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Finding Connections in a New Culture

Most Daily Work job seekers are people who come from different areas in the world, many of which are new to the United States, having been here only a year or two - or less. This also means many of our job seekers might be experiencing culture shock. Culture shock is a normal process of getting used to a new culture. A lot of the job seekers coming to Daily Work are going through the transition of getting used to life in the United States, whether in values, customs, or food. Going through culture shock often results in feelings of anger, confusion, homesickness, or depression. Since culture shapes the way we act and think, going through the process of moving to the United States and learning a new culture can be hard and oftentimes painful. 

Frequently when we as case managers do the initial intake we ask about social and familial support. Many times the job seekers do not have additional people or a community supporting them. Daily Work values being “person centered”; that is, creating personalized support for each individual. Another value that Daily Work strives for is community. Daily Work believes the collective strength of people in community ensures helpful and productive relationships, as well as a feeling of belonging.    

Daily Work strives to ensure that each job seeker has a support system that will uplift and celebrate their culture. It focuses on connecting job seekers to communities they feel comfortable in, whether that means in their places of employment or in their personal lives. One resource that has been increasingly helpful are organizations serving refugees and immigrants in Minnesota, this list is found on the Minnesota Department of Health website http:// This resource was designed as a reference for people working to find community-based agencies that serve diverse communities. For job seekers who are new to the United States and come to Daily Work for assistance, Daily Work connects them to jobs they feel comfortable with, offers help with signing up for ESL classes, and walks alongside job seekers and their families, whatever their need. 

Culture shock is something that a lot of immigrants and refugees experience. It might show up as depression, anger, confusion and more. This is a painful process for people who are new to the United States, however with the help of community, and organizations such as Daily Work, the goal is to be able to alleviate some of these stressors. It is important to understand that being a new person in a new country is not easy, however knowing some basic resources is a way to support our new neighbors. 

An example of this is how Daily Work collaborated with a job seeker to apply for their visa to their home country in order to see their family. The case manager called immigration services with the job seeker to clarify the steps needed for the job seeker to go back and visit their family. The case manager helped the job seeker apply for their visa as well as go over the flight plan, layovers and the different terminals to go to. Daily Work also advocated for the job seeker in their place of employment and assisted in filling out paperwork to receive a leave of absence. The job seeker had not been with their family for many years and it quickly became apparent that seeing and connecting with them was something that would be helpful to the job seeker. The connection with family is something that Daily Work was actively honoring by employment advocacy, assistance in the visa process, as well as going over flight plans with the job seeker. 

In closing, it is important to remember that relationships, community, and the sense of belonging is important for mental and emotional health. By having a community, the effects of culture shock are reduced and the adaptation to a different culture and country is eased. The encouragement is to embrace individuals and families who are new to the United States.

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