Adjusting to Life in the United States of America

Two women sit together during an event for international spouses

Welcome to the United States, where there's a lot to learn, explore and love.

You're probably excited about your new home and can't wait to see what life in America has in store for you, but don't be afraid to take your time settling in. Adjusting to a new culture and language takes time, so it's OK to ease into your transition. Remember, culture shock is normal, and most people pass through it within a few weeks. Meanwhile, there are lots of resources available to help you adjust.

Before relocating


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  • Visit the United States Consulate or embassy in your home country. The staff can give you brochures, suggest helpful websites and recommend places you might enjoy visiting.
  • Check out your new hometown's local newspaper. When you're new to the United States, your local paper can give you a feel for the community. You might also find most of the articles published online at the newspaper's website.
  • Look up U.S. government websites. Start with and search for information by category. Next, check out the government website for the state where you'll be living.
  • Find a travel guide or informational book about the United States. These can help you learn more about the culture. Make sure you're reading an up-to-date version.
  • Ask your friends and family for contacts in the U.S. They might know someone who's lived or worked in the United States and would be willing to talk with you about their experiences.
  • Contact your future installation's Relocation Assistance Program. You can get resources to help with your transition.

Once You Arrive


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  • Try to find at least one person you know. A friend or even an acquaintance can help you learn about the United States and feel more at home. This person could also be someone you can turn to in an emergency. Don't know anyone living in America? Try to find a friend of a friend or a shared acquaintance.
  • Get involved with your new military community. Your peers can be a good source of support. Get valuable advice from other service members and their spouses who've been through a similar transition.
  • Be prepared for cultural differences at work. Don't be surprised if the U.S. work culture is much different than what you're used to. Try to be open-minded, and learn from the example set by your managers and co-workers.
  • Do your best to build strong working relationships. Being able to work well with your supervisors and co-workers is an important skill, and it looks good on your resume.
  • Understand your responsibilities and the specific goals of your position. Don't be afraid to ask questions if you don't understand any aspect of your new role.
  • Know who you can turn to for help. Figure out who can answer your questions or give you support if you need it — whether it's your supervisor or a helpful co-worker.

Above all, remember to give your transition time. Moving to a new country may be intimidating at first, but you'll be eating a hot dog at a baseball game and thinking of America as your home before you know it.


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