Coming from the Philippines to America

Josel Angelo Armendi, Contributor


Moving from the Philippines to America was an experience for me. I was about nine years old, knew little about the world beyond my culture at the time and the transition from a third world country to a first world was brand new.

I remembered receiving benefits that were nonexistent in my home country at that time, such as healthcare and education. Being granted citizenship when I turned 18 was a moment that I will forever remember.

When I first came here, my family and I were granted our green cards and legal documents. From then on, we strived to make the best of the opportunities that lay ahead of us. When my mom received her citizenship, I was 18 and was automatically granted citizenship because I was her son.

Back in the Philippines, I was enrolled at a private school which was equivalent to public school standards here in the United States. America’s public education system was helpful for my mom because she hardly had to worry about expenses while I was being taught here. It was something I’d never experienced before; I remember seeing the amount of diversity in a U.S. classroom for the first time and being shocked. Back then, I always saw Filipinos in my class and I felt unconnected from the rest of the world around me.

Growing up, I became socially and culturally aware of my own culture and of other ethnic aspects as well. Coming into college, I joined a studen-t­led organization called Kamalayan Alliance. It is a multi­-cultural Asian American Pacific Islander organization that strives to emphasize the need for diversity and a focus on minority rights on campus and is actively involved with multiple cultures and ethnic backgrounds.