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Los Angeles is the second Armenia: how Armenians live in the USA

The USA is a multinational country. There is a place for everyone here, but is it so easy to settle down in the States and become your own, while preserving your national identity. Successful Armenians told the publication We project about his path to becoming in the USA, about the difficulties of life and adaptation.

Photo: Shutterstock

Levon Gasparyan, 28 years old, city of Glendale, UX designer

Next - from the first person.

About relocation and adaptation

As a child, I dreamed of being a film director and making films in Hollywood. Then he grew up and forgot about it. He lived in Moscow, worked as a UX designer. In 2017, my aunt applied for a green card for herself and seven more people from our family, including me. Of all, only I won.

So I left everything and moved. And when I found out that the relatives I was supposed to stay with live in Los Angeles, I realized that thoughts are material. There were no difficulties during the move. Relatives supported me. Met in Armenian, hospitably. The experience of living in Moscow made it easy and quick to adapt. But at first I was drawn back.

What had to get used to

The USA from films is not the States in reality. After Moscow, the city of angels seemed a village. People mostly travel by car and hardly walk the streets, public transport is not established, many other things that are uncomfortable for everyday life, a large number of homeless people.

It is not so easy to become rich here. To be provided, you need to know the language, work hard. I got used to the USA when I settled in the city of Glendale, stopped comparing, noticing flaws. There was a circle of communication.

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I got an education in IT. When I came here without knowing the language, everyone said to go to work at least at Starbucks or a Uber taxi driver. But I was aimed at working in Russian-speaking IT companies and submitted several resumes. After a successful interview, they accepted me. The salary is small, but it is enough. Working at Uber, I would get the same amount, but would work for days in the car. And here I am in a cozy office with a young team, table tennis, a console and fantasies on Fridays.

How to prepare for the move

  • Financially. I brought $ 5500 with me, and they ended quickly.
  • Psychologically. We must accept for ourselves that this is a new life and there is no turning back.

About Armenians in the USA

There are 500 Armenians in the USA and almost 000 in California. Los Angeles is the epicenter of the diaspora. And Glendale is a completely Armenian city. Here you can rarely hear English speech, mainly Armenian or Spanish. My roommates are a married couple: my husband is American and my wife is American Armenian. Armenians live in the house opposite.

About plans

I plan to live in the USA for the next five years to learn the language and build a career. This is a capitalist country, and you need to come here to earn money. If you are ready to try, there are all possibilities for this. And the final goal is to obtain citizenship.

Anna Papyan, 28 years old, New York City, dentist

Next - from the first person.

About relocation and adaptation

I have been in the USA since June 2019. Arrived out of love for a young man. The main difficulty is the environment. I was faced with the fact that while there are no friends, it is not possible to establish contacts quickly.

Another difficulty is language. I have a good level of English, but life in an English-speaking country is different. You are forced to speak the language constantly, get used to the local slang. This inhibits the adaptation process.

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Adaptation took place in waves. Sometimes you are excited, oversaturated with emotions, impressions. Sometimes you miss home, family, friends. There were feelings of love and hatred for the city, country. Now everything is more stable.

What had to get used to

People here are free and do not depend on the opinions of others, are not clogged with stereotypes. It was hard to get used to the subway, it is strange and scary.

A pile of trash. I have not seen so much anywhere, although I traveled a lot. A large number of homeless people, most of them with iPhone.

The city is multicultural - representatives of different nations gathered in one place.

Everyone rents a house, and it's insanely expensive. A small room or studio in Manhattan per month costs more than $ 3000.

The local government does a lot for people: free services, training, a library, courses for migrants, work. But at the same time, living here is simple.

I am working on documents, waiting for a work permit. I am a doctor, my profession here requires retraining, confirmation of a diploma. Visitors often start with work in restaurants or shops, and then gradually grow. But in the field of programming or graphic design, education is not always necessary.

How to prepare for the move

  • Learn the language in advance. Even if the knowledge is good, you need to organize yourself an English-speaking environment, switch the phone, computer, TV to English. Watch movies, TV shows, read in English. Attend conversation clubs.
  • Think about housing. To rent an apartment, you need to show your income, which is forty times the monthly rent. If there is no credit history, this is a problem. If you have friends with whom you can stay, this is a big plus. Also a plus if there is a person who can act as a guarantor.
  • Take care of documents and look for work options, plan your steps.
  • Save money. It is necessary to calculate expenses for two to three months, until you find a job and begin to provide for yourself.

About Armenians in the USA

There are many Armenians in the USA. This is the third country in terms of the number of Armenians after Armenia and Russia. Most in California, Los Angeles is the favorite place of Armenians, second Armenia.

My environment here is international: Koreans, Chinese, Dominicans, Brazilians, Mexicans, Americans. I am not a member of the Armenian communities yet, but I plan to join because it is a big support. There is an Armenian church in New York where you can come to a meeting and learn more about the Armenian community.

About plans

Confirm a diploma, learn to be a doctor, work and start a family.

Vartan Mailiants, 30 years old, New York City, musician

Next - First-Person Perspective

About relocation and adaptation

My wife and I arrived in New York a year and a half ago. After graduating from the Moscow Conservatory, we were faced with the inability to realize their potential in terms of creativity in our field. Therefore, we moved.

There were many difficulties. One of the main ones is financial. New York is an expensive city.

Adapting to American society was not easy. Even now, we are not completely accustomed to the language, trends, habits. But it’s getting better gradually. There were difficulties with obtaining documents.

What had to get used to

New York is a financial center, rich people live here and everything is expensive. It is difficult to make friendships. We got used to the language and metro for a long time, because it is in poor condition. But gradually we entered the rhythm, we communicate more with the Americans, we immerse ourselves in the local society, the language improves every day.

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Two weeks after arrival, we had the first student, a class gradually formed. We speak at events, weddings, in halls as performers. There were hard times when I had to earn extra money in the subway.

How to prepare for the move

  • Save money for the first time.
  • Learn English.
  • If you plan to do so, contact the teachers and educational institution in advance. Since we depended on individual professors who take us to their class, they contacted them by email beforehand.

About Armenians in the USA

A large Armenian diaspora lives in the USA. Especially many Armenians in California. There are few of them in New York. I have not experienced any significant help on myself yet, but we communicate with compatriots, I have friends, Armenians.

In New York, there is a church of St. Wartan, I met good people there. Soon I need to introduce myself there with my wife.

About plans

We have big plans. We want to develop in our field, open schools, educational institutions, organize festivals. That is, to contribute to the educational and cultural spheres.

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