Adapting to new culture

The class starts and I’m standing here next to the teacher anxiously, waiting to be introduced to the class. I am amazed to see such diversity of students in the classroom, but I see none from where I'm from. Why are they whispering and pointing? As I am standing there feeling more and more like an outcast. ¨I would like to welcome our new student Mona Elsyed who’s come all the way from Egypt....¨ As she’s introducing me, I already feel as if I did not belong. I noticed the pointing fingers turn to my head. One girl had a  confused look on her face as  her eyes were directed towards my Hijab. I felt that she was clueless of what it was and I wasn't able to tell her the way I wanted to because of the language barrier, so I still remained silent. If I knew the correct words I would tell her, that my hijab means much, it is for only those who are family to see what is hidden and where I am from it is written that my hair is a treasure only for my husband to adore. I then was given my seat and I sat down. The teacher then began to teach of things that I did not know or understand and the students began writing while I sat there in worry and confusion. I’m afraid of failing and being made fun of so I just raise my hand ask her what does it mean? she answered me more clear “huh?” but I still couldn’t understand, so she came over to me and showed how to write the assignment. “Ooohh!”, I said loudly and I heard the students around laugh at me but now, I understood. I then began writing my name and I forgot how to write the date in English so I just wrote it in egyptian. I had to write about what I did this past summer,so I wrote at my best ability and I made a paragraph. I then called the teacher over again to check my work and she told me I did a great job and asked if I could read mine out loud to the class. I felt unsure but still said yes. I stood up and the students clapped and as I read slowly, everyone was silent and staring at me so my hands began to shake but I continued reading. I knew I sounded like a broken machine but at least I had the courage to speak and when I was finished I felt better. Everyone then clapped again and I sat down.

Comments (2)

Ella Donesky (Student 2017)
Ella Donesky

I really enjoyed this piece. You developed the character really well! I haven't had many experiences being a foreigner in a new place, and your monologue taught me what that was like. Great job!

Chloë Epstein (Student 2017)
Chloë Epstein

Hi Fariha! I really liked your piece! It told a great story and was very relatable. I do wish is was a little longer because I would like to read more about your story of moving to a completely different country. I would've also liked to have heard more back story like why your original home. But, other than that you did a very good job!