Immigrant Housing Recommendations
Someone from another country reached out recently regarding help finding a home for rent. This article is a direct response to help him and others in the same situation.
General Tips for Connecting & Integrating Into American Society:
Connect with locals from your country of origin.
Especially if you or anyone that came with you speaks limited English, getting connected to those that speak your native language, especially those from your country or with direct ties to your country, can be an invaluable resource. Especially in nations with more of a collective culture & less of an individualistic culture, there is a strong bond that can develop rapidly among those who have come from the same nation. There are a few locations where you might consider finding others from your culture:
1. Online localized groups from your nation are one potential source.
I started my search small and targeted on Facebook (i.e. "Turkish in Virginia Beach"). When looking at options, I narrowed to the groups section by clicking "See all" under groups. Not finding good options, I began expanding my search. I did searches like "Turkish Tidewater", then expanded to "Turkish Hampton Roads", then to "Turkish Virginia". I also looked up things like "Eastern Europe Virginia".
I found one group on "Moving to Virginia." In some cases, there are large communities. For instance, there are 24000 members in "Indians @ Virginia." There's a community of 1k called Indians/Desis in Virginia beach.
2. Look for communities of faith that align with your own from your country of origin is another potential source of assistance.
For instance, if I Google "turkish church virginia beach", here is what I find:
Not only is ministry content there available in Turkish & Arabic, but when going to the about section, I find that one of the co-senior pastors was born in Turkey & that there is a Dream Church in Turkey. I also see in the connect section that they have a Facebook community & even a ministry to refugees.
3. Go to restaurants from your nation. For instance, check Google Maps and Tripadvisor, such as:
Image courtesy Tripadvisor
Which produces the following result:
Image courtesy Tripadvisor
If you don't find something in the city you're looking in, check nearby adjacent cities/counties, especially ones with large populations.
Related: SE VA City Information & Real Estate Property Info
4. If you're not seeing many options among the above, consider festivals from your nation if present that are local. Start out with a Google search:
Image courtesy Google
All Events didn't seem to produce anything viable, but in many cases will be a good option for large cities that have large communities of a certain country. For instance, the same search for "Greek" instead of Turkish produces a number of localized event options including a Greek Festival in Norfolk.
Get a social security number/card.
A social security number is an important element of life in America. It's important to get one, and the US government provides information for immigrants about the process here.
Here's some additional information I put together on the subject including content local to South East Virginia, although it hasn't been updated since 2018.
Get a license & transportation.
While there are some cities/counties where you can get by without a license and your own transportation, most homes in America rely on their own vehicles. Whether you get one or not depends on the mass transportation available in your area, the cost of parking, the cost of vehicles, the cost of tolls, your needs to get places, etc. Often, public school buses will be able to stop close to your home for your children in school. Beware of car buying scams. Dealerships will tend to cost