My name is Bhuvana Selvarangam.
INTERVIEWED BY Karthik Saravanan

Chennai, India

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania



I came over to the United States in the year 2000. I had no idea of what to expect at all. I had just finished my college education at REC and got married to my husband. Shortly after our marriage, we moved to the United States. My husband had been living in the United States for some time already before coming back and marrying me. We had decided to move to the US for many reasons. My husband was already holding a job and was getting more opportunities in the US. There was also personal conflict back home. We arrived in the United States in winter of the year 2000 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. I was excited to begin this new life but it was also a big shock.

Everything was new and some things were different from what I was expecting as well. The cold weather was difficult to adjust to and the snow at the time forced us to stay home a lot of the time. I did not have much opportunity to talk to people and when I did, I encountered the communication barrier for the first time and struggled to talk with the people around me. English was very hard for me to learn. We stayed in Pittsburgh for only 3 months and then later moved to Alabama. This was another hard change. The weather was different and the supplies that I was used to having at home were no longer available. Y2K was a large issue at the time, my husband was having some difficulty at work, and I was pregnant at the time as well. Our stay in Alabama was very short and after a few months we had decided to move to Maryland this time after my husband got a better job opportunity near that area.

It seemed like this move was better and we were able to settle down a bit more. I am glad we were able to settle down a bit more as the constant uncertainty was very stressful and I was unsure what would happen next. We found that while there were lots of opportunities in the United States. Due to our immigrant status however, taking advantage of them and holding onto those opportunities was much more difficult. My pregnancy only made things more stressful. Dealing with all of these things was very difficult and I was starting to realize just how alone I really was. It was a scary experience and challenging to go through. I had no one to rely on and help me except for my husband but I decided not to complain since others were struggling as well at the time. After staying in the United States for a while, I began to understand my situation and circumstances a bit better. I was a dependent holding an H4 visa and my husband held an H1B. I have realized that I am more alone in this new country with very few people to help me and mostly confined to the home for a long time to care for the kids. I was not able to take advantage of the opportunities in this country the way I would have liked to at the time.

Applying for and receiving the green card was the next step and it was a very difficult process. It was much longer than normal and took nearly 10 years for us to receive our green card. Once I got my green card, I was able to step into the world more. I took whatever jobs I could at the time, took accounting classes, received certifications and was able to get a stable accounting job as well. Coming to this country was a complete shock and a very challenging experience to deal with. Finding my place here was difficult but I was eventually able to do so and take advantage of the opportunities this country promised. I am glad I was able to make a successful life here.