First Days Project
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Global Nation from PRI
KBCS at Bellevue College
NBC Asian America
Swarthmore College Libraries
Global Nation at PRI is where you hear real-world stories of immigrants in the United States—their challenges, successes and how uneven US immigration laws affect their lives.
GILLI DANENBERG'S FIRST DAY
"Fitting in was hard. I remember many instances where people made fun of the way I talk or the way I pronounce things."
SONITA ALIZADEH'S FIRST DAY
"I am from Afghanistan. I came to USA eight months ago. I am student at Wasatch Academy."
ALEJANDRO MURGUíA'S FIRST DAY
"My dad always encouraged us to not work like he did. He was a laborer. So he encouraged us to be educated. But obviously he didn’t know how to go about the process."
RAPHAEL NZIRUBUSA'S FIRST DAY
"He said, 'Raphael there’s a war going on in Burundi, they just killed the president and things are likely to be bad.'"
TANZID SAKIB'S FIRST DAY
"I was 10 years old when I arrived in fourth grade. I was chubby. I didn't know much English."
NAAZISH YARKHAN'S FIRST DAY
"I wasn't scared or nervous about leaving India. It was expected that girls would move away from their parents' home to wherever their spouses lived."
THU-THUY TRUONG'S FIRST DAY
"At the time, I didn’t see any value, being a child, of holding onto this culture of ours that I saw as the past…"
JOSHUA NGUYEN'S FIRST DAY
"And I’m thinking, 'Hey, wow, look at that, fireworks for us. They really want us here.'"
KENNETH ROWE'S FIRST DAY
"I thought maybe the CIA might be mad at me. I went behind their back. But they congratulated me!"
ALI SHAHIDY'S FIRST DAY
"I never imagined that buying a sandwich in the US would be this challenging and cause me so much embarrassment."
SHWULING SHIEH'S FIRST DAY
"When I came, I thought I was going to go back to Taiwan. But once you get here, you start to think, 'Here isn’t so bad. There are opportunities.'"
CHENG IMM TAN'S FIRST DAY
"I speak English. Why should I be scared?"
MARJORIE AGOSíN'S FIRST DAY
"Coming to the US was extremely hard and it’s something that I think about all the time."
EVANNA HU'S FIRST DAY
"I knew one sentence when I came to the US, which was, 'What's for breakfast?'"
ETHEL ROHAN'S FIRST DAY
"Such fondness in his voice, and I had never ever heard that before. Ever. My entire life."
ABU EGHAN'S FIRST DAY
"I would actually sit down and compose what I wanted to tell them, paragraph by paragraph, or maybe point by point, and then make a 30-minute tape and mail the tape to them."
SUSAN CRUZ'S FIRST DAY
"When we arrived in Los Angeles, we literally just had one piece of luggage each, my mother and I."
SALEH DARKHALIL'S FIRST DAY
"The idea of coming to the States was pretty amazing. I kept thinking, ‘Wow, wow, wow.’"
KARIM SHAMSI-BASHA'S FIRST DAY
"It was a very easy decision to make because I knew that they had one thing here that we didn’t, which was freedom. And I wanted that really, really bad."
VLADIMIR VOINA'S FIRST DAY
"It struck me as something absolutely surreal. Not possible even to imagine. I counted 83 beers… because it was so unnatural. We were drinking in Moscow just one brand of beer!"
PARI NOORBAKHSH'S FIRST DAY
"I used to be really in love with all the John Wayne movies, so I thought I'm coming to see horses. That was a little bit of a surprise. There were no cowboys. Not in New York."
HOSSAIN ZARé KHIABANI'S FIRST DAY
"For me, my strength was that for two years I was in the military in Iran. That helped me a lot. It made my skin thicker because, say, worst-case scenario, I can sleep on the street."
NAYOMI MUNAWEERA'S FIRST DAY
"So when I came to America, it was just a feast, the fact that I could go into a library. It was such an incredible feeling of liberation."
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