Almost Like an Outsider

“I don’t think a lot of people understand how hard it is.”

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Transcript for Almost Like an Outsider

Once I actually started looking around when I first got here I noticed that there was not a lot of, um, minority students, and I almost felt like an outsider because of that. Um, not because I felt uncomfortable with being around people that were different than me. In fact, I think that you can easily relate to someone who doesn’t have the same ethnic background as you do.

I was never open with sharing that I was an immigrant or that my parents came here illegally. But I remember one time I was with a friend. She was someone who was always really nice. One night we were studying and were tired, and we started talking about our families. One thing lead to another, and I told her that my parents came here when I was little and that they brought me here illegally.

It’s a sensitive subject for me to talk about. It’s something powerful. I don’t think a lot of people understand how hard it is to start a new home here with your family. You don’t know the language. You don’t know the culture. You don’t know how to express yourself. Where do you find a job? It’s very difficult.

But when I started to tell her, I began to cry. I was surprised that even though she was from a different culture she started to cry as well. It made me feel good because I had not shared that with anyone here prior to telling her. I felt that she understood where I was coming from.

Besides having the barrier of like ethnic background or a lack of in on campus here, another time I felt like I didn’t belong was when I started learning the economic backgrounds of some of the people that come here.

One bad experience I had was when it came to the difference in money. I’m already here and doing something that is difficult for my parents enrolled here… I don’t want to ask them for anything else. I don’t want to tell them I need something for school. I’d rather not ask. But, I had a friend. This friend had traveled all over the world. Often times she wanted to go out. She’d tell me she was bored, and let’s go shopping. Or let’s go do this or that. Many times I would tell her I couldn’t go.

I believe there are many like her at this school. They have everything they want. They can ask their parents if they don’t have something because their parents have an education, and they can afford anything they would need. I believe they don’t understand the big difference there is economically with some of the students that attend here.

There are students like myself whose parents needed to take out loans themselves to pay for their child’s education when students like her receive a trip to Europe for graduation. I told my parents I didn’t want a party for my graduation. I want something simple. We can have a meal at home, I’m fine with that. It’s not important. The good is that they could at least do something. I say, they can do that because without them I would not be here.

  • Daniela

    Being an international student I can completely relate to the speaker. It is hard enough to come to a completely different environment from where you are used to and have to be independent, but coming to another country with an almost completely different culture and a different language is the hardest. It takes a part of who you are. Sometimes I can’t express myself the way I would like to because I don’t know how people could react or simply because I don’t know how to say it in this language. It does feel like you are almost an outsider.

    • aschuet1

      Daniela,
      Thanks for sharing your thoughts. We really love hearing how listeners respond to the stories. One thing I’ve learned from working on this project is how much richer our campus and community become when people who feel like outsiders take such big risks to come be a part of things. So thanks for that, too!
      Allison