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6 Standout Ethnic Communities in America’s Big Cities

With minimal resources such as English as a Second Language classes to learn the new language and social networks to offer emotional support, it’s a fact that first-generation emigrants had it the hardest when immigrating to the U.S.A. It was generations before cultural identities began to melt a bit more with American culture. With those cultural identities came the growth of ethnic neighborhoods or enclaves, such as a city’s Chinatown, Little Italy, or Little India. These communities provided new immigrants with the emotional and physical support to help them get established in their new country.

If you’re planning your move to America, you’ve probably already considered moving to one of these ethnic communities. Residing in a setting that is somewhat similar to your home country has its advantages: it certainly reduces the culture shock many immigrants experience, especially if they already have a friend or relative living there, and tends to make the overwhelming tasks of finding job and education prospects a little bit easier. But if you don’t have ties to an ethnic community in America, don’t panic! We’ve compiled a list of some of the most notable ethnic neighborhoods that not only bring their unique culture to our great nation but also provide a safety net for newcomers to the US.

Little India, New York

New York City is host to an incredibly diverse populace and is home to some of the most notable ethnic enclaves in America such as Little India in the Jackson Heights neighborhood of Queens. Most of this neighborhood has been designated a Historic District to preserve the character that the South Asian population brought to this New York borough. From a tourist point of view, Little India offers one of the most authentic experiences of South Asian culture in the city. Therefore, it has become a definitive hub for many Indian, Pakistani, and Bangladeshi people. Though this ethnic enclave in Jackson Heights is well-known, you will find Little Indias in many other states across the U.S., including California.

Little Odessa, New York

Another ethnic hub located in New York City is Little Odessa, a Brooklyn neighborhood named after Ukraine’s port city and resort town on the Black Sea. Also referred to as Brighton Beach due to its location, this sleepy beach town is home to a huge population of Russian and Soviet immigrants. Newcomers from the Ukraine and the former Soviet Union made their way to the U.S. after World War II and settled in this incredible little Brooklyn community. Though various other cultures have also settled here, Little Odessa has the biggest Russian immigrant population outside of Europe and Asia with Russian serving as the predominant language. Little Odessa is probably the most authentic representation of the Russian lifestyle in North America, making it an excellent starting point for Russian-speaking immigrants. Plus, it’s just a quick trip to nearby Coney Island, the famous boardwalk and amusement park that oozes American culture.

Chinatown, New York

No list of ethnic communities in the U.S. would be complete without mentioning Manhattan’s historic Chinatown. One of the oldest and most iconic ethnic enclaves in the country, Chinatown was established in the 1870s as the Chinese population began to explode. Now home to one of the densest populations of Chinese immigrants in the Western Hemisphere, Chinatown is a great example of a cultural community supporting itself due to the self-segregation of the Chinese in response to the racial discrimination they experienced. Today, this community is full of authentic Asian markets that sell fish, eels and myriad fruit, vegetable, and other imports. Stop into the many Asian restaurants for lunch or dinner and try out dim sum. New York’s Chinatown is a lively hub of Chinese culture for any immigrant looking to make a home in the Big Apple.

Little Italy, Philadelphia

Italians have been emigrating to the United States for decades, as evidenced by the variety of Little Italys found all over the country, including New York City, Boston, Massachusetts, and St. Louis, Missouri. Philadelphia, Pennslyvania is home to the second-largest Italian populace, centered mostly in Bella Vista, the first Philadelphia neighborhood settled by Italian immigrants and named after the Center City Skyline. Coined “Little Italy” in the 1970s, the neighborhood has shifted and adapted like any other over the years. When visiting this hub today you will find fantastic markets, various restaurants, and a robust cultural presence pervading South Philadelphia established by the original residents back in the 18th century.

Koreatown, Los Angeles

Since the 1960s, the increase in the Korean population in America has now made our country home to the world’s largest South Korean immigrant population! Koreatown in Los Angeles, California, in particular, is home to the majority of that populace. Due to the thriving Korean presence in the city, the Korean National Association, one of the largest immigrant political organizations, moved from San Francisco to Los Angeles. Visiting Los Angeles? Check out Koreatown’s thrilling nightlife and delicious authentic food that comes as a result of the ethnic fusion between Koreans and the large Latino population in this diverse neighborhood. Not simply a tourist attraction, Koreatown is still an important cultural site for any Korean immigrant looking for support in the U.S.

Little Ethiopia, Washington, D.C.

Originally the pre-Harlem national center of black culture in the U.S., the Shaw district of Washington, D.C. became a hub for Ethiopian immigrants around the 1980s. These newcomers established businesses and churches and started to create a true community for themselves. Given the solid Ethiopian community that’s been thriving there for years, local business owners began lobbying to officially name the district “Little Ethiopia.” In December 2020, the Shaw District officially became known as Little Ethiopia, honoring the more than 300,000 Ethiopian residents making their way in Washington, D.C. Today, this neighborhood continues to serve as an authentic hub for Ethiopian culture, food, and community in America.

Please note that these 6 ethnic enclaves are just a small part of a greater list of ethnic community hubs across the U.S. If you are moving to America, it’s best to do some research beforehand to find a community with similar characteristics and experiences as yours. While it’s not necessary to live in one of these communities, these hubs can at least provide you with a taste of home away from home, which can make all the difference in helping you feel comfortable here.

If you need any help at all with resettling in America, such as finding a job or a place to live, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us here at Golden Beacon USA. Our services, including career coaching and resource referrals, can help make the transition to your new country as easy as possible! Contact me today at or call or text (866) 403-7173. Remember, you are not alone!


Solutions to the Challenges Facing ESL Students

DISCLAIMER: Besides the links pertaining to our own products and services, Golden Beacon USA does not endorse nor is it affiliated with the companies, organizations or agencies and/or their products or services whose links are included in this post. In addition, we cannot control or guarantee the accuracy or completeness of the information contained in these links. Golden Beacon USA does not earn commissions from any of these entities.

Moving to a new country is hard enough, but learning and using a new language can make that transition even more complicated! Communication is the key to survival in your newly adopted country, so learning English, the dominant language of the U.S., is a must. But if you’ve ever attempted to learn English before, you know how complex and confusing it can be with its many rules and exceptions to those rules. Learning a new language presents another type of challenge: striking a balance between adopting a new way of life and maintaining your cultural roots.

The Challenges Ahead

Culture shock is one of the biggest hurdles immigrants face upon their arrival to America. Figuring out how to survive in a completely new environment with a completely new culture and language can be downright disorienting. Human beings are naturally social creatures. Being unable to readily converse with most people in your new surroundings can cause a great deal of anxiety and hinder your process of acclimating to America.

But there is hope, however, because one of the best ways to learn a new language is to use it. Sometimes referred to as ESOL or English for Speakers of Other Languages, English as a Second Language (ESL) programs in the United States educate students who are not native English speakers to become proficient in the language. However, many ESL programs are, understandably, in large urban centers where access to English lessons are more readily available. But what if you don’t live in one of these major city-centers? What if you live in a smaller ethnic community or a rural district? In order to develop comprehension of the English language, ESL students need access to English-language models and opportunities to apply what they’ve learned.

Your grasp of the English language, or lack thereof, can lead to further anxiety as you struggle to do, well, most anything in a timely fashion, whether it’s work, school, or something else. When you cannot readily communicate with those around you, you’re bound to take longer to finish even the most mundane tasks. This can be so frustrating, especially when you know exactly what you want to say but can only communicate it in your native language!

All of these issues make the common tasks of settling in your new country even more difficult, such as securing work or housing, taking public transit, and even helping your children in school. So, what should you do? To help you out, we’ve compiled a list below of the best resources to learn and apply English in the United States.

ESL Programs in Schools

Public schools (which are open to everyone and are tuition-free because they are funded by the local, state, and federal governments) are required to offer English as a Second Language programs under Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Title VI protects people from discrimination based on race, color or national origin in programs or activities that receive Federal financial assistance. Since public schools are federally funded, public school districts must provide equal educational opportunities for national origin minority students who have a limited proficiency in English. ESL support is often administered in one of two ways: either complete immersion in a full-English classroom or separate, targeted support for English language learners (ELLs). Since private schools rely on tuition instead of government funding, they are not required to provide ESL support to children whose native language is not English. ESL programs are also offered at the college, university, and community college level.

Though the topic of supporting ELLs and improving ESL programs is constantly being debated in America, it’s essential that you know your child’s basic rights to these programs while attending American schools.

The Internet

Since its mass-market inception, the Internet has become a vital resource for ESL adopters. You can conveniently access numerous educational websites, apps, and videos on your smartphone, tablet, or computer. Need to pass the time while waiting for your appointment at the doctor’s office? Access one of these apps on your smartphone and practice your ESL while you wait. The advantage to online resources is that they are right there with you wherever you go!


Another option for learning English is private instruction, which offers more flexibility in terms of scheduling and a more personal, hands-on experience. While adult education centers and independent language schools in your local community are often hubs for tutors, you can also check out sites such as Preply to search for and get matched with English tutors in your area. If you prefer in-person tutoring (post-pandemic), some instructors may also make house calls or meet with you at a local café.

One more option is to give us a call! Sign up for Golden Beacon USA’s ESL tutoring services where you can choose between a private or group (up to 4 students) session taught by Laura Marenco, our experienced TESOL-certified instructor with a background in Adult Education, Training, & Development. All ESL levels are welcome: from low beginner to advanced.

When choosing a tutor, remember to consider the following in addition to price:

  • What are my goals in learning English? This will help match you with the tutor who is right for you.
  • Where is the tutor from? American English differs from British and Australian English.
  • What experience does the tutor have? Check if they have any ESL-related education or certifications.

Practice Anywhere and Everywhere

Finally, the only way to improve your English skills is to use them. So whether you are just starting out on your ESL journey or have made significant progress in reading, writing, and speaking English, don’t be afraid to practice it in everyday situations! Practice with the clerk at the grocery store, on the phone, or with your neighbors. There are plenty of opportunities to demonstrate to yourself and others what you have learned about the English language!

Looking for guidance on life in America in addition to ESL tutoring? Our website offers a comprehensive collection of products and services specifically for the U.S. immigrant population. Sign up for our weekly e-mails to receive our FREE ‘ABCs of the USA’ educational video series where we teach you all about American culture. And if you’re looking for a specific resource, purchase a Resources Referral package to help make the transition to America as easy as possible.

Contact me today at or call or text (866) 403-7173. Remember, you are not alone!

How Immigrants Benefit from U.S. Military Service

DISCLAIMER: Besides the links pertaining to our own products and services, Golden Beacon USA does not endorse nor is it affiliated with the U.S. military organizations or agencies and/or their products or services whose links are included in this post. In addition, we cannot control or guarantee the accuracy or completeness of the information contained in these links. Golden Beacon USA does not earn commissions from any of these U.S. military entities. 

Did you know that immigrants can serve in the U.S. military? It’s true! The military is an excellent way to establish yourself in your new country while receiving considerable benefits, whether you serve for the minimum duration or make it a lifelong career. You can choose from 7 different branches, or armed forces, of the military that align with your interests and skills:

  • Army: The largest and oldest service in the U.S. military, the Army provides the ground forces that protect the United States.
  • Marine Corps: Working in tandem with the Navy as America’s 911 responders, Marines serve on U.S. Navy ships, protect naval bases, guard U.S. embassies, and provide an ever-ready quick strike force to protect U.S. interests anywhere in the world.
  • Navy: Today’s Navy handles operations on and under the sea, in the air and on the ground. It spans 100 international ports and the open ocean. It maintains, trains, and equips combat-ready naval forces capable of winning wars, deterring aggression and maintaining the freedom of the seas.
  • Air Force: The Air Force provides a rapid, flexible, and lethal air and space capability that can deliver forces anywhere in the world within hours.
  • Space Force: The Space Force organizes, trains, and equips space forces in order to protect U.S. and allied interests in space and to provide space capabilities to the joint force.
  • Coast Guard: The Coast Guard provides law and maritime safety enforcement, marine and environmental protection and military naval support.
  • The National Guard, comprised of the Army National Guard and the Air National Guard, are reserve components of their services and operate in part under state authority. Together, the National Guard supports combat missions, domestic emergencies, humanitarian efforts, and homeland security operations, among other efforts.

Upon joining the military, you can work either full-time or as part of the Reserves. Each of the 7 branches has a reserve component (i.e. Army Reserves for the Army, Navy Reserves for the Navy, etc.). Full-time military personnel may live on a military base and be deployed at any time. Reserve personnel are civilians (non-military/non-police) who are trained to be available for active duty in the armed forces should the need arise, such as in times of war, a national emergency, or when the country is facing threats to national security. While the Reserves can be called upon to serve either stateside or overseas, its primary job is to fill the gaps in stateside service positions when the active duty forces ship overseas. As a member of the Reserves, you are required to participate in training drills one weekend a month and two weeks per year.

NOTE: Though the mention of military service can conjure up mental images of soldiers running around in combat, the military is so much more than that. With job fields and industries similar to those found in civilian life, you can find your place in the military by exploring the diverse career options throughout its 7 branches, including human resources, construction and other trades, technical work, machine operation and repair, media and public relations, and administration. With that being said, however, joining the military is not a decision that should be taken lightly and is not for everyone. It requires a great deal of consideration before enlisting.

Before deciding which branch of the military is best for you, you must determine your eligibility to serve according to the following basic requirements:

  • Hold a high school education or equivalent;
  • Are a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident (“Green Card”  holder);
  • Are between the ages of 17 and 39 (depending on branch).

Women are not prohibited from serving in combat.

In addition to the plethora of career and educational opportunities, joining the military provides other fringe benefits, many of which also apply to reserve forces.

So without further ado, let’s get started learning what service in the U.S. military can offer you as a newcomer to the United States.

Active-duty military service is a paid, full-time job with specialized training provided. Reserves are part-time but receive much of the same benefits. Upon enlistment, most people qualify for E-1 (Enlisted Pay grade 1), the first pay level out of 9. However, some may be eligible for an enlistment bonus depending on the branch and the service’s needs as an added incentive to join. Additionally, you may qualify for Advanced Enlistment Rank Pay (i.e. a higher wage) if you meet certain conditions. Finally, the nature of the work you will be doing for the military could add specialty pay to your base, like hazardous duty pay, for example.

Even if you don’t have a post-secondary education when you join the military, you can still receive one while on active duty or as a veteran (when you leave the military). Incentives are in place to help you further your education, such as paying off your existing loans or tuition. The military’s Tuition Assistance Program (TAP) can cover up to one hundred percent of your tuition fees. Should you decide to leave the military when your service is up, you can take advantage of “The Forever GI Bill,” a military program that helps veterans and their families pursue educational opportunities.

Time Off
Serving in the military not only provides you with the chance to give back to your adopted country but also the opportunity to see different parts of the world. The military covers any relocation expenses for its service people, whether you are required to move domestically or internationally for your job. Furthermore, taking vacation time is easy and convenient for service members and their families. For example, members and their families are eligible for “space available” flights to almost anywhere in the world and can lodge at military facilities for next to no cost. If you’re looking for something a bit more lavish, however, there are also military-exclusive resorts all over the world that offer special rates.

Active-duty members are eligible for $50,000 to $400,000 in life insurance. Most military bases also provide medical and dental services on or near their facilities for members and their families. Members of the Reserves and their families are also eligible for this care when members are on active duty and can be eligible for full or partial insurance coverage.

This is a big incentive for many. Military recruits start their career living in shared accommodations on a military base. As you move up in rank, different housing opportunities become available. Additionally, most military bases have communities for families designed to emulate civilian life, with facilities such as movie theatres, schools, gyms, churches, and stores. In addition, as previously mentioned, serving in the military allows you to live all over the world, as circumstances allow, which is paid for by the military.


After completing service or retiring, your status will change to that of a veteran, providing you with access to a variety of benefits. Benefits vary according to state but can range from health insurance to loans to start your own business or to buy a home. And should you desire a new career path, don’t forget about the educational benefits discussed earlier in this post.

To learn more about military service and its requirements, visit your local recruitment office or the website of any of the 7 branches. If you need help getting started or exploring your options with the military, sign up for our Resource Referrals or Career Coaching services today! We’re here to help you find your place in your newly adopted country of America. Contact me today at or call or text (866) 403-7173. Remember, you are not alone!



Top Entry-Level Jobs for Immigrants

You have likely heard it said that the U.S. is “the land of opportunity,” but what are those opportunities? When immigrating here, you want to know that you can provide for yourself or your family, but hiring standards differ between most countries, making it a challenge to start a new career. So in order to move forward, you most likely will need to go back to school to earn more education or training, and that can be expensive. So the question becomes: What do you do in the meantime?

While the coronavirus pandemic has certainly affected the national job market, projections for America’s workforce are still looking strong. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment should see an increase in 6 million jobs by 2029, which means plenty of opportunities for newcomers. And thankfully, there are a variety of entry-level positions requiring little to no experience to get you started while you settle into life in the U.S. Here, we’ve compiled 8 great suggestions for entry-level jobs in America.

Delivery Driver

Requiring only a high school diploma or equivalent education and a bit of on-the-job training, delivery driver is one of the easiest and most accessible entry-level positions. Plus, given that almost everyone is staying home these days, delivery is in higher demand than ever, from packages and goods to food and beverage. Salaries average around $32,000 per year, in addition to the benefits that many companies offer. If you’re looking for more flexibility, try working for one of the many food delivery service apps like DoorDash or Uber Eats, which allow you to choose when you work. Finally, if this feels more like a permanent fit, you can always look into obtaining your commercial driving license (CDL) in order to work as a long-distance truck driver hauling goods across the country. Many logistics and freight companies offer apprenticeships for new drivers and access to employee unions. Another added bonus to delivery work? It’s a fantastic way to get to know your city or state, or even the whole country, depending on the type of work you choose! Perfect for any newcomer to the United States.


If you don’t mind getting your hands dirty while interacting with customers, plumbing is another great career option. Again, a high school diploma or equivalent can get you in the door for an apprenticeship. If you’re looking for a more guaranteed in to this field, specific training is widely available and can assure you a better starting wage as well. Paid apprenticeships are a fantastic way to earn money while receiving on-the-job training. Even better, they can help you build a rapport with a company and a client base as well, thereby building your reputation and earning work through referrals! Plumbers average $55,000 per year with plenty of opportunity for salary growth and many subspecialties you can train in to guarantee specialized pay. Also, trade work never goes out of style, so it’s a great job to have as a fallback if your primary plans don’t work out. Lastly, answering house calls and servicing local businesses is a great way to get to know your new community. With many open job opportunities, plumbing is a reliable place to start developing a great career.

 Administrative Assistant

For the more business-minded, administrative assistants are in high demand in the corporate and nonprofit worlds. Interested in working in a business setting but not sure where to start? A position as an administrative assistant will introduce you to the everyday life and responsibilities of the corporate world, providing you with a stepping stone of experience and connections should you wish to move up at your company later on. Interacting with various departments will familiarize you with the components of the company and help you build the necessary relationships that can help you move into higher positions for which you’re suited. Plus, the roughly $40,000 a year salary doesn’t hurt either! The entry requirements for an administrative assistant job are minimal and include a high school diploma or equivalent, a willingness to help with paperwork, correspondence, schedule, and a bit of on-the-job training. Furthermore, the future of business is shifting everyday due to the current pandemic, which may afford you other perks such as working remotely.

 Production Assistant

The U.S. has various film industry hubs across the country, not only in Los Angeles and New York City but in Austin, Texas and Atlanta, Georgia. Wherever TV shows and movies are made, there will be work. Though a lesser-known job, Production Assistants, or PAs, are the foundation of any film, either on set or in the production office. Production relies on these assistants for their communication skills and help to ensure that the production runs smoothly. While it requires the same level of experience as the positions mentioned above, the real key to success is some networking and a willingness to do whatever is required. Production Assistants help with even the smallest of tasks, from moving equipment to taking lunch orders, to larger ones such as getting the cast ready to go on set or handling paperwork. Searching for PA jobs on local film job hiring boards is pretty easy, and from there, building relationships with others on set can guarantee you more jobs in the future. Working diligently as a Production Assistant is often the first step towards landing other positions of interest in the production side of the film world. Plus, almost every other position in film has a workers’ union. Averaging $34,000 a year, it’s a fantastic start to an exciting career path and a great way to meet people.

Security Guard

If you don’t mind late nights, security work is a relatively easy job to get. If you have a basic high school or equivalent education, a clean criminal record, and decent physical fitness, you’re sure to find work. The average salary of $30,000 per year is on the lower end of some of these jobs, but it’s a great place to build experience while also studying to move up in the industry, such as joining law enforcement later on. Additionally, the more experience you have, the higher the salary you can negotiate on your next contract. Plus, security will always be in demand across a wide variety of settings, including residential, commercial, and personal security.


Though it’s not as highly-paid as some of the other jobs on this list, landscaper is a perfect fit if you like to work outside. Most landscape positions will earn you about $30,000 a year. Plus, with a bit of experience and some investment in specialized training or post-secondary education, you could find yourself with a position at a golf course, a formal garden, or even working for your city. Generally, all that’s needed is a willingness to get your hands dirty and do some good, heavy lifting and digging. In more seasonal locales, you’ll need to make sure you’re saving for the winter months when work won’t be as plentiful, but even then, there’s always some work to be done handling snow instead. Plus, you can get to know the local landscape (ha!) well and develop relationships within the community.

 Flight Attendant

Yes, at the moment, the prospect of being a flight attendant is dicey, but as times start to return to normal, this career is a wonderful choice. Who wouldn’t want to travel the world and get paid handsomely for it? Averaging about $55,000 a year and requiring only a high school diploma or equivalent to get in the door, you’re only a few weeks of on-the-job training away from a great job opportunity. Most flight attendant jobs are contingent upon a great attitude, excellent customer service skills, and maintaining your training and performance standards. If you love the work, this won’t be hard to do. While prior customer service experience isn’t necessary, it certainly doesn’t hurt (and is thankfully easy to come by, as we’ll discuss momentarily!) Plus, if you get work at an airline that flies to and from your home country, visiting family and friends can become that much more affordable!

Food and Beverage Service IndustryEveryone has to eat and drink; that’s a given. So, why not be there to help with that and get paid for it? Restaurants are everywhere, and many more may be opening back up now that the coronavirus vaccine is available. Plus employee turnover tends to be high, so you’re sure to find a position with ease. Most restaurants offer on-the-job training, though some additional education may be necessary for more advanced bartending jobs. While the wages aren’t very high, the tips you earn will account for most of your pay. Generally, the average salary in the service industry is around $25,000 a year, but it’s the flexibility of serving that counts, especially if you’re a student or expanding your training for more advanced job opportunities. The social aspect of this job will make it easy to meet people and learn more about your new city from your coworkers and local diners.

This list of entry-level jobs for newcomers to the United States is far from exhaustive but is an excellent place to figure out your next steps. Remember, the most important thing to take into account when considering any new job is whether or not it fits you, your lifestyle, and your priorities or responsibilities. If you have the luxury of time to research and consider a new line of work, make sure it’s something that aligns with your interests and your talents. Next, think about what you’re after: a temporary or part-time job while you’re studying or looking for something better, or are you choosing your life’s career path that will allow you a lot of room to grow and get you to where you want to be?

If you need any help at all or have questions about other entry-level jobs and where to find them, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us here at Golden Beacon USA! Our Career Coaching services and Resource Referrals are here to help you find your way in your new country, making the transition to your new country as easy as possible! Contact me today at or call or text (866) 403-7173. Remember, you are not alone!


We Were Chosen as a Top Corporate Training Company in Virginia!

We here at Golden Beacon USA are always honored to be featured in the media, and this time is no exception! We are so excited that Boove Online Book Magazine selected us as one of 2021’s Top Corporate Training Companies and Platforms in Virginia!

You can check out the article here!

Our training solutions, including our webinars and free YouTube videos, not only serve individuals, but also organizations and companies who have immigrant clients and/or employees. These include non-profits, government agencies, libraries, real estate agencies, International Student Offices at colleges and universities, Workforce Development Centers and Adult Education Centers. Our videos cover a variety of topics, including American culture, laws, and local social, education, legal, and healthcare resources in their community, in order to help newcomers feel more at home in their new country.

Interested in setting up a custom webinar for your organization or company? Contact us today with a call or text to (866) 403-7173 or e-mail Laura at If you are interested in enrolling in one of our webinars, the 2021 webinar schedule and registration instructions will be available on the website in the coming weeks. Please check back soon!

How Immigrants Can Stay Safe in the US

The US is a dream destination for so many people around the world. But with protests, gun violence, and natural disasters such as wildfires always in the news, more and more immigrants are realizing how essential it is to make safety their number one priority in their newly adopted country.

Your safety and security depends on where you choose to start your American dream. Quality of life, crime rates, and weather conditions vary widely across the nation. For example, more crimes are committed in urban, metropolitan areas than in rural ones.

How safe is the USA?

The US is no stranger to crime. The Global Peace Index of 2019, which measures the peacefulness and general safety of 163 nations worldwide, ranks the US 128th.

But, when you look closer at the statistics, US crime rates have been falling steadily since the 1990s. With this decrease in crime comes an increase in foreigners’ trust in America as a safe place to work, live and travel. According to the Commerce Department’s National Travel and Tourism Office, there were 37 million foreign tourists in the US in 2019. British nationals alone account for 3.8 million visitors to the country per year.

No matter if you are an immigrant, asylum seeker, or native-born American, you can help keep America’s reputation as a safe place to work, live and travel by following the tips below. Please keep in mind that these tips are not to scare you but to avoid your becoming another crime statistic in a country with which you may not be entirely familiar.

Pay attention to your surroundings

Everyone these days walks around either looking down at their phone or with earbuds in to listen to music. Little do these unsuspecting people know that they are prime targets for theft and possibly violence. Therefore, we advise that you always stay alert to your surroundings, especially in large towns and cities. In addition, keep your belongings close to you with money belts or anti-theft purses. Men should carry their wallets in their front pocket to avoid pickpocketers. If you do get robbed (also known as ‘mugging’), just give them your belongings. Fighting with the robbers could result in violence.

Visiting a popular tourist site in the U.S. or using the local transit system? Be hypervigilant here, as theft is more commonplace in these areas. Do not leave your bags unattended either, giving a thief the perfect opportunity to steal your belongings quickly. Always take your bag(s) with you wherever you go or, if you are with someone, ask him or her to watch your bags. Do not ask someone you do not know to look after your bags.

Do your research

Read up on the area you’re staying in. You should be aware of any recent incidents that have happened in the neighborhood or city. Laws also differ between states so if you’re constantly on the move, you should do your research on every new location you visit.

If you are a member of the LGBTQ+ community, for example, it’s worth noting that the US – in general – is a very safe and progressive nation. However, smaller and often rural communities tend to be more conservative when it comes to same-sex couples. So again, do your research beforehand.

In addition, the legality of marijuana varies between states, so it is essential to learn the laws of the state you are in. In California, recreational use is legal, but other states may have stricter laws. Stay away from other drugs. Anything other than weed is considered illegal under state and federal law. Simply having illegal drugs on your person can get you deported or put in jail.

Be street smart

Always think twice before you put yourself in a vulnerable position. Lock doors to deter intruders and never give out your Social Security Number to strangers. Only use ATMs in safe areas, during the day, or in well-lit surroundings at night. Remember to stay aware of your surroundings. Do not give anyone your PIN, or personal identification number, which accesses your bank account. Only you and you alone should know that number.

Try to avoid taking shortcuts at night if you don’t know a neighborhood very well. Do not walk through small, dark alleyways. Google Maps will usually direct you along the safest routes.

You should not only stay alert to your surroundings but also to the local culture of the area. Everyday life and points of view in California, on the west coast, are very different from everyday life and points of view in Iowa, which is located in the Midwestern part of the United States. It is imperative to do your research on the local culture and learn about the issues that may be affecting the community you will be living in.

Pay attention to weather warnings

Certain parts of the country are often victim to extreme weather events like earthquakes, storms, forest fires, or tornadoes. Earthquakes and forest fires often happen out west while tornadoes and storms tend to occur in the Midwest. States along the Atlantic coast, such as North Carolina, and the Gulf of Mexico, such as Florida, tend to experience the highest number of hurricanes.

To adequately plan, look up weather forecasts online for your target area before you travel. The impending arrival of a natural disaster will be featured everywhere, from weather websites to the national and local news stations, in order to give residents fair warning. Remember that travel to the affected areas may be halted as well, so you may not be able to fly or take a bus or train to your destination if there is a severe weather warning. The weather in the US can change drastically, so don’t just check by looking out your window.

Don’t go off the radar

You should always let someone know where you are at any one time should any problems occur. Share your plans with your family or friends, text or call them when you arrive at your destination, and give them the name and address of the place where you will be staying. If you were to ever get into trouble, this information will allow them to come to your aid as soon as possible.

Let Golden Beacon USA help you!

Are you looking for more guidance when it comes to learning about life in America? Golden Beacon USA is here to help make your transition as easy as possible, even in the midst of COVID-19! Our Resource Referrals and e-learning videos on American culture and resources are here to help make your transition as easy as possible! Contact us today at or call or text (866) 403-7173. Remember, you are not alone!

How Immigrants Can Prepare For a Job Interview

If you want a job in the United States, chances are you’ll have to go through the job interview process first. Most job interviews are face-to-face, usually at the employer’s office, but others may be conducted remotely over the internet. No matter the medium, we have some tried and true rules to follow when preparing for an interview that will give you the best chances of success!

What should I wear to a job interview?

Ensure the clothes that you’ll wear for your interview are ready and laid out the day before. The last thing you want is to be stressing over clothes on the morning of your big day. Most job interviews require a formal dress code unless they specifically say otherwise. Formal is just another word for business wear, so a suit is appropriate for a man and a woman, or for the latter, a dress with a blazer.

Suits and dresses should not be flashy. You should be making a statement with your personality, not your clothes. Keep your outfit muted with colors such as black, grey, white, or navy so it doesn’t serve as a distraction. The same rule applies to accessories, including scarves, ties, tights, shoes, and bags.

Women should keep jewelry to a minimum and wear shoes with a heel no more than three inches. Do not show cleavage as this can be seen as unprofessional.

For men, ties should be appropriate (no cartoon characters, for example), and shirts should be white or pale blue. Your suit needs to fit you well, so get yourself measured by a professional tailor. Tailored suits can be expensive so ask about sale items and shop around.

What is business casual?

On the other hand, your interviewer may ask you to dress ‘business casual.’ This may sound confusing and counterintuitive, but there are a few rules you can follow to make sure you dress the part. Do not wear jeans or sneakers but try black, navy, or khaki pants. Start with formal wear and work backwards. For men, you may not need a suit jacket or tie, but a collared shirt is a must. For women, pair a nice blouse with formal trousers or a skirt. A dress that is not too showy is also a great option.

What questions will I be asked in the interview?

You won’t know ahead of time the exact questions the interviewer will ask, but taking adequate time to prepare for your interview beforehand is essential to your success. The interviewer will be able to tell rather quickly if you have come unprepared, which implies that you have no motivation or enthusiasm for the job. To get an inkling for the potential questions the interviewer will ask, start by researching the company yourself. What’s their main selling point? What will you be doing in this role? What is their workplace culture like? What are their values? Better yet, if you know someone who works at the company or find one of their employees on LinkedIn, you can always send them a message or chat with them to get a better idea of what to expect. It’s also a good idea to reach out to your interviewer to ask if there are any specific tasks they would like you to complete ahead of the interview.

What is the best way to prepare my answers?

Practice makes perfect. Most interviews are only 30 minutes long. That may seem like a vast amount of time when you’re waiting for a bus, but at a job interview, it races by. Make sure you know your best qualities and can share these in a short but meaningful way. You shouldn’t be rambling or coming up with new ideas in an interview. Instead, prepare answers in your head beforehand that share your strengths.

You should also be aware of one of the most common question that employers like to ask: “What are your weaknesses?” The interviewer is checking for two personal traits with this question: your self-awareness and your approach to obstacles in the past and how you overcame them. There is no ‘right’ answer and you can choose between a hard skill such as writing and a soft skill like delegating tasks. Make sure it is workplace-related and don’t use a weakness wherein you essentially compliment yourself, such as “I am a perfectionist” or “I work too hard.” Pick a weakness that is unrelated to a critical skill or task you will be performing on the job. For example, a person interviewing at an advertising agency should not highlight his inability to be creative.

Turn your weakness into a positive by explaining what you are currently doing to improve it, with concrete examples. For example, maybe you have trouble delegating tasks and have realized that doing it all yourself actually slows down progress on a project. To work on this, you have enrolled in a management seminar or started delegating one or two small tasks a day to someone else.

In addition to the weaknesses question, there are several common interview questions that you can prepare for that are specific to your industry. For example, if you’re hoping to work in the hospitality trade, google ‘most common hospitality job interview questions’ to get started.

How do I make a good first impression?

A great first impression is vital in interviews. Get to the interview early so you have enough time to park, find the place, check in, and prepare yourself. When you enter the interview room, make sure you arrive with enthusiasm and passion. Thank your interviewers for their time. Remember, they could be interviewing many candidates throughout the day. If your interview is in-person, usually you would greet your interviewers with a friendly handshake. This may not always be the case, especially because of COVID-19, so instead it’s best to follow specific instructions given to you by your interviewer.

If your interview is online, make sure you have prepared adequately beforehand. Does your web camera and microphone work? If you know your interview will take place over Zoom or Skype, ensure you are already familiar with these applications so you can quickly handle any potential issues. Your webcam must be switched on. Employers would like to see your face and may not feel comfortable without video. Be sure to sit in a quiet area, alone, and without any background noise. Turn off your cell phone notifications and if you are in front of a computer, close any websites you may have up that could distract you.

What about my immigration status?

If you have a green card or an approved H-1B visa, then you are authorized to work in the US. If this applies to you, tick this box on the application. If you are unauthorized to work in the United States, tick the ‘other’ box and explain your situation to the interviewer when asked. Employers are not allowed to discriminate against candidates, but they’re also not permitted to offer jobs to candidates who are not authorized to work in the US.

During your interview, use your experience as an immigrant to your advantage. You have already proven that you are willing to take risks and be independent. Though you don’t want to focus on any negatives, share the obstacles you’ve encountered in moving to America and how you’ve overcame them. The fact that you are searching for a job suggests that you want to stay here and build a life for you and your family. These are all positives unique to you. This shows the interviewer your tenacity, loyalty, and experience, which are all valuable traits employers are looking for in today’s workplace!

What should I do post-interview?

Before concluding the interview, be sure to ask questions of your own. Prepare 2 or 3 questions beforehand about the topics that matter the most to you. This could be about the workplace culture, the specific projects you will be working on, and what a typical day on the job looks like. Not asking any questions tells the interviewer that you’re not really interested in the job. Show them your enthusiasm!

At the end of the interview, the interviewer may give you a timeline regarding when you should expect to hear their hiring decision. Keep in mind that employers in America are not required to notify interviewees who were not selected for the job. Usually, the Human Resources department of large organizations, or sometimes even the interviewer, send their regrets through e-mail or you may not hear back from them at all. It is up to the individual employer’s policies whether or not they notify you about the decision.

In corporate America, it is usually frowned upon to call employers and ask for an update on your hiring status. Companies may say “no phone calls, please” on the job application or remind you at the end of the interview that only the job candidate to be hired will be notified. If the interviewer doesn’t give you a timeline, don’t be afraid to ask! Before leaving, remember to thank him or her for their time and reiterate your interest and enthusiasm for the job. Post-interview, it is not uncommon to send a thank you note or an e-mail to the interviewer to once again thank them for their time and remind them of your interest in the job.

As a new immigrant or refugee to the United States, you will find that our robust economy offers a wealth of job opportunities. Following these interview tips will help increase your chances of landing your dream job.

Want to practice a mock interview? Looking for a job? Golden Beacon USA’s career coaching services are here to help you find, apply, and interview for your dream job! Contact us today at or call or text (866) 403-7173 to get started!

5 Must-Have Phone Apps for Immigrants

DISCLAIMER: Besides the links pertaining to our own products and services, Golden Beacon USA does not endorse nor is it affiliated with the companies, organizations or agencies and/or their products or services whose links are included in this post. In addition, we cannot control or guarantee the accuracy or completeness of the information contained in these links. Golden Beacon USA does not earn commissions from any of these entities. 

Life in the United States can seem incredibly confusing from the moment you arrive. From our greetings and culture to our healthcare system and grocery stores, everything in America will be very alien to you. Understanding a completely new way of life is going to take some time. However, there are tools out there to help speed up this process and are readily available anytime, anywhere!

Whether you’re new to the USA or are still trying to settle in, here’s Golden Beacon USA’s round up of the five best apps for immigrants. You can download all of the apps below for free, although some may have premium features that require a small fee or subscription to access. Each app is available on both the App Store and Google Play.


If you’re struggling with the language barrier, then we can’t recommend Tarjimly enough. Tarjimly means ‘translate for me’ and was founded in 2017 in response to the Syrian refugee crisis and the US Refugee & Travel Ban.

The app allows any multilingual speaker to remotely volunteer their time and skills to act as a translator and interpreter for any immigrant or displaced person. A refugee, asylum seeker, or humanitarian worker can request a translation for a specific language. Then Tarjimly uses its algorithm to select the ideal volunteer. The volunteer is connected via live chat and can exchange texts and documents with clients and even accept video calls.


This app acts as a virtual panic button for undocumented immigrants experiencing an ICE raid anywhere in the US. In an emergency, family, friends, and immigration lawyers can all be contacted quickly and securely.

A user can add pre-written messages into the app, which are secured with a PIN or personal identification number. If a user is in a compromising situation, they can send all the messages with the quick tap of a button instead of typing them out individually. Once all the messages are sent, the app’s data is erased. You can also share your location privately, making it easier for your Defense Network to defend you.

Unit Converter

Did you know that less than 10 countries — including the United States — use the Fahrenheit scale for measuring temperature, and only three countries measure distance in inches and feet? Chances are, you’re used to the metric system. Sadly, most Americans aren’t.

Unit Converter quickly solves this problem. The app quickly calculates the conversion on your phone, making it easier for you to gauge the temperature outside or set your oven correctly for baking.

And what’s more, the free version of the app still converts plenty of the most common conversions including currency, area, data, mileage, power, pressure and speed.

USCIS: Civics Test Study Tools

This app, made by the USCIS Department of Homeland Security, is the perfect tool for anyone studying for their naturalization civics exams. The app provides flash cards on 100 different civics questions, covering topics like U.S. history and geography.

You also have the option to take a practice civics test to see if you can pass the real exam. A must-have app to calm any pre-test nerves!


OK we’re cheating a bit here and we’re going to put three apps in one. Many of these applications may already be downloaded onto your phone, but it’s useful to have all three as handy shortcuts on your home screen.

First, Google Translate. Chances are you’ve probably used this app before, as it’s a great resource with a straightforward interface that translates over 90 languages instantly. It’s not always grammatically perfect, but it’s ideal if you want to be understood in an unfamiliar language in real time.

Google Maps and Google Streetview are perfect for anybody moving to a new city, whether you are from the USA or not. You can look up local bus and train routes and view the waiting times at each stop. If you’re feeling hungry, you can check the opening times and menus of restaurants nearby. You can even download maps ahead of time to save your data.

Living in an entirely new country means having a lot of questions. Google Assistant has the answers for you (literally!) Ask the Assistant anything and it’ll search the answer for you and read back the top result. This is incredibly useful if a local person is describing something to you and you want them to show it to you on Google, but you don’t want to give them your phone. Simply ask if they’ll repeat their words into your phone’s microphone and Google Assistant will take care of the rest.

New to America and looking for guidance? That’s where we come in. Let Golden Beacon USA help make your transition as easy as possible, even in the midst of COVID-19! With our e-learning videos on American culture and local resources, career coaching, ESL tutoring, and resource referrals, we’ll have you feeling at home in your new country in no time! Contact us today at or call or text (866) 403-7173. We look forward to hearing from you!




How Do Immigrants Open Up Bank Accounts in the United States?

DISCLAIMER: The following content is for educational and informational purposes only. Laura Marenco is not a financial professional and the following is not intended to be a substitute for professional financial advice. Each bank has its own unique requirements. Always seek the advice of a financial professional with any questions you may have. Besides the links pertaining to our own products and services, Golden Beacon USA does not endorse nor is it affiliated with the companies, organizations or agencies and/or their products or services whose links are included in this post. Golden Beacon USA does not earn commissions from any of these entities. In addition, every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and completeness of this content. However, the content below and in the links is subject to change at any time without notice. Laura Marenco and Golden Beacon USA assume no responsibility or liability for any errors or omissions in the content provided below. The information contained in this blog is provided on an “as is” basis with no guarantees of completeness, accuracy, usefulness or timeliness and without warranties of any kind, either expressed or implied. Reliance on any of the information found in the content below is solely at your own risk.

Wondering how to get a head start financially in your new country? Open a bank account! A bank account is a service offered by a financial institution that holds your money safely and records any activity made between you and the bank, such as putting in (depositing) or taking out (withdrawing) money. If the bank fails or loses your money during an economic downturn, for example, up to $250,000 of your money is insured by the US government and will be replaced. In the United States, everyone, including immigrants and refugees, can open a bank account. Banks will not ask and should not ask for your immigration status. To help you get started with this important first step, we encourage you to read our guide below on the ins and outs of how to open a bank account in the U.S.!

What Are the Different Types of Bank Accounts?

A checking account and savings account are the two common types of bank accounts offered in the United States. A checking account is a deposit account that allows you to make daily transactions such as deposits and withdrawals. This account can be accessed using checks, automated teller machines, or ATMs, and electronic debit cards issued by the bank. On the other hand, a savings account stores money for use at a later time, such as during an emergency. You can also earn interest through savings accounts. Interest is what a bank pays you in exchange for letting them hold on to your money. Just like your checking account, you can access your savings through ATMs and your debit card. Please note that if you are under the age of 18, banks will require an adult to open the bank account with you.

What to Know Before Opening a Bank Account

Before opening a bank account, make sure you do plenty of research online first. We recommend that you choose a bank local to you. During your search, check that you have picked a bank without any hidden fees or annual fees. There is no reason to pay for a bank account. The bank is already holding your money!

Also, look for an account with good interest rates. Remember, for credit cards, you want the lowest interest rate possible so you don’t pay more than you already owe. But for bank accounts, you want the highest interest rate possible so you can accumulate more money into your account.

What Do Immigrants Need in Order to Open a Bank Account?

Every bank is different, and each one will have different requirements for opening a new account. However, in general, banks are required by law to obtain the following information from you in order to open an account:

  • Proof of Identity (Name and Date of Birth)
  • Proof of Address
  • Identification Number

Proof of Identity and Address

Banks will generally ask you for proof of identity (name and date of birth) and address, for example, through a valid, government-issued photo ID. If you have lawful status, then a green card, driver’s license, or unexpired passport is a simple way to show both your identity and address. If you are undocumented, you can still open up a bank account by providing your birth certificate or passport from your home country to prove your identity. In addition, some U.S. cities, such as Chicago, San Francisco, Washington, D.C. and Los Angeles, provide municipal identification cards to undocumented immigrants or those without a driver’s license or passport in order to prove their identity and address. A utility (water or electricity) bill or lease agreement that lists your address can also serve as proof.

Identification Number

Banks will also request an identification number from you. Your Social Security Number (SSN), which is the most common identification number in the US, will suffice in most cases. An SSN is a unique 9-digit number the US government assigns to U.S. citizens and eligible residents. The number helps the government keep track of your lifetime earnings and the number of years worked, so that when you retire or if you become disabled, you can start receiving Social Security benefits as income. You are eligible for an SSN if you are a(n):

  • Lawful permanent resident (“green card holder”)
  • Asylee
  • Refugee
  • Immigrants on certain types of work visas
  • Naturalized US citizen

Visit your local Social Security office to request a Social Security Number.

If you are undocumented, do not have an SSN or are not eligible for one, another option is to provide the bank with your Individual Taxpayer Identification Number. ITINs are given out by the US government’s tax agency, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). The IRS will give ITINs to foreign nationals who are working in the US and paying taxes. You can apply for an ITIN at the same time that you file federal taxes to the IRS.

Once I provide this information, then what?

The final step in opening your bank account is to fund it! You can make your first deposit with cash, a check or money order, transferred funds from another account, or through direct deposit from your employer. Direct deposit allows your employer to transfer your earnings directly into your bank account instead of mailing a check to you.

After funding your account and before you leave the bank, remember to ask the bank associate when you should expect your bank debit card to arrive in the mail and how to order personal checks. Checks are usually an additional fee, but you can compare costs by checking out the prices at your financial institution, online check printers, and at big-box stores such as Costco and Sam’s Club.

Opening a bank account is one of the smartest financial moves you can make when you move to America. If you need assistance taking this big step, such as finding a financial planner, or learning more about life in America, please don’t hesitate to contact us! Golden Beacon USA’s Resource Referrals and e-learning videos on American culture and resources are here to help make your transition as easy as possible. Contact me today at or call or text (866) 403-7173. Remember, you are not alone!


The 7 Best Cities in the U.S. for Immigrants

The United States is home to some of the world’s most famous cities. From the metropolis of New York to the bright lights of Las Vegas, there’s something for everyone across our 50 states. While every city has its unique charm, some places are friendlier towards immigrants than others.

When researching a relocation destination, make sure you know the rights you have there, what the community is like, and the local cost of living, or the amount of money needed to cover basic expenses such as housing, food, taxes, and healthcare. To help you out, we’ve compiled a list of the 7 best cities for immigrants to start living their American Dream.

Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Milwaukee’s affordability is its biggest selling point. The average living costs are well below the national average, meaning you can save a significant amount of your salary as you climb up the earnings ladder.

Another plus for Milwaukee: it is one of the few cities in the U.S. with a municipal I.D. program for undocumented immigrants. This program gives all residents of Milwaukee photo identification, providing them with another form of proof of residency and access to city (not state) services regardless of immigration status.

And, according to Business Insider, Milwaukee’s immigrant-friendly policies don’t end there. A city policy limits law enforcement officials’ cooperation with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) by refusing to honor the agency’s non-legally binding requests to detain suspected unauthorized immigrants in certain cases.

Baltimore, Maryland

Looking to live near a body of water? Check out Baltimore, another U.S. city that has become increasingly immigrant-friendly. At the beginning of her term in 2010, former Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake set a goal of increasing the city’s population by 10,000 families over the next 10 years by opening the door to more immigrant families.

The city has also established rules that prohibit police and other government officials from asking residents about their immigration status.

San Francisco, California

This city is a must-have on our list. Although its cost of living is 62.6% higher than the national average, the Californian city boasts some of the most immigrant-friendly programs and initiatives.

As a traditional hub for immigrants, the locals are some of the friendliest in the nation when it comes to helping foreigners. In addition, the city hosts a dedicated Office of Civic Engagement and Immigrant Affairs where immigrants can receive assistance with legal, financial, and citizenship application matters. Like Milwaukee, it has a strong municipal I.D. program that provides discounts at local businesses and access to city services such as public libraries. In case of emergency, each resident’s I.D. card also lists his or her medical conditions, allergies, and emergency contact information.

Seattle, Washington

Seattle’s population has a high proportion of immigrants, with one-fifth of residents born outside of the U.S. One of Seattle’s biggest attractions for newcomers is its citywide Ready to Work program, which helps build basic job retention skills and get students into the city’s workforce quickly.

The program is so successful the Department of Labor described it as a “best practice model on how to leverage workforce funding to support immigrant integration in the labor force.”

New York, New York

New York may be one of the most expensive places to live in the U.S. and in the world, but its immigrant-friendly city programs make it a top attraction for newcomers.

The Big Apple offers a wide range of language access policies requiring state agencies that provide public services to offer interpretation and translation services for those with Limited English Proficiency (LEP). In addition, New York hosts the nation’s most extensive municipal I.D. program. This free program for residents ages 10 and up provides access to a wide variety of city services and programs plus benefits and discounts offered by businesses and cultural institutions across the five boroughs. It’s no surprise New York is often seen as the gateway to the U.S.

San Jose, California

For the last decade, San Jose has rolled out several measures to assist immigrants who have settled in the area, whether legally or illegally.

In 2017, according to Mercury News, Santa Clara County supervisors agreed to invest about $1.5 million over two years toward legal aid for undocumented immigrants in danger of deportation by the then-incoming Trump administration.

Chicago, Illinois

Want all the sanctuary policies of New York, but without the incredibly high cost of living? Then Chicago might be the place for you.

Chicago’s Welcoming City Ordinance means the Windy City, as it is commonly called, will not ask you about your immigration status, disclose that information to authorities, or, most importantly, deny you City services based on your immigration status.


Are you looking for guidance when it comes to learning about life in America? Golden Beacon USA’s Resource Referrals and e-learning videos on American culture and resources are here to help make your transition as easy as possible! Contact me today at or call or text (866) 403-7173. Remember, you are not alone!