Mahli Claros traveled from Guatemala to the U.S. three years ago. She traveled alone, however, she is now living with her aunt. She left several family members behind including her mom and siblings. She shared that her father died back in Guatemala and his death was one of the reasons she moved to the U.S. Even though she is glad to be in the U.S., she finds many things difficult, such as the difference in culture and language here compared to Guatemala. Before she moved here she was unable to go to school consistently because she needed to help her mother. “I miss my whole family,” Claros says. She says her mother gives her strength and encourages her over the phone when she is feeling down. Now that she is able to attend school, her goal is to improve her English and finish high school. She says that school has helped her learn to communicate better and shares that if it were not for school, she wouldn’t have learned English. Claros also says that “[everyone] has the right to go after [their] dreams.”
Yesy Romero moved to the U.S. from Honduras two years ago, alone and unable to speak English. Now, she lives with her mother and her English is improving. In Honduras, Romero wasn’t able to go to school and study due to financial issues. She explained that the only way she would be able to get a good job and make a living was to either live around wealthier people or work in politics. Her dream is to become a flight attendant for commercial airlines. She says if she was still in Honduras she wouldn’t be able to do that. Romero says that moving to the US has greatly increased her chances of having a better life. “Here I can be myself and dress the way I want,” Romero says, “I’m learning English and there is stuff here to distract me.” She enjoys school here in Fauquier and enjoys life in the US. However she admits that “the one thing I had to get accustomed to was the food, it’s very different.”
In January of 2017, Milana Tarasova moved to the US with her parents and little brother from Ukraine. She shares that she never really struggled back in Ukraine other than the war which was not too far from her home. “The hardest part about moving is saying goodbye to everyone, because everything was native there, and it’s always scary to start a new life,” Tarasova says. She also says that she misses her relatives and friends that are back in Ukraine. However, despite her hardships, she admits people treated her “positively, with kindness and understanding.” She also says she likes FHS more than her old school and says that its “15 times easier than in Ukraine.” Tarasova doesn’t know what she wants to do in the future but believes that moving to the US has increased her chances for whatever profession she wants.
“I miss my country so much, all my relatives are there,” Israt Jahan says. As of now, she has been living in the US for a little over a year after moving from Bangladesh. She moved here with her parents and plans on visiting her home country after receiving her citizenship. Among her relatives that she left behind were her uncles, aunts, and cousins. Although she was sad to leave her relatives, she is glad that she is living in the US. She explains her struggles while living in Bangladesh. “Women cannot work outside because of men, because their husband and family don’t like them to go out and work,” Jahan says. “[You can’t] do anything, [you can’t] go outside. Here, however, everybody is free.” Luckily, when she arrived to the US, she explains that people treated her nicely, and she is happy to go outside without being judged by others. She also says she likes FHS more than her past school, especially because of the lack of uniforms which she had to wear in her old school. Jahan plans on being a doctor after graduating high school.
Junior Justin Kim arrived in America from Seoul, Korea in his freshman year. He arrived alone, leaving his parents, sister and extended family members behind. He now lives with his aunt, uncle and his cousin. He was born in America, but his family quickly moved back to Korea shortly after he was born. He left Korea because of the toxic competition he always faced. Kim says, “[it’s] stressful to study, their competition is so hard [I had] to be in the first place [all the time] in Korea.” When he arrived in America, he knew zero English. He said it was “horrible.” He mostly learned from Youtube and talking to his English-speaking friends. He shared that the most surprising thing he encountered in America was its diversity. He also faced racism in the form of racial slurs due to his race. “I [experienced] racism [because I] was Asian but there were some kinder people who would be my friends.” He also says he misses his family the most, “When I miss [them] I just Facetime them but [we’re] not face to face.” However, he enjoys his friends and says that “[school] is way easier since I know [how to speak] English.” When asked what he would say to those who mistreated him he laughed and said, “Now that [I’m better at English] since freshman year, [they can] come up and see me.”
Information and photos compiled by Nayeli Arellano