Written by an Immigrant
Mohamed Hammam
21 years old
January 20, 2022
Written by an Immigrant

Between the years1880 and 1920, the first groups of Italians Immigrants started migrating to the United States. They fled their country due to the wars accompanied by Risorgimento. Ships filled by hundreds of thousands of Italians started heading towards Northern America, more specifically the USA. Just 100 years after its independence the United States became an attraction to Immigrants. 

Since then there have been over 275 million immigrants globally who left their countries; either due to political issues, wars; or famine in their own countries. We are talking about 4% of the whole world population who migrated and left their countries for a better stable life.

As being part of an immigrant family, who migrated by the age of 13, I understand the struggles going through it. We came to a country where we didn’t know the language, the currency of the culture. I felt lost and alone in the middle of a maze. All I had to hold on was the fond memories I built with my friends in the past.I had a very hard time the first two years going to a school where I could not understand a single word. Accepting one’s failures, and getting grades like 15-25 out of 100 was the hardest thing for me, as I used to be getting 90-80; but you have to accept that is your reality now. It’s very tough, especially when I was trying to do my best with no improvement. It feels like you have your hands tied behind your back when you are playing basketball. It’s a helpless feeling.

I remember I used to go to school at eight in the morning, and attend my classes for eight hours, and  I did not understand a word and was bullied and made fun of because of that. After that I went to work to support my family for five hours washing dishes in a restaurant for minimum wage. I then walked back home the four kilometers to study and translate every single word I heard in class. During that time I didn’t have a phone to record in class to help me in translating. So I used to listen to how they say the word and write it down as I thought it sounded and if I am lucky enough I would get the word close enough so that google can detect it. 

I am not writing this for sympathy, or to get attention on how hard my life is; but to raise awareness to the immigrant kids we have around the world. I was lucky enough to have my whole family with me, where at the end of the day we are all together in one household and supporting each other. I used to volunteer for UNICEF camps on the border where there were a lot of immigrant kids, and you hear the hardest and most painful stories ever, It’s not just about the bullying or about the poverty. The only mindset you have at that moment is how will you survive to the next day. It’s a destructive mindset where you don’t have hope for the future, and you don’t see a vision for yourself. You just want to survive for one day. One day at a time is what it takes. The only thing you have through these dark times is Hope. Hope for food at the dinner table. Hope to return home and not be arrested by the immigration police. Hope to see your family in a stable life under one roof. Hope for a better tomorrow.

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