Where Are You From?

“We are not different. All of us, we are human.”

Hold a Conversation

Can you imagine leading a conversation about this story? Where? With whom? What kinds of questions would you pose? (See How to use the questions for reflection for one approach.) Please email your questions to us or post them in the comment box for our consideration. If you use them in an actual discussion, let us know how the conversation went.

Transcript for Where Are You From

The first semester here in the College of Nursing at Valpo University, I found it hard to make friendship with the American students, even with the international students because I didn’t know anyone and they didn’t know me very well. But after that, like one month later, I started to open a short conversation.

The American people one day asked me, “Where are you from?”

I said, “I’m from America.” It’s worked 100% because they thought I am an American because I think maybe because I have green eyes, my face it’s kind of white, you know? And it’s just a funny way to make the American people rethink about, don’t judge about anyone or someone from his accent, or from his face, or his clothes.

One day I went to the Family Express, and I was just trying to buy a coke I believe. I just said, “Hi, how are you?”

And there was a man and he said, “Where are you from?”

I said, “I’m from America.”

And he said, “No, where are you from, sir?”

I said, “Yeah I’m from America. I’m from Indiana, especially here from Valparaiso.”

He said, “No, you are not American.”

I said, “How do you know that.”

He said, “I can recognize your accent. It’s very special accent. It’s different. That makes me think you are not American. So where are you from?”

I said, “Okay, I’m from Iraq.”

“Oh,” he said “Oh yeah you are from Iran.”

I said, “No, that’s a different country.”

He said, “Oh you mean Saudi Arabia.”

I said, “No, that’s another different country.”

He said, “Okay, I don’t know where you are from.”

The Iraqi currency, I have it in my pocket. All the time I carry it, just to show the people the other face of my country. I said, “Okay this one is a gift for you.” And I signed it for him.

I’m not different. You know I’m a human being like you guys so we are not different. All of us we are human, but we are from different countries.

  • This makes no sense

    The person who he spoke with didn’t know the country that we, The United Stated of America, staged an invasion for a little over 8 years in an attempt to over-throw a dictator and establish democracy? He got it confused with Iran, a country which, as opposed to Iraq, does have a viable nuclear weapons program which could be considered a threat to many of our allies? I know this is not the point of the video but, seriously, at this point in American history, after September 11th, The Iraq War and the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan, what American does not know that Iraq, Iran and Saudi Arabia are different countries?

    • aschuet1

      Thanks for taking the time to share your reaction to the story. I wonder if there’s a question to be asked that would invite Americans who haven’t paid attention to US foreign policy into the conversation. Perhaps something like, “What might account for the fact that the worker at the Family Express did not recognize Iraq as a country?”


      • This still makes no sense

        That’s a good question. I would say that it would either be utter ignorance to what makes a country and what countries exist in the world. As I said Either that, or he was trying to be funny and say “Aren’t all those countries the same?”. In which case, I can see how this student would have misinterpreted this interaction. If this isn’t the case then the Store clerk should either research countries in the world so he may further educate himself, or perhaps be subject to a bit of criticism when he winds up in situations like this one.

        • aschuet1

          Thanks for returning to the site and sharing your thoughts. Greatly appreciated.


  • ndziubasik

    I really like his story in this video. It’s interesting to see that simply saying you’re American makes people view you differently, and it’s definitely disappointing that that’s the case, but the simple action of saying you’re American, even though you weren’t born here, and being able to prove that there is no difference between an American and an Iraqi native shows that there really is no point in distinctions between nations. It’s like he said, we are human, and it doesn’t matter where you’re from in the end.