I came to the US right after finishing high school in my native Taiwan. My father always had the plan for me to finish education abroad as he thought the US education system would be more well-rounded than that back home. I was lucky as I did not have to go through some of the complicated and grueling immigration processes some have to go through. My father had taken care of most of my paperwork for me over the years. It's what came after that was difficult.
Adjusting to a whole new culture and starting everything new at that age was not easy. I had to find my own identity and my own voice among my new peers. I had to make new friends in a new country, all the while trying to overcome language and culture barriers.
It was a lonely journey and very tough at times but the experience as an immigrant makes me strong and compassionate.The diversity of this country, especially here in NYC, makes the whole process especially rewarding. I am constantly meeting and learning from people from all over the world.
Also, be open to seeing cultural differences as a chance to expand your own value system, and at the same time bring in the aspects from your home culture that you feel strongly about. Be a part of the constant renewal of our social environment in an effort to make it more diverse and more human.
Now, I teach Literacy, I help immigrants when they arrive. It feels good to pay it forward, or should I say, to extend the hand that was extended to me.