Opinion | Foreign students should celebrate their cultures, not hide them while at school

 Believing that not fitting in is a problem or that being afraid to walk in the halls is silly or pathetic. It is a feeling that I and many students have felt as a new person in school. I arrived in Evanston about eight months ago. Until now, English has become a little easier for me than before. I can tell that the process of adapting to ETHS was complicated but not impossible.

The life of an immigrant will never be easy, living far from our home and culture hurts. Every day we feel the nostalgia of knowing that we are thousands of kilometers away from our  home and that there are few things that we have within our reach to be able to feel accompanied. The first days as a new student are complicated. Not knowing where to go for lunch, not having anyone to sit with, everyone talks to you, but no one is your friend, not understanding the system and often getting lost in the corridors, seeing how most students have their group of People who have known each other for years. It’s like your life will start all over again and you don’t even know where to start. Also adding that in some cases, as was mine, not knowing how to speak the language is a limitation to be able to develop your personality and your essence as you would like to do. It’s frustrating to know that you can’t socialize because no one understands you the way you want them to.

That first day, in which we are faced with giant corridors, full of people who have no doubts about what they are doing, having new classes, understanding the system, teachers and new things every day, it becomes overwhelming. But I would like to remind each of the students who identify with the above, they are not alone, and that pressure they feel today, I promise it will pass, is not easy, but it is not impossible either. Don’t get frustrated trying to fit in and knowing that many times you won’t, it’s completely normal, actually, you shouldn’t. They should not pretend, show or act like they belong here, we all come from different places, and your culture and background is what makes you special. Do not be afraid to show yourself as you are. I promise that you will find people with whom you can share being you. Friends will arrive, not as fast as we sometimes expect, but slowly you will create history in your new process at school. Do not give up.

In closing, I would like to highlight the excellent job that the entire school team did in helping me and my family with every step we took. They never left us alone, they were there, solving our doubts and accompanying the moments of uncertainty. This is why I invite new families/students to not hesitate to seek help or support. The people of ETHS work from the heart and I assure you that they will lend you a hand and find a way to make your process a little easier.