Aaron Toland | Staff Writer
The United States is known as the melting pot of culture. Each and every inhabitant of the United States today is either the descendant of someone who has immigrated to the United States from another place in the world or they are an immigrant themselves. Most people in CG fit into that first group; their great-great-great-great grandparents probably immigrated to the states long ago, but they and their family have been in here for generations. Several students that attend CGHS, however, are in that latter group: they are immigrants themselves.
Teacher Erin McNeill’s first period English as a New Language (ENL) class is a microcosm of the world we live in today. In room 205, there are students from every corner of globe.
“Just in the ENL English class, we have four students from Japan, three from India, one from Nepal, one from Ukraine, two from Mexico, one from Puerto Rico and one from Ethiopia,” McNeill said.
Sophomore Luis De Leon-Cruz might be the most recent immigrant to come to the school.
“I came to the United States on November 27 in 2017 with my uncle,” Puerto Rican emigrant Leon-Cruz said through the translation of fellow ENL student and Mexican emigrant Henry Amates-Martinez.
Sophomore Ayudhvir Bajwa came to the United States from India eleven years ago with his mom, his sister and his dad. Basu Khatiwada, a freshman from Nepal, came to the states in 2007 with his mom and dad.
Both Leon-Cruz and Martinez miss one thing about their homes more than anything else: la familia. As is common in many countries across the globe, Leon-Cruz and Martinez both have large extended families. It is also common culture see their relatives quite often, so it has been difficult for Leon-Cruz and Martinez to not see the family members that they once saw so often.
Similarly to Leon-Cruz and Martinez, Khatiwada misses his family and friends in Nepal.
Martinez and Khatiwada have all pretty much adjusted to America because of how long they have been here, but Leon Cruz has struggled to adjust to America because because of the lack of family support and cold temperatures.
It can be very hard to leave your family, culture, friends, etc. behind and venture to a new area where you have never been before. The students have been forced to leave a lot of what they love behind in their home country.
Martinez misses traditional Mexican food and Leon-Cruz misses the sandy beaches of Puerto Rico. Bajwa misses how free he felt in India.
“What I miss about India is that I feel free because there are not a lot of laws. Also, the police are corrupt,” Bajwa said. “If I was still in India, I would be riding a motorcycle to school.”
Although they have all left something behind, each student is glad that they are in America.
“My favorite thing about America is Steak n Shake,” Leon Cruz said. “ I am glad to be in America because I can learn English.”
Many of the immigrants are eager to get involved with the opportunities the states can offer.
Bajwa likes the privileges and the safety that America affords him.
“What I like best about the US is my XBox, track and that I feel safe here. I am glad that I am in America because it is a lot more controlled than India,” Bajwa said.
Khatiwada is glad to be in America because he feels that the country is unique; he also likes how America is far cleaner and much more modern than Nepal.
They are already thinking about what occupation they would like to have in the future. Martinez would like to be an automotive mechanic, Leon Cruz hopes to be a physical therapist and Khatiwada wants to be an engineer; Bajwa is still undecided.
The life of an immigrant is not always easy. They have to leave the life and the people that they know to come to a foreign land where they are unfamiliar with the culture and language. Although most of the immigrants that were interviewed have already assimilated to American culture and daily life, it has not been easy for them.
If you have the opportunity to help an immigrant that is struggling, help them. Be their cultural interpreter. Be a friend.