My name is Sa’adatu Suleiman.
INTERVIEWED BY Alina Azhar x 4

Nigeria, Nigeria

New York City, New York



Staten Island, New York


Who met you when you arrived?
A family friend that would help me with other things as well.

What made you immigrate to the United States?
My mother.

What was your first impression of the place you arrived to?
It was nighttime and the lights were beautiful. I was like wow, because everything was glowing and reflecting off the water.

What were some of the things that surprised you?
There were a lot of people that didn’t look like me which was definitely shocking and the vibe is just different. In Nigeria everyone knows everyone so there was this feeling of unfamiliarity I wasn’t used to.

What did you do on your first day?
I went and got Mcdonalds!! There was this buffett in the hotel I was at and after I just went home and watched TV.

What was your initial reaction upon arriving in the United States?
Excitement and happiness. There was this feeling of newness that hadn’t worn off yet and it made everything feel cool.

How did you feel during your first few days in the United States?
Homesick, I missed my family but it was also thrilling.

What were some of the biggest cultural differences and similarities you noticed between the United States and your home country during your first days in the U.S.?
People are fake everywhere, that's something that stayed the same but interactions were different. Back home, family, love, and happiness are everywhere and yea people work but it isn’t everything. In America everything is about money.

Did you face any challenges or barriers in your first days in the U.S.?
In my first days, not much, but over the years bullying and racism were very common for me.

Did you have any support or resources available to you during your first days in the United States?
My mom had a connection to someone she worked for and that lady was so nice and sweet, but other than that it was mainly me by myself and family friends.
Did you have any presumptions about American culture that were challenged during your first days in the United States? I thought everyone was rich: I had no idea homelessness was such a big deal and poverty was so severe.

What advice would you give to other newly arrived immigrants in the United States?
Don’t come, it's not worth it but if I’m being serious I would say to find your people. Find people you know will support you because they will be the most important people in your life.