Was the United States What You Expected?


     When you first came to this country. Did the things you saw or the things that happened to you surprise you? Maybe everything was new for you because every nation is different and languages are different. It’s hard for some immigrants to accept being in a new place. “It’s like you were just born again learning how to talk,” Catherine Lee, a sophomore from Cambodia said.
     When some immigrants come to the U.S, they have ideas of what they expect to see. “Before I came to the United States, I thought all American people are big and tall,” Sen Nguyen said. Catherine Lee thought it would be big and wealthy. “When I came, I saw a big advances everywhere,” she said.
     Learning a new language is difficult. There are many difficulties for immigrants involved in learning a new culture, a new language, new customs, and new expectations. Catherine Lee was uncomfortable when other people were trying to know her or talk to her because she didn’t speak English at all. When Americans spoke to her, she didn’t know what they wanted. She just looked and smiled.
     When Sen Nguyen got to the United States and went to pick up her suitcase, she had a hard time explaining that she needed help. “ I got the first suitcase but I couldn’t find the second one. I didn’t know what to do. I raised two fingers to the security. It meant I had two suitcases but how come I got only one.” The security guard gave her the second suitcase.
     Some were surprised by the many different races of people. “When I was in my country I thought only white people lived in the United States, but what surprised me was I saw a lot of different kinds of people,” one student from Ethiopia said. He was glad to see Black people who looked like him. “That made me comfortable,” he said.
But other people don’t have the same experience. An older person from Vietnam was scared when she saw a person with black skin at the airport. This was the first time she had seen a black person.
     Many immigrants feel unhappy because the food makes them sick. Catherine Lee always ate Cambodian food but in school they had only American food such as hamburgers and hot dogs. The first day Catherine tried to taste a piece of hamburger she felt like throwing up. After that, for the entire year, she brought Cambodian food to school. She said, “People laughed at me when I brought Cambodia food.”
     All the technology in the United State is very important such as walkmen and computers, but it surprises some people. “When I was in China I didn’t know anything about computers,” Manwen Ye said. Even though other countries have new technologies, many parents didn’t have the capability and the opportunity to buy these things for their children.
     Even though people from around the world come to the United States and many are surprised and uncomfortable with the new things, after a little while they get accustomed to it. Even though people and places look different at first, we soon understand that people around the world are more alike than they are different. When you first came to this country. Did the things you saw or the things that happened to you surprise you? Maybe everything was new for you because every nation is different and languages are different. It’s hard for some immigrants to accept being in a new place. “It’s like you were just born again learning how to talk,” Catherine Lee, a sophomore from Cambodia said.

© Copyright Silver International Newspaper, Montgomery Blair H.S. 2003 (This page was created by Flor Torres and Tadesse.)