Culture Shock

Culture Shock

Illustration by Krishna Chavda

Illustration by Krishna Chavda

"I was born in White Plains, New York to Indian parents. They returned to Dar es Salaam, Tanzania when I was a few weeks old, where I spent the first 13 years of my life and attended the International School of Tanganyika (IST). IST, at the time, had 70 or so nationalities represented by the student body. I remember learning about many cultures and customs through my diverse group of friends and school activities. But then, I moved to the US in 1999 after finishing seventh grade. 

Culture shock came as a surprise despite many summers vacations spent in the US - much of my extended family lives scattered throughout the United States. Initially, I felt out of place as the new kid, as one of three Indian students in the entire school of 600+ students, who were mostly caucasian. I was the one with the accent, who had not experienced snow, whose background was quite different, and who did not know that liking Hanson and the Backstreet Boys over N*Sync was social suicide in some circles.

While eighth grade was a hard year for me in transitioning to a new way of life, I felt more comfortable and less out of place with each passing year spent in the US. I began to open up more and more and share my story with others. The more I shared, the more people shared with me, and the more I learned. Many of my new friends were just like me, trying to find their place in the world and tell their story. While I used to think I had to have a lot in common with others to fit in, I learned that in recognizing and honoring our differences, I fit in just fine."

Krishna Chavda, New Jersey
Illustrator
nanuillustration.com

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