Chasing the American Dream

brothers from DR Congo as US high school graduates
Photo courtesy of Jeffrey D. Allred

Moving to a new country creates new opportunities for many immigrants.

A young former refugee talks about how he is happy to chase the American dream.

I was born in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Baraka. A place where the sky is always blue. The sun is always out. A downfall being it gets a little too hot. The temperature varies from 68 degrees F to 90 degrees F.  A place where music from different cultures is always playing on the streets. Where kids are always playing football (soccer) and other games. But also a place where there is ongoing war and violence.

I ask myself many questions about the world that I live in. Too many people believe that birth is not a miracle, that it’s a perfectly natural thing that happens millions of time a day. To me, when my mother had me nineteen years ago it was a miracle, because birth is such a wonderful thing bringing another person into God’s family. It’s a miracle to be able to create something so beautiful from almost nothing. But I wonder, why was I born? If I am living, who do I live for? If I were about to die right now, where would I go? What’s God’s plan for me? I always found myself asking those same questions. Coming from a place where I am from, we wonder asking ourselves many other questions: “Why is there so many civil wars in Africa”? Why can’t they not start to understand each other and prevent violent conflict”?

Living in countries where you don’t have the right to speak your mind can be very difficult. 

In countries where you don’t have that freedom, leaders commit many crimes but somehow, they go on without a penalty. Even if a leader were about to kill someone, he would be excused from his crimes without any justice served. 

Many social activists try to bring peace to the countries again but never succeed. They are either killed or sent to jail, leaving the young with no hope nor motivation of fighting for their own country. No hope of ever succeeding in anything that they do.

I was one of those kids, but got an opportunity to come to chase the American dream.

My father attended college and my mother never attended school because her parents really didn’t understand the value of education. Likely for me, my parents know and understand the value of getting an education. They worked hard in order for me and my siblings to go school, but in all my years I had never imagined me coming to the USA for my studies. 

As an African young man, I take pride in demonstrating leadership in everything I do. Being born in the Congo, and having to flee, I have lived in many other places. I have lived in three countries and two different continents by the time I was seven. My family members are travelers. We travel more frequently than most. There are nine people in my family. I have five brothers and two sisters and my parents. My two older siblings are now attending college in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. Both of my parents come from strong business families. 

When we came here my dad sacrificed many so he could bring me and my siblings to America to get an education. 

My whole life I have always wanted to be a man of success and a man of value. I had many goals when I was young, and two of those goals are very dear to me. My first goal was to become a successful entrepreneur like my father. And the second goal was to come to America and get an education from any university here, which I am currently working on. 

From my parents, I learned that I needed education in order for me to succeed throughout life. 

Since I was a very young man I have always valued and tried to get the best education there is. I have always focused my interest on my career in marketing and advertising. My father owned his own company, and he was constantly traveling and I am a person who loves traveling, which inspires me to follow that path. 

With a personal standard that I have put on myself, I have accomplished many things since arriving in this country. I push myself to reach the highest that is in me, becoming a man of value and becoming the person that I believe that I was meant to be.  I have learned how to speak and write the language that dominates the world of business, the global workforce. To many Americans, it might seem that graduating from high school isn’t a huge deal, but to myself getting that diploma meant the world. I am attending a college that I never thought that I was able to when I was back home. 

I have become an innovator.

Steve Jobs once said, “Sometimes when you innovate, you make mistakes. It is best to admit them quickly, and get on with improving your other innovations. Through my American Education, I have learned about what makes an average person great. What sets quality great people have that makes them so remarkable. And how I wanted to evaluate those qualities that make them so unique. 

I learned from my teachers and other remarkable people because everything they do they think outside the box. These people gave me the trait of thinking differently and to look at things fra om different perspective. The people taught me to observe, meaning to look at any object of nature to give you as an innovator some ideas, because innovators can sometimes lack ideas. 

On my first year in American schools, I tried to keep my goal in mind but it started to look like I couldn’t achieve the goal so I stopped. 

I got stuck and seemed as I wasn’t going anywhere with the goals that I had and thought that there was no amount of hard work that was going to fix this situation. To gain back my momentum, I started looking at my life from a different perspective. I tried not to limit the amount of information or background in my life. 

With all that I have done with my life through the South Dakota School Education, I am grateful for the opportunity that I was given. As a person who came to the country with almost nothing, I acknowledge that I have learned many things throughout my high school and currently college career. 

I really appreciate my Family and Friends because they are all knowledgeable. I have learned many things from them, and have gotten a great deal of help from them. And hope I continue on my journey. Even though I know I am not where I want to be in life but I thank God that I am not where I used to be, and I know I am on my way.

Opinions expressed and advice given in USAHello’s Voices and Hello blogs are the writers’ own. USAHello offers impartial information and online courses to help newcomers in the USA.