'Whatever you do, the first two years will be terrible': an immigrant from Ukraine gave advice on adapting to America
Vladislav Perepon shared his experience of adaptation after immigrating to the USA in a group for Ukrainians on Facebookwho live, work, study, travel or are planning a trip to Los Angeles.
Vladislav Perepon moved to Los Angeles 2.5 years ago, and only a year can he say that his initial adaptation period has ended. Vladislav won the green card at a time when it didn't make much sense for him to move.
“That is, there was no very strong reason, I was generally happy in Ukraine, I lived as I wanted and I had everything. The move broke my whole life, only because of it I went into business, because I understood that I would not even provide myself with a minimum standard of living by hiring. I was earning about $2-4 thousand freelancing at that time, and in the USA you need at least $5000, and preferably $7-8 thousand. So I was very tempted to merge,” he says.
He saw either an option to leave everything as it is and live in Ukraine. Or start abruptly in business for the first time in your life at the age of 30.
There were no special ideas about how to do it.
Then a partner appeared in his life, with whom they have been working quite successfully so far, this is a commodity business on Amazon, a private label.
“The old life in which I was happy turned out to be broken and in the first year I very often thought about returning. The food is not the same, the people are not the same, relatives and friends are very far away, the time difference is 10 hours, it’s not fucking clear how everything works here.
This despite the fact that in Europe I felt very confident both with the language and in general in terms of communication, - says Vladislav. – It was stressful for me even to buy coffee for myself at Starbucks. I’m already silent about all sorts of documents, gallons / inches / pounds, taxes, a moronic medical system and other collisions with the state.
“There was not enough money, the prospects were incomprehensible and there was a lot of fear”
Now he is sure that moving was absolutely the right decision for him.
Especially upon his return to Europe (a short trip in the summer of 2022), he saw in contrast what a great personal journey he had traveled.
Step by step, he figured out most of the issues.
“I learned where my usual food comes from, how to have fun, I learned how to solve everyday issues, and I made friends. My social circle is now many times larger and cooler than when I lived in Ukraine,” he says. - I enjoy life. Although the first year was incredibly difficult, and the second just difficult - I am where I am and I am very happy about it. Even without war."
“The world outside postovka is very interesting”
Vladislav believes that all the difficulties of adaptation are worth it.
Now his mother is undergoing adaptation - a couple of days before the war, he persuaded her to fly away and now he can tell her what to do to make it easier, faster and with better results than his.
Vladislav says that you need a lot of social communications. Join all groups of Russian-speakers / Ukrainians in social networks, find those who live within a day's drive, make friends with them. Be useful to them, as Vladislav recommends.
Go to all all all parties
“The sooner you start, the sooner the moment will come when you will have more garters than in your homeland, where you really hardly did such work. Emigrants make good contacts, including with newcomers, because at first it’s hard for absolutely everyone,” he says.
Ask them questions, ask for help in plain text
“Sometimes, or even quite often, you will meet and answer your questions toxic assholes. You will read or hear insult, disdain, irritation, xenophobic heresy, passive aggression and other things that can hurt you. Some people forget, especially over time, that it’s hard for everyone at first, and they don’t behave very correctly in a conversation, but forget them and just move on. You will be surprised how many good people are around who will help just like that. People and relationships with them are the main, main value,” advises Vladislav.
Invite everyone to visit. Walk yourself
“Communicate on topics that interest you. Close the distance with those with whom you have mutual sympathy. If you manage to attract into your life, into your inner circle, at least a couple of good people who will become friends over time, it will become 2-3 times easier for you, he says. “Without people, I would not have coped, I would have broken down and would have already returned, I am 100% sure of this.”
“Learn a little, but regularly. Practice constantly, with all the counter cross. Go into every shop and institution and concoct whatever dialogue you can with whatever language you can. Police, hospital, shops, cafes, homeless people, just dudes on the bench,” says Vladislav.
“Hello, that’s my name, I recently moved in with you. What is your name? Nice to meet you. Goodbye." Especially in shops and stuff. Meet, talk. If it’s hard, prepare a text and say it, the same one, to everyone in a row. I know that there is a barrier there, but the more often you do it, the faster it will disappear and a breakthrough will occur,” he recommends.
As Vladislav says, people here are different, but in general they are ready to support a small conversation almost always.
“With whom you see that everything is in ointment - ask to add them on social networks and continue communication there, comment, write yourself. If you do this once in a while, then after half a year you will know many different people, plus you will pick up the language very quickly. Plus - study with a tutor so that there is a good base, - he says. “I didn’t start doing this right away and I’m very sorry, I would have felt at ease faster and would not have whined so much and for so long to my wife, my friends, parents and partners.”
Everyone around Vladislav said that 2 years would be hard, whatever one may say, whatever one does, it will be difficult.
“I would advise you to make a promise to yourself to do everything possible not to come back this time. And do your best to adapt. After that, if you see that emigration is not your thing, you will go back or somewhere else and you will have a cool period in your life behind you,” he says.
Vladislav tried to convince himself in this way. “There were a couple of moments when I was as close as possible to return. I said to myself then - live here for 3 years, you will get connections and a language here and you can go back. Then it will definitely not be in vain,” he says.
He believes that this is a cool experience and there is not enough time to break the connection with the motherland, which can be restored, 2 years is not a long time to return.
“Now 2 years and 7 months have passed, and for 5 months I have been sure that I will not run away from the USA back. Perhaps one day I will return or live in 2 countries. But not out of weakness, but out of strength,” says Vladislav.
You may be interested in: top New York news, stories of our immigrants, and helpful tips about life in the Big Apple - read it all on ForumDaily New York.
He is happy with his new life, he has many friends in the USA, he continues to be friends with friends "from there", he has not lost anything, but gained a lot of good things.
“I live in a civilized country where I have learned what I would never have learned in my homeland. I have no doubt that the move was the most correct decision. For me and my family, - says Vladislav. As for you, I don't know. Trust yourself. I know the guys who made the decision to come back. Find them and listen to their story too, by all means. I did that too - this is point 4.
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