This I Believe

Gulkhanym - Boise, Idaho
Entered on April 22, 2008
Age Group: Under 18
Themes: immigrant

My parents were born in Uzbekistan. I was born in Russia. Now we are in America, but we never went to our native country, Turkey. After all my experiences, I believe that to live in another’s country is very difficult, but all the people in the world deserve respect equally.

The communication is not easy, and it’s difficult to go from one language to another. Learning the Russian language was very difficult for me. When I went to first grade, nobody from my class knew Russian and because of that I learned the language very slowly. I learned to speak another language like a baby learns to speak. After that experience I learned that without knowing a language people can’t explain anything when they need something. My accent made people angry. Once I asked for something from a school custodian, but I didn’t pronounce it right. After that I had a serious conversation with her because she thought I said a bad word. I was speaking like an animal. I learned that if person who is not speaking clearly will get into big trouble, like me. This experience taught me that to live within another nation and communicate with the people requires a lot of hard work.

Immigrants were treated badly at Russian schools. Turkish students were in separate classes from the other students. We were devils who were separated from the people. I learned some people don’t like someone who is not exactly like they are or who

is not from their country. All students could go to college after the ninth grade, except me, because I was an immigrant. The doors of a good future were closed for immigrants. That showed me that a person can’t have a good future where nobody likes her. All these experiences made me very sad and showed that even children can be treated badly.

The Russian government didn’t help any immigrants. I lived in Russia for 16 years but I didn’t have identification documents to live there. We had to pay a lot of money to get them. I lived like an invisible person among Russians. That taught me that without any documents you are nothing. I didn’t have any insurance to go to the hospital. And because of that I had to pay a lot of money, which I could not always find. My situation put me into the middle of the ocean, but I couldn’t swim. After that I understood that somehow immigrants should rely on themselves and not hope for help from others.

Different people in the world have different cultures and different ideas about the world. For me, as a Meskhetian Turk and a person with no homeland, I think we should know something about other people and other people should know something about us. To do that, we must treat each other well and have peace. All the people in the world deserve respect equally.