When I initially heard that I was moving to the United States, I didn’t feel anything too particular. I kind of accepted the fact that I was going to move to the States. I had friends back home and I would miss them when I initially left to come to the States. One thing I must say is that I was happy that due to moving, I would not have to take the public examination that was coming up in the next few months. I had a bit of uncertainty when moving because I didn’t know how I was going to adapt but that’s just moving to an unfamiliar place. But yeah, again, I accepted the fact that I was going to move here, and people asked me if I was excited or not, but I didn’t feel the excitement. When I got out of the airport, it was October, and it was chilly. I never thought that I would experience that type of cold back in Bangladesh. I thought this was the coldest place I’ve ever been to. When we were driving down from the airport, I was impressed with the transportation system since the roads here are bigger than the roads back in Bangladesh where the roads had barely enough space for two-way traffic. There were lots of differences and a few similarities.
The similarity is that I still live here with my family so my lifestyle hasn’t changed much. Outside of this when I was working or interacting with people who weren’t Bangladeshi, it was different living among all these people who spoke a different language than me. The language barrier wasn’t that bad, but I didn’t come here with perfect English for the most part. One difference that I also noticed living here was that Muslims were the minorities in the States compared to Bangladesh where Muslims make up most of the population. It was the first time I understood what it was like to be a minority. I would like to note my challenges with religious obligations since in the States, there were not many Mosques few and far between spatially. This became even more difficult when I was attending college in a rural area and there weren’t any Mosques nearby. One particular thing that I also noticed was because I have an accent and the way I speak, it’s difficult for people to understand certain sentences and phrases so I have to slow down and enunciate everything carefully so they can understand what I’m saying. I find it kind of interesting that I still have an accent and my little brother doesn’t anymore. People are also more open-minded here compared to back home, which influenced me to become more open-minded when it comes to certain topics. For example, initially, I was scared of all these different genders but over time as I interacted with more people who were open-minded helped me with that mentality to accept changes rather than hold onto conservative ideals. Let’s change the topic over to school. Back home, I went to an all-boys school. If you go to a public school here, it’s not like that so that was a big shock seeing boys and girls mingling so casually in an academic setting. I did my 10th, 11th, and 12th grade here in the States. It was honestly pretty weird seeing all the couples doing PDA in the hallway caught me off guard. So that aspect of co-ed took time to get used to. I would feel uncomfortable sitting next to a female classmate. Academically, I didn’t have to struggle as much as South Asian countries as they must go through a grueling school system but here, I was able to take it easy and cruised through my classes in high school and even in some college courses.
* The contributor of this story has asked that their name be withheld.