The present paper is designed to show the adaptation of immigrants in the United States. We will include Alison Lambert, who is the representative of the Lebanese nation, was born in Lebanon and moved to the United States country for permanent residence two years ago. The principal issue to clarify in this essay will be whether it was difficult for Mrs.
Lambert to assimilate with US culture and people, what differences she has found between two cultures and how different cultural norms influence her living in the new for her country on the daily basis.
Immigrants in America
A lot of people from different countries come to the United States in search for their good future. There exists a myth that living in the United States is like a paradise, but it is not always so. The presidents of the United States together with other senators promote legislation to confer some kind of guest worker. Many people think that all those bills should not be accepted, because they are immoral. When they invite people from other countries to the United States they show them that they fit only for obsequious jobs that the Americans do not want to do. They think that they are too good for it. When foreigners start working in the United States at first they get miserable payment for the work they do.
There is no expectation that you will rise up the economic and social ladder. There are a lot of bills all over the country which regulate rights of the guest worker. There are points when the foreigner can be expelled from the work and deported back to his country where he will continue his life in poverty. The bottom line in all of them is almost the same. It says that the Americans are not equal in their rights with other people who came from other countries to earn money. The plot is hidden but still it exists.
America is a country that invites immigrants who arrived there legally and who comply with their laws and Constitution, who understand and can freely speak their language. Such people begin their career with low-paid jobs. But such people have a chance to rise into a middle class and realize their dream. Such countries as Germany and France showed their folly of a guest worker economy. Immigrants do low-paid jobs. But now there are a lot of people in these countries who don’t absorb. People do not agree with the social welfare system. Let’s find out more about the adaptation of the people from Arabic countries in the United States by telling a story about one of the immigrants from Lebanon, Mrs. Lambert.
Mrs. Lambert considers family and close people to be the most important in her life.
The principal difference in the family values between Lebanese and American culture is that when one is young, one never looks into the future considering oneself outside family. Family appears to be the core of everything they plan to accomplish in life. American society is more independent in relation to family as a notion. Lebanese people share everything they have with their families, and they grow surrounded by their family members. Their cousins, sisters, brothers, with whom they grow, often appear to be their best friends.
Each of them knows that he or she is the most important person in his or her life, and she was used to grow in such surrounding. What she has noticed in the United States of America and what is absolutely absent in the Lebanese families, and in Lebanon in particular, is the disease which she would call ‘family’ disease. This is the disease which is very popular among American children. In her society family is something which will never let her and her countrymen down. She was very much assisted by her family members when she has first entered the United States. Now she is not only in constant touch with all her relatives, but all members of her family help each other on the daily basis to the maximal extent.
Mrs. Lambert is a teacher; she feels at present that her cultural difference does not prevent her from effective working with the students and effectively performing in her daily life. Her first and probably, the biggest difficulty was the language. She had basic knowledge of the language, but it was not enough to teach students; and in order to acquire good position she had to learn it very fast. On the other hand, the accent is still very visible when she speaks and some students ask her about her origin. She was lucky not to see any discrimination in relation to her Lebanese identity on the side of her students. However, there are many Lebanese immigrants who also came to the United States to work and suffered from discrimination there.
Most of native citizens are surprised on the fact of Lebanese very close family ties. When Mrs. Lambert tells the stories of her life, some of them cannot clearly understand the idea of family being the core of their lives, as well as that one can be so much connected with the family through all his or her life. Her assumption of the family norms influences her behavior on the daily basis, and it is doubtless; it becomes even more vivid in the light of the norms according to which one lives.
When people immigrate they face different difficulties and challenges. The principal challenge for Mrs. Lambert is the difference itself, the difference in cultural norms. She doesn’t think there are disadvantages in her culture. She thinks that every culture has its own advantages and disadvantages. Still, when one comes to another country he or she is a foreigner. The language is the biggest challenge between any two different cultural identities. Mrs. Lambert was faced this challenge and almost coped with it. Yet, she clearly understands that many other cultural challenges are ahead of her.
Mrs. Lambert thinks that it is important to assimilate with the culture of the country one now is living in.
She supposes that this assimilation is inevitable; however, the extent to which this assimilation should take place with every newcomer should be reasonable. Mrs. Lambert’s family was afraid of her losing her identity on entering another country for the permanent residence; and it was probably one of her most important cultural challenges – to adjust to the new cultural surrounding without losing too much of her own cultural traditions. Assimilation with the cultural traditions of the other country often becomes the means of getting stable position and solid basis for human relations.
When immigrants come to another country it is significant and highly important to have a source of strength and support there. It is necessary to have something which unite foreigners and help them feel a little bit be home.
It may sound surprising, but yet family remains the principal source of support for her in the U.S. This is the peculiarity of her culture – not only is the family the stem of Lebanese identity, but it is also not influenced by the distance. She also gets a lot of support from the local Lebanese community. They have regular meetings during which they discuss urgent problems and issues, and try to find solutions beneficial for everyone. It is very often, that the members of the community ask for assistance in solving cultural problems, not only related to the language, but to the misunderstanding of the people they are surrounded by of their cultural preferences.
Cultural identity at times becomes the matter of difficulty in getting assimilated to the new surrounding. Lebanese culture is not very well supported and popularized there, and it is often that Lebanese newcomers appear in cultural vacuum. Thus, this community and regular meetings become the means of supporting those who need this support. Very often people face personal misunderstanding with the native population, and they try to find the way out of the conflict.
In the light of all above said, and taking into account the theories of cultural identity, it is possible to note the following. Cultural identity conflicts are usually called intractable, and thus, they are not possible to be resolved through the traditional approaches. The frames of the individual identity are extremely influenced by the cultural identity and cultural surrounding. The differences in culture often become the ground for the cultural conflict, as the difference in cultural ideas and preferences may be taken by the other side as not simply an outrageous idea, but ridiculous and unreal understanding of the world.
For the better cultural communication it may be suggested, that the attitudes towards other cultures should be more tolerate. The cultural ideas and beliefs expressed by the representatives of the other culture should not be taken as unreal or unacceptable. Differences in culture between people will always exist, and thus for the more effective communication it is important to understand and accept the significance of the traditions, which are valued by the other culture, as well as try to better explain the traditions into which the newcomer would wish to assimilate. However, and what is more important, it is not allowed to break the cultural identity of the person; the difference in cultural views does not mean they are wrong.
The issue of cultural identity was always urgent, and with the growing opportunities for migration, this issue will not soon lose the necessity of being discussed. However, it is important to understand one thing in relation to cultural conflicts: the differences between cultures should not and won’t be erased; they should be treated with tolerance. In conclusion It is important to say that it is up to everyone to decide whether to lead a life of immigrant or not. There are a lot of possibilities to have a nice life in one’s own country where one will be respected. Nobody will look at him or her as if he or she is an alien. One’s country is one’s home one must be proud of it. Everyone must do everything possible to make one’s own country be respected. Escaping from problems at home and going abroad in search for good life and a great number of possibilities to realize oneself is not a way out.
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