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For People Who Are Foreign Born…

Please write the story in your own words of how you came to the U.S. You may use whatever way feels the most comfortable for you to tell your story. The topics below are only there to help you organize your thoughts, if you wish to use them. Feel free to answer all of them, some of them, or none of them. If you do choose to use them, your responses in the boxes below will be forwarded to me when you click on the "submit" button at the bottom. If you wish to change or add something at a later date, feel free to email me, letting me know the name you used in the previous submission.

What I mainly want to know is what it was like for you uproot yourself from your country of origin, move to this country, and begin another life here. I hope you will feel free to share whatever comes to mind when you think about that. Any way you wish to tell me your story is fine! PLEASE NOTE THAT YOUR EMAIL ADDRESS DOES NOT AUTOMATICALLY SHOW UP ANYWHERE. If you want a response from me, you can put your email address in the box for question 3 in the first section, “General Information.” I also will not be able to put any part of your story on the web without a release of information. Please click on the “release” button below the “submit” button at the bottom of the page.


General Information
1. Your name and name you wish to use in this story?

1. Country you were born in? Raised in, if different?

2. Port of entry, dates of arrival, and your age at the time?

3. If I have further questions about your story, may I contact you? If so, please enter your email address, mail address or phone number, whichever one is the best way to get in touch with you:

Leaving your Home
1. Circumstances of leaving?
2. Come alone or with others?
3. If others, who, and their relationship to you?
4. Was plan to come and stay or go back home?
5. Preparations for coming here?
6. Difficulties, obstacles, dangers to coming?
7. Family support to come or did you come in secret?
8. What was it like saying good-bye?
9. Memories/feelings of the day you left or of saying good-bye?
10. Any advice or gifts from others?
11. Had you ever been out of your country before?
12. Anything more about leaving your home?

The Journey Here
1. If you were a refugee, what can you tell us about the camps, the process of coming here, choices about where you came, or anything else about being a refugee?
2. Mode of travel here? (Ship? Plane? Walking?)
3. Memories and feelings about the trip itself and about the first arriving here?
4. Expectations of what you thought you would find?
5. Anything more you want to say about the journey here?

The First Few Months
1. Memories and feelings about the first few days?
2. First things you noticed when you first arrived?
3. Where did you initially stay/work/go to school? Difficulties in those areas?
4. Biggest changes in your daily routines?
5. Biggest surprises initially?
6. What did you find most enjoyable? Most disturbing?
7. What did you miss the most from your old country?
8. Language difficulties?
9. Were you around people from your home country initially?
10. If you were a child when you came:

a. Memories and feelings of initial contacts with schools, playmates?
b. Differences in children’s games, family life, discipline?

11. Anything more you want to tell me about what life was like the first few months of being here.


Life as a Foreign Born Person
1. Hardest adjustment to make overall?
2. What has made life easier for you?
3. Identify more with old country or the US?
4. Current friends and/or neighbors mostly from old culture?
5. Do you feel accepted in this country? Comments?
6. Have you been discriminated against because of being foreign born and has this changed the way you live (Appearance? Behaviors? Customs?)?

a. Have you been treated differently since the World Trade Centers/Pentagon attacks?
b. Anything further you want to talk about to help me understand what discrimination has been like for you, both before and after the attacks?

7. Misconceptions or misunderstandings US people have about foreign-born people?
8. Any name change after arriving here?
9. Legal issues:

a. Did you arrive here legally?
b. Currently here legally?
c. Difficulties with Immigration Authorities?

10. Have you become a citizen? Why or why not?
11. If whole family came, would your parents/children answer some of these questions very differently? Any problems because of that?
12. If married, is your spouse from your culture? Comments?

Cultural Ways and Beliefs
1. Any customs, clothing, food, holidays, still practiced?
2. House decorations, icons, or symbols that are currently in your house?
3. Music, movies, TV shows mostly from primary culture?
4. What belief systems from your primary culture do you believe are important to pass along?
5. Are there belief systems in the U.S. that go against your beliefs from your country of origin?
6. Been back to your country of origin since arriving here?
7. Do you want to go back for a visit? To live? Why or why not?
8. Are family members back there?

a. Still in contact with them?
b. Are you trying to bring them over for a visit or to live?
c. What is it like being without them?

9. Is there anything more about cultural ways and beliefs that you would like to share with me?

1. Do you have any photographs of your life in your former country or taken shortly after arriving here that I may use on the website or in a book? If so, please let me know how I can get in touch with you to facilitate this.

I will not be able to use your story unless you have submitted a release. If you have not done so, please go to the release of information page after submitting this page. The release 'button' is located at the bottom of every page.


Thank you!

I deeply appreciate you taking the time to do this. I do believe ALL stories are important. If you want to add anything further to your story at a later date, please feel free to do so. Be sure and let me know the name you used in your story when sending any additional information. -- Gretchen Morgan, stories at immigrantjourneys Dot com, P.O. Box 661467, Sacramento, CA 95866-1467

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