Column: Reflection on moving to America


Fadi Bodagh, writer

Moving from a small country to one of the biggest was one of the biggest changes in my life. I was 8-years-old when my family and I moved from Iraq to Syria to register in a program called U.N. The purpose of the program was to identify people who were interested in moving to the U.S. Each family was different; for some people, it took eight years to move, but luckily for us, it was only two years.

I came to U.S. when I was 11-years-old and it was not easy at all. None of my family spoke any English either, so that made everything even harder. For our first two weeks we lived with my aunts and cousins until we rented an apartment for ourselves. After that, my parents enrolled my brother and I in school; even though it was the end of the year, they still wanted us to learn some English. This stage was probably the hardest stage I experienced for many reasons. The biggest reason was the English. I felt really weird in school; I couldn’t talk to anyone except my cousin. Also, I didn’t understand anything that was going on in class. The only thing that made me feel better was the safety; we didn’t have to worry about anything.

Going into eighth grade wasn’t as bad because everyone knew who I was, but I still didn’t speak any English. I wanted to play football for West Middle School, but my parents didn’t let me because at the time we only had one car, and they wanted me to study more, so it made it harder for me because there was nothing motivating me. Finally I came to Rochester High School, which was very exciting to me for couple reasons: I was going to get to play soccer and was going to continue improving my English skills.

Going into freshman year wasn’t as hard as I thought it was going to be because soccer season started two weeks before school started, so I already made some friends and was comfortable going to school. My classes were decent, though I still didn’t understnad some because of my low English skills.

Sophomore year was the next stop; it was the most boring year for me. There was nothing exciting other than just working hard in soccer and trying to get better to play for the varsity team. The summer after my sophomore year, I took an ACT prep class and it got me a little worried because it was hard, specially the English and reading portions. Two weeks before school started, I had my soccer tryouts for three days and the third day they told us the results. I made the varsity team and I was really proud of myself because I worked really hard for this moment. And then it was ACT time, which was depressing. But then I took the ACT two times and I was happy with what I got.

Here I am now, a senior.