As an immigrant, moving to a new place can feel overwhelming, especially to a very populated area such as New York City. Immigrants often move to New York and find themselves feeling out of place or sense a lack of community. Although this can be challenging, with the proper support, it can also be a time of tremendous exploration and growth.
Whether it’s finding your community, dealing with adjusting to a new culture, obtaining a sense of purpose and meaning, finding and meeting with a therapist who understands the struggles of immigration and adjustment can be useful.
I’ve met with many individuals who have immigrated from all over the world. As an immigrant myself, I understand how overwhelming this can be. However, immigration is a unique experience and how one adjusts varies.
Here are some tips that might help in the adjustment process as an immigrant:
Tip #1: Explore the City
People often describe their first experience in a big city as being “lonely.” Given how busy people are at different times of the day, this is not too far-fetched. One way to manage feelings of loneliness is to become more acquainted with the city you live in. Going to a nearby park, local coffee shops, or visiting museums is one of many ways to become more familiar with your surroundings. This might also be an opportunity to meet other, like-minded individuals. What is important though is to do things that you are comfortable with and bring you joy. By venturing out and doing things you find meaningful, you could potentially meet new people and cultivate feelings of belonging.
Tip #2: Search for a Community
New York City is a place with a vast amount of culture. You can find people from almost any country living here. Thus, it is likely that there is a community from your country somewhere on NYC’s map. Try searching for your community on the internet. I am often surprised at how diverse a single neighborhood can be, let alone an entire borough. So, try searching for your community online, you might be surprised as to what you might find. In addition, you can shape your community into whatever you want it to be, as long as it brings you feelings of comfort. A community does not have to be rigid, it can be spread out to different areas in the city and be as little or as big as you want it. What is important is that you find a niche that suits you.
Tip #3: Establishing a Support System
It is essential to find others that will support you through this unique and challenging experience. In this society, people are often expected to be individualistic and learn to do things themselves. Although there is value in individualism, it does not have to be this way exclusively, humans are innately social creatures. And, sometimes we all need a little help. Whether it’s connecting to someone in your community, finding a therapist that understands you, or meeting someone new at work, it’s important to surround yourself with those you feel comfortable with. In therapy I’ve worked with individuals who grew to be an authentic version of themselves and form genuine friendships with others. Therapy is sometimes the first step for some, where it offers a space where they can feel safe and grounded during the adjustment process.
Are you seeking help to find balance while adjusting to your new life in New York City? Do you need assistance in finding your authentic self?
Lucas Saiter is a Mental Health Counselor in Manhattan. He provides therapy for those struggling with adjustment, issues related to immigration, identity concerns, and more. He works in an office located near Flatiron, West Village, NoMad, Chelsea, and Union Square. If you are looking for a immigrant therapist in NYC, contact him today for a complimentary phone consultation.