Things you might not think about as an American citizen

If you were born and raised as an American citizen, there are certain aspects of life that are seen as common knowledge. However, some people in our city do not have the same cultural knowledge that comes with having spent a large part of their lives in the United States. Here are three things that you might be taking for granted if you’re an American citizen. 

Navigating driving and getting your license.

If you’re an American citizen, you probably know the drill. When you turn 15 (or 14 in some states), you can start the process of learning how to drive and getting your license. You know that you need to take your written test for your permit then come back and take your driving test before you get your actual license to drive by yourself at 16. Besides knowing the process, American citizens also grow up with an understanding of road signs and rules. For example, the United States is one of the only countries that uses miles-per-hour instead of kilometers. Additionally, a lot of other countries drive on the left side of the road instead of the right. Even which side of the car you drive on can be different. It’s important to recognize these differences from what Americans consider “normal” to be able to better understand others. 

Enrolling your children in school and understanding how the public school system works.

One of the main sources of education in the United States comes from the public school system, which gives everyone a free education option. American citizens know that wherever they choose to live, there is a public school option for them to enroll their children in. The enrollment process is fairly simple. Most schools require a birth certificate, shot records, proof of living in the school’s jurisdiction and previous school transcripts (if necessary). Getting those documents and knowing how the process works isn’t as easy for someone new to the country. Being aware that not all countries have the same education systems as America is an important step in understanding other people. 

Understanding the medical field and how insurance is used in the United States.

While the healthcare system and insurance can be difficult for even American citizens to navigate at times, most know the basics. In the United States, medical care is not free. Whether you need an ambulance, take a visit to the hospital or go to your doctor for a routine check-up, there is normally a fee for services. That’s why so many people have insurance. Having medical insurance helps pay a portion or the total cost of medical care. While American citizens understand why insurance is necessary and the coverage options they have from the government of private organizations, many people outside of the United States don’t understand. This can make it difficult for them as they are trying to integrate into a new society. 

One of our major goals at HopeWorks is to provide education and support to immigrants and refugees that need it in our community. While American citizens might not know the power they hold in being able to easily navigate through society, there are people out there who are not so fortunate. We want to give those people English language education,cultural instruction and support they need to be able to fully integrate with society.