Living in America is like working in a big company
The United States of my imagination was the land of skyscrapers, city life, prosperous people, and a plethora of opportunities. After living in Ohio for about six months, I realized that even the United States consists of suburbs, rural areas, and slums. I realized problems exist in every nation in different forms and complications. It is up to us to decide what works best for our life.
For an international student, I think the best aspect about the United States is its education system. Unlike other parts of the world, students are encouraged to raise questions against the existing theories, beliefs, ideas and opinions; it is more practical based rather than rote learning, and most of the universities have succeeded in maintaining academic integrity and excellence.
In the universities, you can see great diversity—people of all ages, race, gender, religion, country and political beliefs. The learning process is often collaborative, and not just confined to the core subject matters. Teamwork and innovation are also the integral parts of the whole learning ecosystem.
The second good aspect is that everything runs under a system. People are honest and they follow the designated rules. Work of every kind is well respected and you are equally treated in the society no matter what type of job you do. Healthcare, in terms of service, is great, although it is costly beyond reach if you don’t have insurance. And the society is such that a disciplined and hardworking can prosper and grow, and can succeed in any field in a short period.
But, I consider an American life more individualistic and commercialized. In the streets, you will find lots of people rushing towards their work, and you can’t realize where all these people are heading to. Time passes so quickly with work, and you have so little time to pause for a while, and think where your life is heading towards. Social life is a bit different to the one we find in Nepal and India. Children leave their parents once they reach a certain age. Family structure is mostly small with just the couples and their small kids. Apartments are more common than the houses. Elderly people habituated with the Eastern lifestyle might consider American life boring, and even ruthless.
Another problem of living in the United States is the identity crisis. As an international student, only a few of the people knows you, only a few of them will hear your voice, only a few of them will be there when you are in pain and sorrows. Living in America is like working in a very big company where one’s role is often very small, repetitive and limited and it only contributes a little of the company’s growth, and most of the times the employee doesn’t even notice how the giant company makes money out of the small task done by him. It takes a lot of time for a migrant to create his own identity.
Gun control is possibly the biggest problem in the United States. Although there are well-managed law and order, people are not able to save themselves from violent attacks. We often hear blind gunshots at various places and reason of such attacks is often unknown. Even in a country like America, class and racial conflicts still exist in different forms, and it is not able to address issues related to such conflicts.
Although America is considered a land of opportunities, an international student finds it difficult to get a good job after his graduation. Even in the IT industries, companies are reluctant in hiring international students. People with high qualification are also forced to do less intellectual jobs. A degree from a good university doesn’t necessarily guarantee a good job, nor does it guarantee a happy life.
Many people come to the United States to work, for study, or getting a diversity visa, and are often not acquainted with the existing problems. They should understand that even the developed parts of the world are not void of problems, and it is not good to make judgments looking only at the brighter prospects. For instance, many of the students, who come to study here without any scholarship or financial aid, are not able to support their expenses and they often work in the places like gas stations, which pay less, and are risky from the perspective of immigration laws.
It is also not true that all the people who came here have suffered and are living a hectic life. Many people have come to the United States and have done well in their field, and have been living a happy and prosperous life.
One should come to the United States only if he has a clear specific purpose of coming, and only if he is physically and mentally ready to achieve his goals. Else, it is only a big waste of time. In no time, half of the life goes in ruin in the rush for survival. A settlement in a big and prosperous country doesn’t necessarily guarantee a happy life.
Shiva lives in Bowling Green, Ohio and is pursuing his master’s degree in computer science at Bowling Green State university.