We all know life throws us a challenge every now and then. But imagine having to face those challenges in a place that isn’t familiar to you. I know my friend Roxi has, coming to the States without knowing English and then having to face these challenges. Just like your typical American, Roxi has gone to school, made friends, balance academics with a social life, and deal with her parents not agreeing with some of her decisions. I feel that by learning about the challenges of someone of a different culture, we will be able to understand what life is like for them and hopefully be able to learn to accept different cultures.
When I think of the first day of school, I think that most of us were nervous. Roxi started her first day of school not knowing any English. They put her in kindergarten even though she already took kindergarten in Romania. Her parents wanted her to go into first grade. On the first day the other children try to talk to her and she couldn’t understand anything they were saying. She had to communicate by pointing and listening to the sounds when others pointed. Roxi caught on pretty quickly and only stayed in kindergarten for a few weeks before they moved her to first grade. Her mother knew some English from taking it in college and her dad knew no English. On top of learning English in school she still had to communicate to her dad in Romanian. As a seven year old she was living a double life, which has made her grow up faster than most kids at that age.
Children and parents often disagree but for Roxi, she never really had a strong relationship with her parents when they moved to the States. I think this would make things even more difficult. I know that as I grew up, I depending on my parents for a lot of things. They have always been there to support me and encourage me to do my best. When Roxi and her parents came here, her parents continued to stay in their old ways in Romania. They still have never truly adapted to American culture. But for Roxi, she has lived here longer then she lived in Romania. She has learned that to succeed in life she needs to do things the American way. In Romania, high school students take comprehensive exam that dictates the type of schools they will be able to get into. From here on there is no exploring the options or going to college and taking general classes. Students go to specific programs that train them in the field they want to go in. Her parents don’t understand that here it takes more than one step to get to a career and along that process we can change our minds. Every parent wants the best for their child but it’s frustrating when they don’t really understand what the best is.
For the people out there that think people who move here from another country need to adapt to American culture. Try to put yourself in their shoes, think about all the challenges they face and concur day after day. I think many will think differently before judging someone. For me, I think it is great that we have such a diverse society. We are able to learn from each other and become better human beings learning from the challenges others face.