The refugee’s home and kitchen

couple with home cooked meal

USAHello photo

Newcomers bring a lot to the USA.

The United States is the land of opportunities, where people of many different cultures come together and share aspects of their home country’s culture, traditions and lifestyle. The assets they bring include the skills they learned in their home and kitchen.

A refugee’s cultural values can be precious and resourceful when shared with their local community. Americans tend to appreciate such values and look at them with a lot of interest.

Your home and kitchen skills are more valuable than you think.

One of the good examples of refugees’ values and traditions  is “cuisine,” or the refugee’s home country style of cooking. Many refugees have a native cuisine that is very appealing to Americans. You may have grown up in countries with rich cuisine. Most refugee homemakers learned to cook in their own home and kitchen. Unlike many other skills, you do not need a degree or certificate to be a good cook!

Let the host community have a taste of your skills.

Refugee families will see how their cooking skills are welcomed in the host community when they invite friends over for meals and offer them dishes from home. In many US communities, resettlement and community organizations provide opportunities for refugees to show their cooking skills to the public.

Use what makes you special.

It can be hard to go back to school when you first come to America. You will have many other responsibilities just to support your family and find your way in a new country. But perhaps thinking about what natural skills you have bring from home will help you find ways to earn money. Can you use your home and kitchen skills to earn money?

Share your culture.

I have seen refugees selling home-made pastries and other foods at the farmers’ market. You may cook for local restaurants on special occasions, teaching people about traditional foods. Perhaps you can give talks about your country and foods at cultural festivals or events. Americans welcome these things. And they may serve as a “free trial” for bigger projects in the future. Maybe you can take your skills to the next level and make a living from them.

Opinions expressed and advice given in USAHello’s Voices and Hello blogs are the writers’ own. USAHello offers impartial information and online courses to help newcomers in the USA.