Immigration after 40: stories of Russian-speakers who started a new life in America in adulthood
Immigration is not easy for any person: everything is new and new, and especially for those over 40. People who moved to the United States at a mature age share their experiences, reports WE.
These are the stories of those who were not afraid and risked moving to the States, despite their age.
Irada Flood, 45, Wisconsin, USA, project manager
Irada was born and raised in Almaty. Now lives in Wisconsin, near the city of Madison. Works as a project manager in a company that provides healthcare services, including IT Health, Care Management and Disease Management.
She dreamed of living for some time in a completely different country, with a different culture and way of life. Therefore, she learned English and applied for the Edmund Muskie program for graduate studies. I went through all the stages the first time and left for the USA in 2007.
During the two years of study, Irada liked transparency and freedom of speech, strict observance of human rights, organization in solving everyday issues, openness and goodwill of Americans, society's values, lack of corruption, and much more. After graduation, she returned back, because she was not one hundred percent sure that she wanted to leave Kazakhstan forever.
She made the final decision to move in 2014 after another business trip to the United States. In Kazakhstan, Irada has built a good career in an international company. She was stable financially and socially. But she didn't feel completely safe.
She began preparing for the move by creating a financial cushion, teaching her son English, and obtaining additional professional certificates and licenses. She clearly imagined that she needed to build a career in a corporate environment, in the United States. She did not plan to work in the service sector in the long term, but allowed this way of earning, in the first months. In 2017, Irada moved to the USA.
Irada had already lived in the USA as a student, so the adaptation was easy and painless.
“But I did not take into account that in ten years the country has changed in some ways for the better, and in some ways for the worse. For example, the food has become better and more varied, and tolerance for non-English speakers is higher,” the woman says.
Since she was educated in the USA, she understood the rules of hiring and clearly knew what she wanted and what she was worth.
Therefore, there were no problems with finding a job. In general, Irada recommends that people who come to the States not judge or condemn, take many things easier, without criticism.
About life in the USA
“Life in the Midwest is stable and measured. Family ties are strong here, just like the Kazakhs,” says Irada. - Americans are easy to make new acquaintances, but also easily break off relations with old friends. I have never seen such friendship as in Kazakhstan. Many expats do not understand how, with such goodwill and openness, Americans remain closed to closer acquaintances.
Tips for those who are afraid to move
“Everyone has to decide for himself. If you are afraid to move or are not sure about your decision, then you do not need to do this. It's better to stay where you like. But if you are firmly confident in your decision and have a good understanding of what you will do here, it is better to use all available opportunities,” she says.
Azat, 63, Florida, USA, lawyer, tai chi instructor
In Kazakhstan, Azat worked as a lawyer in the financial sector. All his life he earned money, somewhere he “ran and hurried”.
And moving abroad became for him a way to switch to downshifting. By this time, he had long been fond of tai chi, his personal philosophy and outlook on the world had changed. Therefore, when there was a reason and an opportunity to go to the USA, he took advantage of them. Now Azat is a taijiquan instructor. It is a Chinese martial art and health practice. Here he made his old hobby his main occupation.
In his youth, Azat was fond of American literature, cinema, and music. He traveled a lot, was in different countries. But I wanted to live in the USA. “This is a huge country that is interesting to explore,” he says.
About adaptation and life in the USA
“Older people are suitable for moving to countries with a higher level of social protection. For example, Canada or Australia. There are more benefits for the elderly, better medical care,” says Azat.
“The USA is a country for young people. Young people can achieve a lot here, work, study, do business, try themselves in different areas,” he says. – But I know a lot of Kazakhstanis who moved here at a mature or even old age. They do not regret moving, even if they faced difficulties in adapting. Those who returned back are few.”
Americans are tolerant of visitors, because this is a country of emigrants. It was created as a special historical project, a multicultural society, albeit on an Anglo-Saxon basis. “By the way, this is one of the reasons for my choice. I also wanted to take part in such a project,” he says.
Tips for those who are afraid to move
Azat says that it is necessary to integrate into American life, learn the language, find a job, make contacts in local communities. You can always find a friendly environment here.
“At the same time, it is possible and even necessary to maintain ties with your fellow countrymen. That is why in my free time I make connections between them: arrange joint picnics and other events, communicate in groups, share useful information.
Many Kazakhstanis in Florida know me, and I am sincerely happy about this,” he said.
Natalya Slavina, 45 years old, hometown — Moscow, journalist
Natalya is the mother of three children: they are 21 years old, 8 years old and 3 years old. They won the lottery and moved to the US, reports WE.
“ It was not a final and irrevocable move, but an attempt to find out what America is. For us, this country was a dream in the colors of Manhattan. We knew people were emigrating to America and not coming back,” she says.
Natalia was already in the States thanks to a business trip to New York. She worked there as a staff correspondent for two years. But seconded people who receive wages, rent housing, provide a car, gasoline, insurance - this is a “different experience”. “It is different from self-arrival,” says Natalia.
About moving after 40
The advantage, as Natalia says, is that we are already firmly on our feet, with real estate in our homeland, with a good financial and social status. “So we can try this kind of adventure, challenge ourselves. And if it doesn't work out, we'll be back. Thanks to this, it was morally easier, ”she said.
“The age factor is also a minus, because we will not be able to adapt like children and youth. Easily understand humor and traditions, take them as your own. We have a different mentality,” says Natalia.
She believes that at the age of forty you are no longer so young to make mistakes, and not so old to say that life has been lived.
“We live a second life due to the fact that we ended up in a different country with a different culture. We concluded that if you run away from a bad life, you don’t have a job, a home and prospects, then you need to move and not think,” says Natalya, “Here, if you are ready to work and work, there will always be work, the opportunity to educate children, travel and watch something new.”
In her opinion, if you have housing in your homeland, a good job, a high social status, a family, then you need to be prepared for the fact that life will seem unsweetened. “Everything is more expensive here in terms of accommodation, food, education,” she says.
Natalia says that on the one hand, the desire to return does not leave. On the other hand, the more you live here, the more you get used to it.
“We are going down this road, but we know that we always have a way back,” she says.
Yerzhan Karipov, 57 years old, Cheryomushki village
You can talk a lot about America, but in order to understand it, you need to come and see it live, as Yerzhan says.
His daughter got married here. He first came to Florida for a month's vacation. But after returning to Kazakhstan, he again wanted to go to America. He and his wife have been living and working in the United States for four years.
About moving after 40
Yerzhan believes that after 40 years it is easy to come and conquer America.
“I arrived at the age of 53. Since my wife is with me, it was easier for us psychologically. There are also many compatriot immigrants here,” he says.
“Domestic tourism is developed in the USA,” says Yerzhan. “You definitely plan a vacation, you go to different states. There is a positive mood around, people are smiling and laughing.”
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 says that you need to be brave, purposeful, with a good attitude to move to America. He works every day and sees something new. “It all depends on the person,” he says.
Yerzhan says that people in the US are the same as in Kazakhstan, just in a different place. You can get used to everything.
“There are difficulties due to the language barrier, since we learned German at school and age takes its toll. But over time, you begin to understand English,” he says.
Yerzhan wants to see the world. “There was an opportunity to travel, to see the USA, Europe,” he says.
Olga Mark Landsberg, 58 years old, hometown — Moscow, entrepreneur
At the age of five, she had a correspondence acquaintance with Angela Davis. It was then that she first heard about human rights in the United States. Olga constantly asked questions to understand this topic.
Then she had a “crazy career”. “I unexpectedly ended up in the USA on a business trip, saw unlimited opportunities and decided to try myself in a new place,” says Olga.
About moving after 40
At 40, Olga made herself a present in the month of her birth. She explained to friends and partners that she was leaving, the family had nothing against moving.
"It all depends on the person. Some know exactly what they want at the age of 18, while others are always on the lookout,” she says.
Olga says that when moving, one must accept that if the law is violated, it will be “painful” and expensive.
“America is a territory in which you can declare yourself. This is a simple and transparent country for understanding,” the woman believes.
“Before moving, you need to be honest with yourself. If you do not agree to play by the rules of this country, it will not be easy, - says Olga. “For example, my parents received a green card, but gave them to the immigration service after a year of living in the United States, as they were uncomfortable living in this format.”
Olga has an international charitable organization to support the education of children from 3 to 18 years old on the planet. It helps children have access to quality education.
He studies Constitutional Law and prepares an education program for the US public school system.
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