“July 29, 2016. I landed in JFK airport with two heavy luggages filled with nothing but a few old books and homemade snacks. Aside from the luggages, I only carried an ambition to pursue a better education and accomplish something significant in my life.

My first day in America was filled with mixed emotions. I was excited to gain scholarship in a foreign university but partly despondent having left my family and friends. Lucky for me, I was showered with love and support from most of the people I met in this foreign country. Although I still miss home, it has been easier to remain focused after finding people that I can call family.

I spent the first five months in Mississippi at the University of Southern Mississippi (USM) where I completed my first semester. Those five months were the best experience I had ever had in my life. During my stay there, I got the opportunity to learn and experience the culture of traditional American University life. I discovered that sports like American football (not the “football” that i was accustomed to imagine of when i heard that word, which i then learned was called soccer in America) and basketball are inevitable parts of the American culture. I was always keen to watch  live American football match, and thankfully USM has its own football stadium where I got the opportunity to see four football matches. Beside sports, I was also introduced to American cuisines. As I was living on-campus, I used campus dining for fooding. Foods like pizza, Burger, pan cake, hash brown, and french fries were the most common foods that could be found in the dining hall.

Further, I was blessed with some of the most kindest and supportive people. The resident assistant of my dorm was an African American guy who assisted me to get settled in the dorm. My residence application was still up in the air however, he talked to the ResLife department on my behalf and convinced them to let me stay. In addition, my current adviser Ann Matsuuchi has been another blessing in my life. I met her through LaGuardia Phi Theta Kappa chapter where I am the media officer. Professor Ann and I worked cohesively to update our social media page. Besides the technical assistance, she also encouraged me to participate in several other programs like the Wikipedia project through which I received some scholarships and got the opportunity to attend a reputed wiki-conference in Ohio.

Despite the ongoing political conflicts on the issue of immigration, my overall experience so far as an immigrant has been full of joy, excitement, love and hope and for that I am forever grateful.”

Pema Thinle Khampa, a Lagcc student and Phi Theta Kappa chapter media officer 

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