Here are some of the issues that you need to consider before (and for some, abandoning your job) making that all important life decision.

  • Life is difficult everywhere. The west have their own problems.
  • If your experience is in an area such as Management, finance, etc, that is not considered a skills shortage area (e.g.high tech, some select engineering areas, some select healthcare), you are greatly at a disadvantage when competing with Americans for jobs.
      The generally agreed but unspoken rule is:
      you have to be twice as good as a white on a skill to be picked over the white!
  • Racism is still very real, though indirectly expressed.
  • Fortunes can change just as fast. Remember that the Tech boom was just a couple of years back? Think about this: if things changed and employers had to suddenly carry out layoffs, who do you think would be the first to go?
  • If you are in your middle ages (late 30s and above) and have a family, or holding a senior position in Kenya, expect the possibility of a disrupted career growth and lost networking.
  • Your kids may find difficulty fitting in: If you are a parent and have school going kids, and they have to attend schools that are mostly white (as you are most likely to do, with private schools or schools in good neighborhoods (white neighborhoods)-since most public schools in most areas are useless), think about the pressure to fit in that your kid is suddenly presented with.
  • You are at a disadvantage when competing with American Citizens for employment/resources, unless you posses some of the sought after skills
  • That pay may appear huge by Kenyan Standards, but the cost of living is also very high.
  • Culture shock is real. Fitting in can be a real problem to many foreigners. Americans have a high sense of individualism. Forming close lasting relationships is very difficult.
  • The law enforcement is generally very unfriendly to African Americans ( you may be profiled into this category). African americans may show deslike towards successful African immigrants (who they believe make them look bad! )
  • If you ever find yourself on the wrong side of the law and go to Prison, you may NEVER work again, NEVER RENT a reputable apartment, e.t.c., i.e you are forever marked.
  • If you have/hope to raise a family, America is not the best place for raising Kids. The social environment is totaly unfriendly to kids (If you did not know this, then perhaps you have been seeing too many “Happy-Joy-Joy” Movies ). It is especially unfriendly to those with strong Christian ethics. For Born-again christians, your faith may be tried as never before, not to mention that you may miss your African worship experience!
  • Adverse health due to change in environment and costly health care. Your immune system most likely is not used to the gremlins in the west.
  • Too late to move back: If you moved after abandoning your Kenyan job, and realise that things are not working out for you, it is normally too late to go back. Possible reasons: fear of being labelled a “failure”, re-starting again in Kenya can be difficult, tasting the western lifestyle has an addictive effect, etc .
  • If you know of other problems that face Kenyan immigrants, please share it with others.

SO, SHOULD I GO?

    Despite the potential problems, IF YOU

  • are young and/or
  • have nothing to loose and/or
  • have HIGH risk tolerance AND
  • do not care much for your country

GO FOR IT!

BUT AT LEAST KNOW YOU KNOW

 

2 Responses to the USA

  1. says:

    I hope this little article is helpful to people. You’re doing a good thing with this site.

    I really enjoyed reading the article about what it was like to come to the USA – it’s interesting to see my country through the eyes of someone who was not born here.

    Best wishes!

    Thank you for reading.
    Our intention is not to complain about your country -if we did not like it, we would not be here, right?- but rather to try to inform the professional African immigrants of the problems they are likely to encounter once they arrive, and thereby hopefully cushion their fall when they hit the ground.

    What would be even more interesting, is if we could get one who is born here ( hopefully white) who can truthfully and without fear, enlighten the Africans immigrants how the local Americans view them!

  2. says:

    Well, I think you’ve done an excellent job to help prepare them. Your views are very realistic.

    I am Caucasian but haven’t come into contact with many African immigrants – although I know a lot of immigrants of other places.

    Many years ago I worked for an electronics store and one of my managers was from Africa (I’m not sure which country), and the other was from Jamaica. Both managers were highly respected by the staff. The staff was many colors/races/nationalities… I imagine this harmony is pretty unique since, as you mentioned, there is still a lot of racism in the United States.

    Most people will never admit to being racist but you can see by their actions and the different levels of respect they give to others based on race.

    I think right now, especially with the immigration controversy, my best tip is that new immigrants (from any country) need to try very hard to Americanize themselves.

    This does not mean you need to abandon your own culture or love for your homeland, but there are certain things Americans are very sensitive about.

    Because you have kind of requested it, I’ve posted a blog of my best tips to immigrants to be accepted in the USA. I hope you and your readers enjoy it.

    Best wishes!

    http://curiousvillager.blogspot.com/2007/07/mini-guide-to-americanization-for.html

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