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How Long Does It Take Expatriates To Get Used To Living In America?

How Long Does It Take To Learn A New LanguageExpatriates who move to America will settle in at a different pace. This will depend on many factors. But how long, on average, does it take expatriates to settle into living in America?

Language

Unless the expatriate has moved from another English-speaking country such as Canada, the UK, Australia or New Zealand, the language barrier will not be an easy one to overcome for new immigrants in America. English is essential for expatriates to be able to function properly within the workplace, when opening a bank account and even in smaller matters such as when complaining about poor customer service while out shopping. Without a good grasp of English expatriates will feel very isolated and unable to understand the American culture as quickly and as easily as native English-speaking expatriates.

Visit America

It helps if the expatriate has visited America before, even if the state they have visited is far from the location where they eventually move to. Visiting America before settling down can help to dispel some myths about the country and make it seem more familiar and inviting rather than seeing it for the first time after moving to the country.

Assimilation

There is nothing wrong with expatriates keeping hold of their culture and national origins, but they must also learn to accept a new way of life and that means that they will have to learn to assimilate into American society. The sooner they do so, the easier it will be to settle into expatriate life in America. Assimilation does not mean that the expatriate agrees with or accepts all that they see and experience. That would be too far-fetched. It simply means that the expatriate becomes accustomed to a new way of life and learns to gradually live amicably in adopted country.

There is no set time frame that dictates how long it takes for expatriates to settle down and get used to living in America. So many aspects of the American culture will seem strange and foreign for years to come and other parts of the culture may never be fully overcome. The expatriate can do much to help themselves by looking for the good in their adopted land, rather than looking back and longing for what they left behind. That will hinder the settling down process and make it much harder to handle. For some expatriates, a 12 month period is all that it takes to settle down into expatriate life. But for others, it will take many years to feel that they are really at home.

By Sophie Spyrou - Sophie has been writing for the Yahoo! Contributor Network since may 2007. She has used her personal experience to share her knowledge about the UK culture, travel, pet-related content, expatriate life and i...  

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