Ask Your American Friend Advice Column

New to the United States and confused by its culture? In a social or professional situation you’re not quite sure how to handle? Or looking for a solution to a problem but having trouble finding it? Ask Your American Friend to help you!

Ask Your American Friend is a free advice column written by Laura Marenco (below right), the founder of Golden Beacon USA, to answer questions from immigrants and refugees about life in their newly adopted country.

To submit a question, e-mail Laura at with American Friend in the subject line.

Please note: Your name will NOT be published; please provide a fake name or pseudonym in your signoff. If you do not provide one, a pseudonym will be chosen for you. Questions and answers will be published on the site and remain there indefinitely.  Questions may be edited for length and clarity at the advice columnist’s discretion.

Questions submitted in a language other than English will be translated to English and published to the site in English. The text can be read through a variety of languages that are available on the site through Google Translate. The response will be emailed back to the question writer in the language in which they originally submitted the question.

Answers to your questions are for educational and informational purposes only. Ms. Marenco is not a lawyer. Therefore, any legal questions, including but not limited to, the immigration process and laws, visas and green cards, should be directed to a licensed attorney. In addition, Ms. Marenco is not a therapist, counselor, or psychologist and therefore does not diagnose or treat mental health illnesses or provide medical advice. If you are experiencing an emotional or mental health problem, please contact a mental health professional. For assistance with finding a licensed attorney or mental health professional in your area, please visit our Resources Referrals page.

Laura Marenco holds a B.A. in Sociology with a minor in Spanish and a Master of Science in Educational Studies with a focus on Adult Education. Through her work with the immigrant community teaching ESL, volunteering with Catholic Charities Refugee Services, and career coaching, plus her travels to 48 out of the 50 states through the years, Laura hopes her experiences will help to ease the culture shock that many immigrants and refugees face as they make America their new home.