Build the foundations for success after moving to the USA from Mexico. Our tips for learning English, networking, and building your credit score.
When moving to the United States from Mexico, it’s natural to have a lot of questions. How do you find a place to stay? What’s the best way to find a job in the USA as a foreigner? What are the essentials you need to arrange and what can wait? You’ll need to figure out a lot of practical things, and that takes time. There’s nothing you can do to change that. But being successful in the new country will go much smoother for you in the long run if you invest time and energy into the right things immediately after you immigrate to the USA. What are the right things? Learn or perfect your English, get connected with the right local Mexican community, and start working on your credit score. Here’s how you can get started with those.
To Do #1: Learn English
La Mansion del Ingles: This can easily be your one and only source of English learning materials. It features grammar and vocabulary exercises, as well as podcasts and free courses for all levels. The website is in Spanish, so even if you’re a beginner you’ll easily find your way around.
Blabbinit English: This YouTube channel is for English learners from beginner to intermediate level. All video lessons aim towards Spanish speakers, making this channel a great place for you to start after immigrating from Mexico to the United States.
ELSA Speak App – Your American English Accent Coach: The ELSA Speak app is an English learning app you can use in Spanish, so you can benefit from it even as a beginner. The app’s true advantage is its Pronunciation and Accent Coaching tool. If you’re struggling with pronunciation after moving to the United States, this tool can help you improve quickly.
To Do #2: Connect With the Right Local Mexican Expat Communities
Ayuda: This non-profit organization is focused on helping low-income Latino immigrants in the USA. Their services include legal, social, and language learning support. You’ll find them in Washington DC, Maryland, and Virginia. Ayuda can be a good start for your first months in the USA, and a source of connections with the local community.
Latino/a Business Networking via Meetup: Via the Meetup platform, you can find Mexican and Latino groups and events happening near you. Filter by interest or topic to make sure you’ll find a crowd there that’s relevant for you. Even outside the Mexican community, this is a great way to start establishing your local network after you move to the USA.
To Do #3: Start Building Your Credit Score
Your options other than a classic credit card
Get a prepaid credit card: To get most prepaid credit cards, you don’t need a US ID or Social Security Number. And while a prepaid credit card won’t help build your credit score, it also won’t hurt it. At the same time, it will make your online and offline payments in the USA much more convenient than without any credit card. Some prepaid credit cards, such as the Visa gift card or Mastercard gift card are accepted in all places where you can pay with “classic” Visa and Mastercard credit cards. That gives you full flexibility until you have a longer-term solution.
Reach out to credit unions or advocacy groups locally: If you’re an undocumented immigrant, starter credit cards won’t be an option for you. However, you may be able to get help building your credit score from local credit unions. Some may even specialize in working with undocumented immigrants in the USA. How do you find them? Organizations such as Ayuda can help you start. And, of course, this is where the efforts you put into building a local Mexican network start paying off.
The Visa gift card is a great prepaid credit card you can use anywhere Visa is accepted.
Moving to the United States on Your Terms
While moving to the United States from Mexico will always be a challenging experience, you can make it work for you, as long as you are well-informed. Focus on building the right local connections and learning English from the start. And if you’re smart with building a good credit score early on, you’ll have a solid foundation for success with your next challenges, such as your USA job search.