Anish is a Northwest Community College Initiative (NWCCI) media student studying at Pierce College. Here he describes his long journey from a small village in India to Lakewood, Washington.
My name is Anish. I was born into an impoverished family in a small village in Odisha, India. To give me the chance for a better education, my parents sent me to live with my uncle’s family in a neighboring city when I was very young. Unable to bear the continued strict discipline in my uncle’s household, I ran away at the age of 11, intending to go back to my parents’ village. However, I ended up boarding the wrong train which would ultimately change my destiny. The train took me to the bustling, metropolitan city of New Delhi – a city I had only ever heard about, but never imagined seeing in my lifetime. Facing starvation and hopelessness in this alien city, I had to beg on the streets to survive, work 20 hour days in a tea stall, and sleep on the pavement. Weeks later I was informed about a shelter home, the Salaam Baalak Trust, where I went to live for the next ten years, and it was here I finished my high school education.
Last year I applied for a cultural exchange scholarship in the United States, and was accepted. Presently, I am pursuing a Certificate in Media Studies at Pierce College, living the American life, through the Northwest Community College Initiative program. I am passionate about pursuing a career in fashion photography, which at one point in my life was only a pipe dream, but is certainly achievable from where I stand today. Most importantly, though, I want other children with backgrounds similar to mine to have the opportunity to pursue their dreams and I hope to contribute in making this happen.
Coming to the United States has been one of the best experiences that I’ve ever had. The thing is American culture is multicultural, with people from everywhere in the world. I have made lots of friends and the best part of it is that we share our culture to each other.
I have made friends from America, Indonesia, Pakistan, Turkey, Brazil, South Africa, India, China, Hong Kong, Vietnam, Saudi Arabia, Kenya, and others. Besides making friends, I lived with an American family for one month. My Pierce college teachers, my adviser, Bebhinn, and other international programs staff, Mary and Jen, are part of my American life. Through them I learned about American culture.