the immigrant story
is our story
The stories of immigrants comprise our nation’s collective history and its rich, multicultural present. These stories both form and strengthen the very fabric of the country.
In collaboration with our sponsors The Immigrant Story and Pro Photo Supply, Senior Seminar and Apollo Yearbook students have collected stories of us. We hope that these stories create empathy and respect among all of us.
Rana didn't speak a word of English and she was already starting high school in America. Everyone around her sounded like they were speaking gibberish. She had no idea how to communicate with anyone else in the entire school and felt as though she was an alien in an on a foreign planet.
Rana moved to to the United States from Egypt when she was ten. She had lived in Egypt for almost her entire life with her mom, dad and two brothers.
Hard Work and Perseverance
Marve was six years old when he moved to the United States from the Congo with his family fled due to the violence that surrounded them. The area was plagued with war and his father ended up being attacked and was shot, right near where they lived. As his Father healed, Marve, his Mother, and his siblings had to move somewhere else for a short time so there wouldn’t be any retaliation from the people who his father the first time. His father ended up recovering and then they came to the U.S. to
Movement, Loss & Adventure
"My heart races and I fidget my hands nervously as I walk into my new classroom. Seeing the sign above the door that's in English causes me even more stress as I struggle to read the foreign language. I feel like a failure. If I can't even read my classroom sign, how am I going to do anything in this new school? I walk into the classroom and hold my breath. I'm surrounded by strangers, and all I want to do is to just go back home to Korea."
From Turkey to Portland
Change comes naturally with life, it just depends on how people handle it and the situations they’re thrown into. In the case of Rashid, he was 13 years old when he had to leave his native Turkey and move to the United States because of his father's work.
Memories of Red Roses
The most crossed and feared border with roughly 7,000 deaths of immigrants a year was going to be the hardest thing for Yessica after leaving her mom. Yessica and her niece were abandoned in the middle of dessert with only the hope that “el coyote” would come back like he said he would. Yesica and her niece were found by border patrol. The first thing Yessica thought was to run. A mistake, the patroller caught up with her anyway.
The Big America
She was originally born in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia and then moved to Singapore for her father to pursue his career at Intel. With this, she eventually developed a familiarity with her small island and the connections with her family and their friends.
A Second Life
Born and raised in the Philippines, Christian had no idea was in store for him. Growing up in his neighborhood there was “rough,” he says. The economy was messed up in all sorts of ways. Despite these flaws, he still loved his country.
Christian attended school in the Philippines and described it as a really bad environment. He went to a public school with 3,000 other students. The school provided little to no freedom, and was organized in a very obscure way. “
When Math and Life Meet
For a teenager moving to another country, an embarrassing moment of confusion is the worst nightmare. When she first arrived in the US Maria was excited, but when you don’t know what you’re going through it’s hard to stay focused and do well.
Maria was born in Israel where life is good and people are nice.
A Friend From All Over
Even in everyday settings, Ricardo Guevara recalled, his mom and dad got pushback for being an interracial couple. “Even in the grocery store,” he said, “like the way the cashier looked at [my parents] being an interracial couple.”
When Kenny got off the plane from Vietnam, he was greeted by his father's friend from MSU, Vu. When Kenny first stepped outside, he was overcome with fascination. Everything was huge compared to his small city of Can Tho. This was one of Kenny's first obstacles: adjusting to how much bigger, louder, and crazy everything was in America.
The Story of one Israeli American
“My favorite Jewish holiday is Yom Kippur,” he says. “Everyone from age 13 or older fasts. Yom Kippur was the last day historically of the Seven Day War, where Israel conquered back a lot of territory. On Yom Kippur you reflect on the last year, and if you have sinned you ask for forgiveness from God. I am not the most religious person, but I feel like I become more connected to the culture and friends when the technology and food is out of your mind, and you have time to really reflect.”
Equal Parts of 2 Countries
Before Sindy was born, her father had worked in the United States along with most of his siblings, so when she was 4 years old, both her mom and dad decided it would be better for them to move the U.S.A.. She remembers being carried by every single person in her group, since she was so little and her parents wouldn’t have been able to do it all by themselves.
Americans Love Politics
Exotic countries outside that of America are often seen as enticing, or perhaps more appealing because of their drastic differences. But what about our neighboring countries? What can we gain from viewing our character through the lenses of another Westernized country? As a Canadian immigrant, Rozhina Varamini provides a new perspective on an outlying characteristic of America: our burning passion for politics.
5,424 Miles from Home
In Italy, Chiara says sports are not too common. The boys play soccer, American football, and other than that no sports are recognized at school and only a small amount of kids play a sport outside of school. So when Chiara got to Sunset and saw everything from football to basketball to tennis to water polo she was surprised. But more important, she was intrigued. Chiara's host family is famous in the Sunset community for its constant involvement in school sports. Chiarra got lucky with this.
He felt his heart ripping out of his chest. Each explosion sent a new wave of fear pulsing through his body. He buried his head in his pillow, and prayed he could sleep through the night.
Ahmad was eight years old. He lived in Darayya, Syria, a town just outside Damascus. In 2012, Darayya became a hotspot for anti-government protests. On August 25, 2012, an estimated 270 people were killed there by government forces.
Philippines to Singapore
In early 2014, Nicole performed a song in front of everyone called “Pinoy Ako,” which translates to “I Am Filipino.” She sang in a beautiful, calm tone. She was nervous at first while everyone stared at her. But then she sang. The crowd responded with awe.
Everyone, in the end, roared, and cheered for Nicole. The same students who had bullied her now marveled.
The Road to Change
Born in Hamburg, Germany, Elijah had a very unusual childhood. Both his parents were professional musicians, which quickly ruled out the possibility of a settled life. Elijah’s mom was born in Michigan and moved to Germany, where she met his dad, a native German. Elijah’s father, Samy Sorge, better known by his stage name, Samy Deluxe, is one of the top rappers in Germany. Elijah’s family was well-known, and his parents and occasionally even he would get recognized when they would go out. When E
American World Irish Culture
Even though she was born in Ireland, Ciara grew up as a fairly typical American kid. Her parents were both born and raised in Ireland, but moved their entire family to the U.S. when she was two for her father’s work. Because of her young age, Ciara does not remember much about her time in Ireland. The only difference you would notice between her and an American kid her age was her pronunciation of certain words such as “garage.”