Friendship families are an integral part of the Northwest Community College Initiative (NWCCI) experience and one of the best ways for students to learn about American culture through interaction with a local family. Here Shahida Baig shares original artwork and writes about how her friendship family has been a support system during her time in the United States, how her relationship with them has changed her perspective on American families, and how she will always consider them part of her family. Shahida is a NWCCI student from Pakistan studying early childhood education at Whatcom Community College.
One of the reasons I have survived this experience in America is my “friendship family”. Before coming to the United States we were told that we will be provided with an American friendship family. I had made my on perceptions about this family according to my own point of view or you might say it was a stereotype about American families. I was thinking that Americans are very busy and time bounded people, and if they couldn’t give time to their own children, then how would they give any time to me? I never have been away from my family before coming to the US so it was a great challenge for me to survive here without my parents for an entire year. My friendship family has made a big impact on me.
From the very first month in US my friendship family invited me to their home for dinner, to go shopping, to celebrate holidays with them, to share their culture with me and to know something about my culture. Moreover, they were the people who really wanted to listen to me and respect my ideas and feelings. Also, they helped me to understand about this new and unknown place and gave me the things that I needed to accomplish my aims. Among these things is support, love, time and care. They taught me values of American culture, and they directed me on the ways to adjust here.
I consider myself lucky to have these people in my life. If I didn’t have this family, I might have not succeeded here. Now, about this family I can say that they are like my real parents and siblings and I will be missing and loving them forever. With them, I have learned to share, to have fun, and to understand different points of views in different situations. I have my two sweet younger sisters Lena and Ava with whom I have laughed, and played games; these are the moments I will always remember.
At the end I would like to say that my friendship family helped me to survive in America with full happiness and success. I want to say thanks to you that you taught me a big message that a family isn’t always blood related. It’s the people in our life who want us, accept us as who we are and love us. I love my sweet and wonderful American family.
The NWCCI program is part of the Community College Initiative, an exchange program sponsored by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. The opinions expressed in this blog by writers and those providing comments are theirs alone, and do not reflect the opinions of the Northwest Community College Initiative program, Edmonds Community College, Whatcom Community College, Pierce College, the United States Department of State or any employee thereof. NWCCI and Edmonds Community College are not responsible for the accuracy of the information supplied by student bloggers.