How I left my country Kenya to reside in the USA
Moving from one’s motherland to reside in a different country, miles away from one’s own is never easy. Leaving the customs one is used to, or loved ones with whom you have lived all your life is a hard task. However change is inevitable and as it is well known the only hindrance to growth is resistance to change. One of the toughest situations I have experienced in my life was leaving my home country Kenya to reside in the USA. However, I had set my goal and knew clearly what I wanted in life. As much as I struggled with adapting to the new life in the States, I gained fulfillment as I was able to realize my dreams. I have noted many differing things about the cultures and customs in the two countries. Hence, I concluded that every incident that occurs always has its impact on the one who experiences it, which may both be a positive and a negative impact.
Kenya is among the leading countries in Africa in growth and development with many global companies and organizations opting to put up their continental headquarters in the capital city, Nairobi. As much as the growth is relatively higher than most African nations, the job opportunities are much lower than the number of graduates graduating from the universities leaving thousands of youths jobless. On top of that, the available jobs pay much less than is deserving of a graduate hence leading to dissatisfaction among the employed and an increase in the level of corruption. Yet another reason that I decided to leave my beloved motherland was because the education level offered in the country was not high enough to give me the chance to compete for a job opportunity globally. Education in Kenya is set at a national standard rather than a global standard denying the graduates a chance to compete globally at par with graduates from a developed country, for example, USA. Hence, I realized that it would be a struggle for me to get a job that would satisfy my dreams hence took the step to move to the United States.
Change for me was not easy. Being new to the States and knowing no one made it even harder. One thing that made it hard for me to adapt was that the culture adapted by people in the States was much different than that back home. In Kenya, people live as a community. People are concerned about their neighbor’s welfare and constantly help each other. People are also friendly and it is easy to make friends. However, I realized that it was much different in the States. The States has people from all over the world with different cultures hence it is difficult to relate. Here, the notion of every man for himself was the case hence it was much harder to make friends or people who could make you feel comfortable. As much as this made me feel homesick, it helped to harden me. I learnt to be self-reliant and more cautious. It also made me appreciate what I had in Kenya and never appreciated; friendship and good neighborliness.
Yet another difference I noted between Kenya and USA is the difference in discipline at work and work principles. In the USA, I had to work after my lectures hours in order to live comfortably. This cut deeply into my social life, the little I had, and made me learn time management skills and work discipline. I also learnt that getting late was not tolerated, whereas as much as lateness was not encouraged in Kenya it was tolerated. Kenyans believe that getting late is part of being Kenyan, something referred to as ‘African Timing’. Juggling between work and school helped me focus on my main reason of going to the States, which was getting a good education and getting an employment which could enable me to reach the height of my goals. Another thing I admired about the work ethics of people in the USA was the level of discipline I noted in the police department. Corruption in the department was much less as compared to the Kenyan police department which is ranked as the most corrupt department in Kenya. The culture of corruption is so rampant in Kenyan offices hence it was a major relief to see the high level of discipline in the USA.
However, as much as I gained positive experience from working after school, I felt overworked. I longed for the life I led in Kenya where I had time to relax with my friends and enjoy the small joys of life. In the US it was hard to appreciate the simplicity of life as people are money oriented. Work is overrated and people are overworked. Due to this, it gets hard to form good relationships with other people, a culture I had grown used to all my life. According to me, as much as the level of living standards of Kenyans was lower than those in the US, they seemed much happier as compared to those I met in the States due to the neighborly and friendly culture adapted in Kenya.
My experience has made me learn to appreciate every moment spent with those I love and appreciate those whom I spend it with. I have come to understand that our experiences shape the person we are hence we should always try to learn from them. It has played a role in building my character by enforcing my discipline and helped me to realize the importance of learning different people’s culture as it always comes in handy when dealing with people from differing cultures. Learning about the cultures of different people has helped me to be able to relate better with people and I have ended up with more friends than I initially thought I would manage to make. However, I believe that it is my Kenyan culture that has helped work towards creating friendships and new relations with others.