|Type of paper:||Essay|
|Categories:||Immigration Languages Personal experience|
This is my story about the encounter I had upon migrating to the United States as an individual who did not know how to speak English. To begin with, I relocated to the United States (setting) in August 2013 and have been in the nation for the last five years. It has not been a comfortable experience (tone) as the life in America was stressful (tone). I found it difficult to settle in America though it has opened lots of opportunities for me to get better-paying jobs. Back at home, in Ivory Coast everything was smooth, was used to a rural life where we could grow both cash and food crops (tone). Also, at home, I had many friends and relatives unlike in the United States. The community would support each other through life stages which made life appear much more comfortable. If there were challenges, then neighbors would not hesitate to assist each other. The expenses back at home were not a lot since the rural life did not require lots of cash; after all, we could even grow most of the food requirements. The challenges that I (Character) faced while in the Western rural area of Ivory Coast (setting) impacted me when I migrated to California in the United States. The following work will describe some of the problems that I faced while in America, which I also faced while in my mother country in Africa.
The first problem that I faced was the language barrier. French is the primary language taught in schools in the Ivory Coast. The colonizers introduced the French in Ivory Coast. However, the school system had attempted to begin the English language classes in the school system as a way of preparing the students for the future career. Though the government was introducing the English language, some schools had not implemented it in the teaching system (story). It was not an easy task, considering that almost all people in that community only knew the local languages and French and found the English language very challenging. People were not willing to learn English, as they felt that they had French which would help in securing jobs and communicating with foreigners. However, most people ignored the fact that French use does not occur in all parts of the world. When I moved to the United States, it was not easy to learn English though I had some basics. I could only write some English words but could not speak frequently. I faced hardship for about two years and half years. I think it is more stressing for an individual without English basics to survive in a country dominated with English speakers like America (Community Problem). I had to enroll in English classes which took me two years. Initially, I even feared to faced people because I had low self-esteem as an individual who could not construct a single sentence in English. I used to spend most of the time lonely because of the language barrier (tone). It made me feel self-insufficient considering that in Ivory Coast, I had a chance to learn English but just like other citizens, I ignored. I never dreamt in my life that I would be moving to America and that is why I lost interest in another foreign language as I already had learned French.
Apart from the language barrier, difficulty in forming social relationship was also a challenge I faced upon migrating to the United States (story). Back home in the rural of Ivory Coast, it was easy to socialize with people from different contexts. We lived in a small community where every person knew the other. We were like a large extended family, where each community member would identify a problem in one family, and we would work together towards providing a solution. I thought it would be the same once I moved to the United States. In America, however, individualism is the order of the community. There is nothing like community integration. It is even hard to know the people who were living next door. One would only socialize at work or in school and had to have colleagues that had some common characteristics such as other Africans. I was once working at California Suites hotel that is found in San Diego (setting) as an assistant, and I faced lots of rude and racist customers, to the point that I almost gave up working (tone). Some customers were used to intimidate not only because I was an African but also because i was not fluent in English (tone). However, Daniel (Character) who was one of our frequent customers was able to encourage me. I think Daniel was free with me because he was dating a lady from Nigeria (setting), so he was used to people from West Africa. Daniel went to Nigeria in June 2016 (setting) for an academic trip while pursuing his masters in African culture. When in Nigeria he met a beautiful African girlfriend called Maleba (character). Like me in America, Daniel also faced the challenge of the language barrier while in West Africa (setting). He also faced rejection and discrimination because of the accent he had in his English. Though Daniel was lonely and stressed for a long time that never made him quit his dreams of carrying research in African culture. I got a caring and understanding friend in Daniel and after work at a boring workplace, we could hang out and would introduce me to other friends he had made. However, for the last eight years, Daniel had only three friends. It shows how unfriendly the Americans can be. Americans do not make friends easily because of the culture of not trusting strangers (tone), especially to the people who are different from them. (Story)
Other than the language barrier and difficulties to form social relationships, I also faced the challenge of unemployment upon migrating to America. As we know, Ivory Coast is a developing nation which means that there are limited job opportunities since there are fewer companies in the country. In a research that was carried by Yale University in the year 2012 (setting), they found out the unemployment was as high as 9.4 %, indicating that most people were unemployed. Before I moved to the United States, I had tried for one year and a half to look for work, but it was very hard. I was becoming disappointed for failure to get employment. My first days in America were frustrating because of my unemployment condition (tone). I believed in the American dream and all the opportunities that I had in the United States offered to the immigrants. Lack of employment had increased the poverty levels, especially in the community, where there was a single company, and people had to depend on their farming for survival. The United States was no different when it came to looking for job opportunities. Is difficult to have a job in America particularly the Non-whites (tone). The living standards were high, from the food, housing, transport to clothing. I had to work so that I could sustain myself it was difficult as I moved for months looking for work. My English language issue was the most disadvantage I had to face during the operations. Since I could not speak with clients; there were little chances for a job opportunity. The first job I got was working as a house help to a White old woman who was a retired officer in the Federal government of California. It was not easy taking care of her because of her old age and arthritis condition, and I almost lost hope as I was becoming discouraged day by day (tone) and wanted to get back home (story). I used to communicate with my caring mother (Character) through phone calls. When I told her how hard it was, my mother encouraged me and encouraged me saying that there is nothing which comes easy in the world. She even reminded me of how hard it was in Ivory Coast and securing any work would help her in educating my hardworking siblings in school for a better future. I had to gain back my focus, and that is when I applied for two more jobs, and on a daily basis, I would work for 12 hours.
From the discussion about the challenges I faced when I migrated to America, I can conclude by saying that the introduction of the English lessons in Ivory Coast has helped in solving the language barrier. After I moved to the United States and I learned how hard it was to learn a language which I was not used to (tone). I called my mother frequently and made her understand the importance of foreign languages. I insisted that she supports my siblings as they learned English and also encourage other community members. Also, the government of Ivory Coast is investing in the development of the nation, as there is the establishment of companies in both the private and public sectors. The small businesses are as well being encouraged throughout the country so that people can learn to feed for themselves without relying on their community members. If individuals can develop themselves, it will improve the overall nation and issues of unemployment will reduce. Additionally, citizens will be prepared to migrate to the United States in search of improved life opportunities.
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