“Every beginnings looks similar to a blank sheet of paper. Something empty but with tons of possibilities where you can create whatever you want to. It allows you the freedom of doing things in your own unique way.

Every time my mother brought me a new notebook, the first page would always be the hardest to write on. I would always feel less confident and more anxious to start. However, once I break the ice I would feel confident with each subsequent pages.

Moving to a new country offers you fresh start to your lives. But like every other thing, this process comes with its own ‘Pros and Cons’ and ‘Dos and Don’ts’.

For someone like me, who moved to New York from a very different country like Nepal, both in terms of culture and geography, the journey was parallel to that of writing on a notebook. At the beginning I was anxious and unsure where to start. But at the same time, I was excited about my new life. Sometimes I felt sad having to leave for somewhere thousands of miles away. I had to leave my belongings, my parents, my friends of 18 years. Other times, I also felt sad because with each passing days, I was replacing the memories of the places that once helped me to become what I was then. Regardless, I was also happy and excited. Despite all the homesickness and sadness, I was willing to create a new version of myself.

Like every person arriving to a new place, I experienced feeling like an outsider when I moved here but I did not let that get the best of me. My English was not very good but I tried my best to learn. Even with the improper grammar of mine, I kept trying and never stopped writing and learning. We all know, learning is something that never ends.

Everything was challenging for me, especially the first year in New York when I was only working. I had to save money for my college. Knew that my parents would not be able to pay for my tuition. Most of times I worked all day long. The work was never easy; standing all day long on my feet was something that I never did before. I started finding myself highly stressed for little things and questioning myself and thinking that I am good enough to go back to school any longer. However, I reminded myself that I would not end up doing just this. I built up my confidence which gave me the energy and courage to not give up on any of my hopes and dreams. I was also blessed with supportive family and friends who helped me to find my path. My constant hard work, optimism and determination, after more than two years of living in New York led me to  my academic journey at LaGuardia community College. There I was able to find my new home, felt welcomed and was able to learn many new things from my divers peers.

“Food vendor” by Swekchka Luitel

Like every other immigrants, there was times where I felt rejected. But after having to go through the process of rejection and feeling like an outsider, I also realized one thing: before trying to be accepted from someone else, it is important to first be accepted from yourself. I started to discover the best experiences after I enrolled in college. I dared to push myself and and open up to possibilities.

My journey helped discover unknown parts of myself! I started to explore different paths that led me to find my passion on photography and poetry. I started painting and expressing myself through my art. New York has helped me discover part of myself that I would have never discovered if I was not here. My journey has been nothing but the journey of self discovery!

Through my experiences, I realized that never giving up, always being the hardest worker and having the willingness to learn, adjust and adopt is something that should be the most important thing to keep in mind for all immigrants while surviving through every possible downsides of being one.

Being an immigrant can never be an easy journey no matter where you’re from. But, with love, support and determination, you can change the world!

I am an immigrant and this is my story! “

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