Where are you from?

New Delhi, India

What was it like growing up in India?

It was great! I was there my entire life. The best part was that the people around me were just like me. You played cricket and they don’t play that here in the U.S. I got training and became the school captain. Case Western Reserve University (CWRU) now has a small club and I’m looking forward to joining.

What brought you to Cleveland?

10 years ago my aunt filed a sponsorship for my family and then 2 years ago we moved here. I don’t know why, I went back to India to finish high school. I started college there last year, then the US embassy sent me a letter saying I must come back if I wanted to keep my green card status. So I came back and came to CWRU, but it’s so much more expensive. I have grants and scholarship but it’s still not enough. India was practically paying me to be there. It’s a public institution and not many Indian scientist studying there. All of the scientist there come here. So essentially we moved here for the hope of better future and successful career.

What were your first thoughts on coming to the United States of America and did those change?

We had tickets to come here and I was very excited. I expected America to be developed, clean, full of smart people and have better facilities. I didn’t expect to meet many from my community here but eventually I did. I went to the Sikh temple and I met so many people there.

What challenges did you face as an immigrant transitioning here?

First of all nobody could pronounce my name properly I have to repeat it and spell it out. It was a complete cultural shock we don’t smoke and we don’t drink and everyone here just wants to party and drink. I wear a turban so sometimes people look at me different. There was also a shock in the US education system because they test you on your English skills and not your science skills. It’s not fair because it’s not reflective of who I am. The ACT and SAT were important and even with my AP distinction I didn’t’ test well. I didn’t’ like that. Back home the test are tough and English is not a part of it.

What traditions or customs do you continue to practice?

I continue to practice my religion and I will as long as I’m alive. I won’t try to get into the Americanized standards I don’t plan to drink or smoke, I’ll be the same person I was in India here.

How have other Clevelanders made you felt welcomed?

The indian community is very welcoming they invite me to dinner and they just accepted us. The native americans are also very supportive and welcoming to the immigrants.

What do you love about Cleveland?

The people here are more generous. When I talk to Indians they judge me on my English but American’s don’t do that and I like it. People come to me on their own to talk to me.

Why is it important to welcome immigrants and refugees?

The entire globe is expanding and you don’t want one type of people to stay in their place and ignore everyone else. We are mixing together and that is important. We should welcome everyone, no two individuals are alike everyone has their own mind and abilities. A diverse group helps us to progress. That’s how you make America great again!

Why is it important to travel abroad?

It is important to travel abroad because it gives you an idea of what the world actually is outside of your own perspective. Traveling allows you to explore different areas, people and communities.