already live in the U.S. and are looking to branch out or have recently immigrated here, finding community can be a challenge. Language and cultural barriers can make it hard to communicate and connect with people, and some people find it difficult to fit in when they come to the US. One of the best ways to feel at home in a new place is to find community. Despite having many things in common with Americans, newcomers miss the ability to meet up with like-minded people who share a similar culture and view of the world. And for those coming from more tightly knit communities, this can feel incredibly challenging. If you’re struggling to find community in the US, try these tips below for connecting with people in your new home.
Recreational Sports Leagues
In many American towns, recreational sports leagues are a great way to meet new people while getting exercise or enjoying a little healthy competition. Search your town or city’s website to find information on recreational teams or groups available near you. You may also be able to find adult recreational sports groups online through social networking sites like Facebook and Meetup.com. Check websites and physical flyers at your local parks or a gym if you belong to one.
Learn Something New
Classes that teach a new skill or hobby are great for connecting with others. When people are learning something new together, there are lots of opportunities to socialize and make new friends. Search Facebook events and sites like Eventbrite to find classes in an area of interest to you. Libraries are a great source for finding free or low-cost classes that teach cooking, art, and more. Public libraries are free to join for anyone who lives in their service area and offer tons of resources and entertainment.
Volunteering is a fantastic way to connect with like-minded people in your community. Find a cause you’re passionate about and research online to find organizations or groups in the area working to address that cause. Research has shown a high correlation between volunteering and increasing participant’s overall happiness, self-confidence, and sense of social support.
If you hold religious or spiritual beliefs, joining a faith-based community like a church or mosque is a great way to meet new people and connect with others who share your beliefs or values. Faith-based communities often have built-in opportunities for connection, such as church dinners or weekly religious study groups. Faith-based communities are also oriented towards creating mutual support systems, and many intentionally seek to welcome newcomers.
Sometimes, shared interests just aren’t enough. Being able to find people who share your culture, language, or country of origin can be pivotal to feeling at home in the US as a recent immigrant. Finding people from your home country can ease feelings of homesickness and make it easier to find friends who can relate to your experiences. Searching online for local expat groups, look on meetup.com for relevant meetups, or joining Facebook groups for people from your country or culture.
Even though language barriers and cultural differences can make it harder to connect, it’s possible for people from other countries to make friends in the US. If you get out, talk to people, and make an effort to spend time with people, you are bound to make friends. As part of our Partnership Program, Global Nurse Partners supports nurses and their families throughout their transition to life in the US and offers guidance every step of the way. Learn more about our Partnership Program here and how to take your nursing career to the US.