WE ARE: A Nation of Immigrants - New Haven 2018
New Haven Green B04
Current occupation: Healthcare Coordinator at IRIS, New Haven
Arrival in the US: 2011
Reason for migration: My family was looking for a better life with more opportunities
Commentary: While we were refugees in Slovakia, most immigrant children were not allowed to go to school. Because I was one of the lucky ones who did get to go to school, my father came to me one day and said, “There are four or five kids sitting next to the mosque. They want to learn to read and write. Can you help them?” I said, “I’m 12. I’m just in the fourth grade. I have never taught anyone.” My father said he would help me. He taught me how to sit in a chair and be a teacher. We started a school with 12 students and by the time I left, we had over 300 students. I will always remember my students’ beautiful faces. All they wanted to do was learn to read and write.
When we arrived in New Haven, our case manager took us to our apartment and said, “Here is your new home. You can live here with your mother. I hope you build a good life in the United States.” When we opened the door, there was food from my country cooked for us and the apartment was all set up. But it was in the American way with the bed in the middle of the house. The first night, we stayed up opening everything up and moving furniture into the corners the way we were used to. I will always remember that.