🇺🇸🗽🙂PSA: DIANNE HARRISON: “Still Connected: How Immigrants Can Support Family and Community Back Home”
Still Connected: How Immigrants Can Support Family and Community Back Home
The decision to move to a new nation is complex and emotionally charged. People who do make the decision to emigrate often wish to maintain as much support and connection as possible to reduce the grief of being away from loved ones. Immigrants have many options for staying in touch and supporting their communities and families back home.
Many immigrants struggle with the transition to a new country. Blogs such as Immigration Courtside offer compelling opinion pieces on creating fair immigrant policy. This type of advocacy can influence political change to improve the lives of immigrants. Staying connected and supporting the community and family back home can make a significant difference in the quality of life for immigrants. People who wish to share resources with folks at home can benefit from tips on how to stay in touch and provide varying types of support.
Types of Support to Offer
Support can mean different things to different people. A common way immigrants support family and community back home is through financial assistance. Wages and access to money can vary widely, depending on the area of the world you live in. Often, people emigrate to the United States to have access to greater opportunities for work and income; the money sent home can bring loved ones out of poverty.
Immigrants in the US who wish to assist loved ones back home financially can do so with secure money transfers. If you have relatives in the Philippines, for example, you can send money safely, reliably, and quickly with little to no fees using a remittance service like Remitly. You’ll have greater peace of mind, knowing that the funds you send will arrive without interference from hackers or scammers.
Some immigrants may wish to ship supplies and gifts to loved ones back home as a means of support. Items like first aid kits, non-perishable food staples, and clothing can be shipped easily and safely, while other items are restricted or have limitations. Couriers like Parcel Monkey allow for low-cost shipping all over the world.
If you know of community projects back home that could benefit from support, consider starting a GoFundMe for the project on social media. The act of promoting this cause can also serve to educate American friends of your home country and foster a greater understanding of your heritage and culture. Financial gifts and other goods can be a terrific help to people back home, but just as important are emotional support and connection.
Offering Emotional Support
In addition to normal daily stressors that loved ones face back home, families and friends of people who have emigrated often experience grief and emotional pain related to the departure. We tend to relegate grief as a response to the death of a loved one, but grief can also manifest from the loss of family or friends in our daily lives. It is important for immigrants to maintain contact with loved ones back home to ease the burden and to have meaningful conversations.
Besides sharing big news and events, share the daily details that bring your loved ones a little closer to you. Talk about a favorite meal you’ve tried in the US or share popular songs of your area through YouTube. Use Teleparty to watch Netflix together. Check in with loved ones about their lives back home, including their daily routines and how they are feeling. Try to stay in touch as often as possible, using several means of contact.
Ways to Stay in Touch
Thanks to technological advances, there are many great ways to stay in touch with loved ones back home. Schedule weekly phone calls or video chats to stay caught up in the lives of loved ones, as well as texting and using social media to stay involved. Celebrate home holidays from a distance and introduce new friends to the folks back home through video gatherings. The greater the variety of contact, the better. There are many apps like Zoom or Facebook Messenger that make contact over the miles so much easier and more affordable than ever before.
Being apart does not have to be painful with the evolution of communication apps and features. Immigrants can show love and support for people back home by staying in touch, being involved, and sending financial assistance and packages.
Image credit: Pixabay.com
I’m Diane Harrison, a former librarian of 15 years turned non-profit marketing guru. Although I’m no longer a librarian and have switched career gears completely, I’ve combined my passion for helping others as well as my writing and researching skills to gather helpful health information.
Thanks, Dianne, for reaching out to our immigrant neighbors during these difficult times!