Journey to a New Home

Two PHS Students Describe their Experiences Immigrating to the US

It was 4:30 on a cold, dusky morning and an alarm began blaring through the entire household. A shadowy figure jolted up and quickly turned it off. The boy let out a big yawn and got up to turn on the lights. He had silky black hair, just long enough to loom over his eyes but not obscure his vision. While rubbing his eyes he walked over into the courtyard which was at the center of his house surrounded by 4 towering walls. His Mom turned to look at him and then returned to drinking her chai, his sister laid on a cot made of woven hay with both eyes shut but still awake while his dad and uncle lifted hefty suitcases into the back of a van.

“Ayush!” his mother called out, “Go help your father with the bags,” she said in a quiet but stern voice. Ayush nodded and began loading up the rest of the suitcases when they were done. The whole family climbed into the van. No one spoke during the trip, but they all had one thing going on in their minds: there was an anxious mood that lasted until they arrived at the airport. Everyone hurriedly got out of the van and began unloading the van, the boy looked up in awe staring at the planes dancing in the sky as they took off.

Finally when they were done unloading their bags, Ayush and his family turned to hug and kiss everyone, one of the people who had come to see them off. Ayush fought back tears as he walked through the doors of the airport forever saying goodbye to the world and life he knew.

The next day his flight landed at 5:00 in the evening, it was a grueling 16 hour flight . It was a cloudy day with some brisk wind that made it colder. The moment felt surreal to him and his family as he stared out the large airport windows, paying close attention to the sky, birds, cars, and almost any other detail he could remember.

New Jersey is home to over 2.1 million immigrants of which 13% come from India. Every year thousands of families decide to leave their old lives in their home countries behind and make the move to America in hopes for a better life and opportunity.

This is just what Ayush Pandya and Jeet Patel, two high school students at PHS did at the ages of 13 and 6 respectively. Their journeys include struggle, fear, and happiness as they truly embraced their new beginnings and new lives.

Ayush, a sophomore at PHS, 16 now moved to New Jersey on April 7th 2020 at 13 years old, leaving behind many close friends and a large part of his family. Although Ayush was excited to come to America and make new friends he was worried.

“One of my first thoughts when I first attended the school is will I be able to fit into such an environment and culture?”

Another thing Agush dealt with at first was making friends, he wasn’t really sure who to talk to, how to talk to them, and how to connect with people.

“Making friends here was also a hard job for me as I don’t usually go to talk by myself”

Another Student who dealt with a similar situation is Jeet Patel, who came to New Jersey at the age of 6 years old in December 2012. He also talked about how the teachers he met here were much nicer than the ones he had in India. Also Jeet talked about how one of his main struggles when moving here was the language barrier he faced.

“The biggest struggle was language since I didn’t know much English, so I had to take ESL.”

All in all the experiences of high school students who had to come from different countries help show other students and people the differences in ways of life and some of the struggles that are faced by families as they immigrate to the US.