When I First Came to America: My Story of Immigration

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Table of Contents

  • Dreaming of America: Family's Journey
  • Overcoming Challenges When Moving to America
  • The Green Card Wait: Longing for Home
  • Perseverance and Triumph in America

Dreaming of America: Family's Journey

I remember being a five-year-old girl dreaming to go to America. My family and I were living in The Gambia. My mom left for America when I was only two and my dad followed a year later. My two siblings and I were left with my grandmother. I didn’t know what was going on at first, but I later realized that my parents were not in America for their own benefit. They wanted to make sure that my siblings and I would have a better life than they did. Neither of my parents had a formal education, my mom stopped going to school in 7th grade because she had to do household chores and my dad had no formal education at all. But they still made sure that I was able to have the best education in the world when I first came to America.

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Overcoming Challenges When Moving to America

In 2010, my mom filed for my siblings and I to come to America. When I arrived in the United States, I wanted to make sure that I didn’t disappoint my parents in any way because I knew how hard they had worked to get me here. Knowing that I couldn’t frustrate my parents, I made sure that my grades were good in school. Every summer since I turned fifteen years old I would work in a family daycare that my little siblings and I would attend. Then when I finally get my dream job, which is a Physician assistant I would take care of my parents just like they took care of me.

When I first came to America, I was very nervous because I was in a new country and would have to adapt to a new culture. I remember going to my local school in the Bronx for the first time in 4th grade and getting bullied because of my skin color. I remember having to sit by myself at lunchtime without any friends. It was not until the 6th grade that I started making friends. I had a hard time dealing with being alone for two years, but it only made me lose my fear of doing things alone.

The Green Card Wait: Longing for Home

When I came to America, my mom didn’t file for my brother’s and my green cards. She was told that she had to file for her citizenship first. She did, and when she had her citizenship, she filed for our green cards. Because she had her citizenship before she filed, the process to get the green cards went even longer. Every summer I would ask my mom if I could go back and visit home she would tell me, “No.” At first, I didn’t understand why she was telling me, no, but then she finally explained to me that if you are not a permanent resident or a citizen, you won’t be able to come back if you leave the country. I felt a knot in my stomach because I was scared that I would never be able to go back to my home country again.

Perseverance and Triumph in America

Years passed and I waited for my green card. I missed out on so many opportunities growing up here that my peers were able to do. I waited for my green card for eight years. I received a call from my lawyer stating that my process has been approved and that I should check the mail to see if I got the letter. The long wait was difficult but that has shaped me to work harder than my peers and to reach higher. I could have been discouraged because of the long wait, but I chose to keep trying until it finally happened.        

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