There is no doubt that coming to America was the greatest change in my life. Not only was I hopeful of a better life but I was also looking forward to a sound education. In China, people regard America as the place where all dreams come true. To a great extent, I agree with them. However, this does not come without challenges, some which have proven to be quite huge. However, with the support from my father and brother, who I live with, I have managed to overcome these seemingly insurmountable barriers and live the ‘American Dream.’
Life for a Chinese Immigrant to the United States is definitely not easy especially in the first few years. Having little or no education, unable to communicate and with only a handful of friends, going around your day to day chores can prove to be a daunting task. My father first landed in the United States in 1991 via ship at the tender age of twenty eight. He was of full of dreams, for both himself and his young family although faced with multiple challenges in his new environment. He had very little education, spoke very little English and knew my uncle and a few other Chinese who lived in San Francisco. Despite all these challenges, as it were, he is not one to give up. The desire to give his children a better life was burning fiercely in heart which served to fire his passion and light up the way towards achieving what he has today.
Finding a job, when even one could not attend an interview and answer questions as desired due to the language barrier, almost served as the last straw for him. He has confessed severally that at that moment in time, he often wished that he had stayed in China. Tired of being told as ‘talking gibberish,’ he enrolled in a course for English Learners where he learnt to speak and write in English. This helped to turn things around and after completion; he got a job in a textile manufacturing company.
Ten years after my father arrived in the United States, he filed the appropriate papers for me and my brother so that we could join him in the United States. Having had his nuclear family away from him must have hurt badly. I greatly credit him for perseverance and his desire to give us a better platform where we can launch our quest to become renowned professionals.
On my arrival in the United States, I found out that most Chinese families lived in deplorable neighborhoods. The American culture largely conflicted with our Chinese culture. The American city life was quite confusing and scary too. In America, neighbors keep to themselves and you rarely know who your next door neighbor is. It is only in the Chinese quarters that one gets some solace and a feeling of home.
Not only was the American way treated as the ‘proper’ way but also some of my classmates in my new school took it upon themselves to harass me in an attempt to ‘Americanize’ me. However, taking a leaf from my dad, I knew this was just like water under a bridge. My father never tired of encouraging me and my brother to study hard for we Chinese have little choice than to study and show the world that we are equals and that we deserve to be treated respectfully like other Americans.
Over time, the poor image cast against Chinese immigrants has faded. Not only have Chinese professionals emerged in various fields such as medicine and engineering but also in interactive fields in business. My brother is in college. He is pursuing a Degree in Aeronautics at MIT. Although I am still in high school, I am dreaming big and I intend to follow in his shoes. Life looks upbeat on this new platform that we have been granted to achieve what we could not have dreamt of despite the many challenges that we have had to tackle.