Perspectives from Abroad | No.1

Photos by CLAIRE EKAS | The Ranger


This semester, The Ranger is introducing a series profiling Amarillo College students who are immigrants or refugees. The series will focus on their experiences living in a different culture and the perspectives they bring from living overseas. They were asked about the impact of living in another country, how it has altered their view of the U.S., what they have learned from traveling, how American customs and beliefs differ from those in their home countries and why they think it is important to learn about and experience other cultures.


My Nguyen: Vietnam

“America is totally different from any other country that I have ever known. Vietnam is kind of a communist country. You’re told what you can’t do and you have no freedom. Once you’re in America you kind of feel empathetic about it and how they don’t have as much freedom as Americans.

This January, I went to Japan with the Presidential Scholars, which was amazing. Their country is a lot different; they’re very strict but they play it cool. Japanese college students are very focused on their studies. They don’t play around like we do. They really stick to their plan. It definitely gave me a new appreciation of my American college experience.

People treat their elders much more like friends here than in Vietnam. In Vietnam, you wouldn’t dare talk to an elder first, you wait until they talk to you, that’s just the level of respect over there and you just don’t do that. I think you can definitely benefit from visiting other countries. They might do something better than us and we should try to improve ourselves.”


Mugisha Aime: Congo

“I think it is a matter of how you look at it, I didn’t come to America until I was about 13.

As far as my traditions, I still believe in going to church on Sundays. I still do take part in some of the traditions of my culture, but I am also adapting.

I feel that it allows me to learn more about the world and myself.

I was born in Congo and grew up in Tanzania.  In 2010, I immigrated to America, then arrived in Georgia, from there I moved to Providence, Rhode Island. Between 2011 and 2012, I moved to Texas. I have not had the opportunity to travel since then, but I hope to one day travel back to my home country.

The American culture is completely different compared to Congo. In my country you have to pay for your education from first grade all the way through.

I think it is important to learn and experience other cultures. I have learned so much since coming to America. People have different personalities in their societies.

I believe living and adapting to another culture will make you more appreciative and more willing to interact with people to embrace those different cultures.”


Junyky Swe: Burma

“I came from a small town in Burma (Myanmar) as a young kid so there wasn’t much I expected or knew at all. As I get older, I have seen that America is full of opportunities and kind-hearted people. I received an education that I would probably never have gotten in my home country. America allows me to view the world from a different perspective, with an understanding mind and an open heart.

I had the opportunity to travel outside the United States with the AC Presidential Scholars, but I couldn’t go with them because I am still waiting on my citizenship test. It would be such an honor to get to travel back to my home country.

There are so many cultural differences from religion to respecting your elders and keeping traditions. Also, there are many different languages in Burma. Almost every city speaks a completely different language that you probably didn’t even know existed. Despite different languages and religions, one thing all Burmese people have in common is that we value our own traditions, family and beliefs a lot.

I think it is very important to learn about and experience other cultures. Learning about other cultures brings love, knowledge, peace, diversity and so many virtues to ourselves and surroundings. No one can ever go wrong by learning new things.”

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