I have started to open up with people

From : Kenya  |   School : BiNCA

I started middle school in Boston with my twin sister Anwar after being out of school for six years. I did not go to school in Kenya because we did not have enough money. I was so excited to learn and I was also nervous because I did not know people. The middle school in America was big, new, and clean. It was helpful to have my sister there as support. I liked that I did not have to wear a uniform to school like in my country, Kenya. All of the classes were confusing to me because I did not know English but the teachers explained it very well. I learned more about American culture too. People here wear different clothes according to their different beliefs. I liked some things about the culture here but I didn’t like other things. I liked the freedom to do whatever you want, like you wear the clothes you want and here you have rights and freedom. I didn’t like how some people judge you for who you are or believe you are wrong for being yourself.


On my first day of school people looked at my weird because I was wearing different clothes. I was wearing a dress and an orange hijab. I didn’t see any other students with hijab, only my sister. The students made me feel like I was doing something wrong. I kept thinking about it and I was not able to concentrate on my school work because I was worried they would say something about my culture. My religion and faith is important to me and I wanted the freedom to be myself and to show my culture. I also did not like that the middle school ended at 3:40 pm. In Kenya the school day started at 7 am and ended at 2pm, so the end time of the middle school felt very late compared to that. It was too long of a day. I felt lonely because only a few people spoke my language. I spent three years at the school but never felt comfortable to be myself.


In 2019, I started at a new school called BINCA. Here we get out at 2:30 which is much better but I choose to stay after school for Somali club and with my friends because I feel connected and safe. There are other Muslim students here, which makes me feel proud. Last year we did an event with Somali food for the whole school and we shared about our culture. The other students liked our food and our culture. It made me think about how far I have come since middle school. We are not judged. People will help you when you need it, both students and teachers. My brother and sister started at BINCA before me, they helped me find my classes. In my middle school there were only a few newcomers so I did not feel very comfortable there. But at BINCA we are all newcomers, so I feel more comfortable. We are all learning about a new language and culture together. 


I have started to open up with people. I don’t worry about people judging me anymore. I feel proud when I wear my hijab and I feel proud of my culture. I try to make other people feel comfortable and welcome about their cultures too. I don’t judge them because I know what it feels like to be judged. 



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