Students move to America from different countries

To some it is difficult to start over in a new school, but it is even harder when that new school is in a different country. According to “almost one out of four (23 percent) public school students in the United States came from an immigrant household in 2015. As recently as 1990 it was 11 percent, and in 1980 it was just 7 percent.” This statistic plays into Grayslake North, where many students have moved here from another country firsthand.

Kristan Magalona

Kristan Magalona is a junior at Grayslake North who has recently moved here from Papua New Guinea.
“I was 16 when I moved here, and I just came here in November,” Magalona said, “School is quite different here because I went to a private school in Papua New Guinea, and North is a public school. I do think that there is more freedom here. [Also] the school back in Papua New Guinea is more British.”
Magalona moved in with his uncle and cousins, which took a two day trip from Papua New Guinea to get to America in the first place.
“I moved here to make a better life for myself, get a job, and also return the favor for my parents as well who are in Papua New Guinea right now,” Magalona said.
Magalona has only lived here for a short few months, but the differences between the two countries are prominent to him.
“What has surprised me the most has definitely been the cultural shock from the difference between the two countries. The immigration process is slightly different than what I thought it would be. In New Guinea, you have to have your passports checked and all that, but over here it’s all machines,” Magalona said.
As many other American’s do, Magalona also has his interpretation of the American dream.
“I see the American dream as creating a successful and peaceful life,” Magalona said.
Magalona continues to settle in the Grayslake North atmosphere as he takes ESL classes and has the chance to find classes he’s interested in.

Daphelie Vernal

Daphelie Vernal is also a junior here at Grayslake North who moved to America from Haiti.
“I was about 13 and a half when I first moved to America, and I’m 16 now,” Vernal said.
Vernal is fluent in a number of languages, including English which she had picked up on when she moved.
“I speak Creol, but I don’t write it. I can speak and write French, as well as English,” Vernal said.
Like Magalona, Vernal had a different experience with school here than her school back in Haiti.
“School is different here because we don’t wear uniforms and we walk to different classes every day. In Haiti, you stay in the same classroom all day except for the lunch hour and gym,” Vernal said.
Vernal enjoys school here, but she had left a lot behind in the move.
“It was difficult to leave a lot of my friends and family behind. When I moved here, it was hard to make friends, but everyone is really nice,” Vernal said.
America can be a big cultural shock to anyone visiting, and the country is so large and reliant on modern technology.
“It’s surprising to see all the cars in the suburbs, and if you don’t drive, it’s hard to get what you need. In Haiti, you can go for a walk to buy something from the store. Everyone is friendly. Everyone knows each other, and a lot of people walk down the street,”Vernal said.
The weather here is also quite different than in Haiti, as mid westerners can relate to the cold winters Illinois endures.
“I like it here, except for the cold. It’s so cold all the time, and I don’t like it,” Vernal said.