4 Ways Modern Tech Has Transformed Life for Everyday Immigrants and Expats
For those settling in the United States from abroad, there’s a lot to take in.
Overcoming cultural differences. Breaking down the language barrier.
The list goes on and on, doesn’t it?
That said, the process of living and thriving as an immigrant in the United States is arguably easier than ever. Many of the modern conveniences that make the transition so much smoother than it was a decade or so ago boils down to technology.
From the rise of smartphones to the fact that the price tag on any given piece of technology has dropped significantly in recent years, accessibility and ease of use provides immigrants with comforts that simply weren’t possible “back in the day.”
To illustrate just how much life has changed for everyday immigrants, we’ve outlined five ways technology has come to benefit such expats. From saving money to staying entertained, this list proves that even the smallest tech innovations have big-picture implications.
Payments and Remittance
Perhaps one of the most significant trends for expats with a purpose is just how easy it is to transfer money internationally. For immigrants sending remittances and aid back home, the rise of online and mobile payments is a far cry from the old days of tedious back-and-forth way of dealing with banks.
Not only does modern tech allow such transfers to be speedy, but also adapt alongside current trends.
One of the most recent innovations in international payments is Bitcoin,” notes Lisa Rough of Remitly. “A cryptocurrency that lacks any centralized bank or administrator.”
The takeaway here is that what used to be a time-consuming “what-if” is now practically instantaneous and streamlined thanks to today’s remittance services.
While there’s plenty to worry about when living abroad, transportation is among the top concerns. After all, public transit isn’t exactly up to snuff in many parts of the world (including the United States). Meanwhile, the cost and learning curve of owning your own vehicle may be out of the question for many immigrants.
Enter the era of ridesharing through platforms like Uber and Lyft. Allowing immigrants to get from Point A to Point B with the help of a smartphone, the constant worry of needing reliable transportation is now a thing of the past. The fact that such services thrive solely via smartphones and are so common these days is a marvel in and of itself.
It might be cliche to talk about the rise of social media, but it truly is a game-changer for expats.
With an estimated 2.6 billion social media users worldwide, it’s now easy than ever for immigrants to stay in touch with family members, document their journeys abroad and stay in touch with the outside world. With little more than a smartphone, immigrants have the ability to access their home while away from home, all for free and around-the-clock.
Expats are tasked with saving as much money as they possibly can while abroad. For those in the United States where taxes can be complicated and expenses such as healthcare aren’t necessarily taken care of, one’s entertainment budget is often the first expense to be slashed.
That said, modern tech has made it easier than ever to stay engaged with modern entertainment.
And in fact, more people are “cutting the cord” than ever to save cash. Modern streaming services like Netflix and Hulu, combined with the wealth of content on YouTube, are quickly making cable a thing of the past.
Furthermore, the explosion of freemium mobile gaming (think: Fortnite) means that even gamers can have some fun without spending an arm and a leg. For young expats looking to play with friends and family back home, such free options might be the only way they can play.
The common thread between these seemingly unrelated tech developments? They make the transition of assimilating in a culture much less daunting. Comfort is key to settling down anywhere: from saving money to simply enjoying some much-needed entertainment, these tech trends are helping immigrants do just that.