Welcome to the United States! Relocating to a new country, particularly one with a distinct culture like the U.S., can be an exciting yet challenging experience. As an international healthcare professional, you are not only adapting to a new work environment but also adjusting to a different way of life, as well as a new way of working within the U.S. healthcare system. Making such a life-changing move can be an emotional rollercoaster – something known as the ‘Settlement Curve’. In this article, we explore what the Settlement Curve is, the emotional aspects of moving country, and how to make settling into your new life as easy as possible.
Understanding the Settlement Curve
Relocating to a new country involves a series of emotional highs and lows that are often referred to as the Settlement Curve. It is a psychological phenomenon that international healthcare professionals, like you, may encounter at various stages of your relocation journey.
There are five stages of the Settlement Curve. Recognizing and understanding these stages can help you prepare for the emotions you may experience and find effective coping strategies.
Stage 1: Pre-move excitement about your new life and career in the U.S., which carries into the first few months after your move.
Stage 2: Emotions are high after your move. Challenges, whether big or small, may affect you more than expected. This can trigger negative feelings.
Stage 3: The negative feelings of Stage 2 can lead into Stage 3, during which you may feel like you don’t want to stay in the U.S. any longer.
Stage 4: You decide that the positives of staying in the U.S. outweigh the negatives, and make an effort to make the most of being there.
Stage 5: You feel more comfortable and settled – the U.S. starts to feel like home.
What’s important to bear in mind is that everyone’s experience of moving country is different. You may or may not experience the five stages outlined above. This is a rough guide based on general experiences, to help normalize whatever you may feel at any stage of your relocation to the U.S.
The lead-up to your move
It is natural to experience a range of emotions that can significantly impact your well-being in the months before your move. The anticipation of leaving behind friends, family, and familiar surroundings can be overwhelming, leading to feelings of sadness, anxiety, and even doubt. Our team of experts will help you with logistics such as finding housing, flights, and more to help reduce the stress of these aspects of moving, but they can still trigger high emotions, and even stress.
It is important to acknowledge and address these emotions during this pre-settlement phase. Lean on your support system, engage in self-care activities, and consider seeking professional guidance if needed. As an international healthcare professional moving to the U.S. with Conexus MedStaff, you can connect with your Experience Co-ordinator if you need advice or help with your move.
Remember, it is completely normal to experience an emotional rollercoaster in the lead-up to your move. By acknowledging and addressing your feelings, you can better prepare yourself for the exciting journey ahead.
Upon arrival in the U.S., you may find yourself captivated by the newness of your surroundings. The honeymoon stage is characterized by excitement, curiosity, and enthusiasm. Everything from the local cuisine to the vibrant cultural experiences may allure you, leaving you feeling elated and invigorated.
As time passes the initial excitement of moving may wane, and the realities of living in a foreign country may start to set in. You may encounter daily challenges like language barriers, different social norms, and homesickness. This phase, known as culture shock, can evoke feelings of frustration, anxiety, and even isolation. It's common to experience a sense of longing for one's home country and a sense of belonging.
To overcome these, you can:
Seek support networks
Building a strong support network is crucial to overcome the challenges of settling in a new country. Reach out to fellow international healthcare professionals, join professional associations, or participate in social activities to connect with others who share similar experiences. Local cultural or community groups can also provide a sense of belonging and offer guidance specific to your new environment.
Embrace cultural exchange
Rather than viewing cultural differences as obstacles, embrace the opportunity to learn from them. Engage in cultural exchange by attending local events, learning about American customs, and sharing your own traditions with others. This not only helps you adapt to the new culture but also fosters mutual understanding and appreciation.
Establish a routine
Creating a structured routine can provide stability and a sense of normalcy amid the challenges of relocation. Engage in hobbies or activities that bring you joy, and carve out time for self-care. By prioritizing your physical and emotional well-being, you can better navigate the settlement curve.
Relocating to a new country is an extraordinary opportunity for personal and professional growth as a registered nurse or medical technologist, but it also comes with its share of emotional highs and lows. By understanding the Settlement Curve and implementing strategies to overcome the challenges, you can successfully adjust to your new life as an international healthcare professional in the United States. Remember that settling in can take time. Be patient with yourself, seek support when needed, and celebrate small victories along the way. Welcome to your new home!
Are you a registered nurse or medical technologist looking to start a new career in the U.S.? Apply now to find out how we can help.