The student news site of Seven Lakes High School

The Torch

Student news website
of Seven Lakes High School
The student news site of Seven Lakes High School

The Torch

The student news site of Seven Lakes High School

The Torch

A Newcomer’s Journey

Tejas Murali

Societies are more than just a group of people: they’re built by details like their geographical location, their conventions, their economy, and the cultures that come together to make up its communities. As such, it’s often very difficult for newcomers in a neighborhood to get accustomed to their new environment; it’s not easy to change the way one communicates, the trends one engages in, and the things one does on a daily basis. This subject is of even more interest in a community like ours, wherein more than half the students in our school are first or second generation immigrants, and a considerable group have only come here fairly recently.

Junior Samuel Qiao is one such student, having immigrated to the USA in 2019 from Calgary, Canada; one major difference he has noticed between his old and new homes is the weather and how that affects his lifestyle.

“My favorite part [of my old home] was probably all the activities I could do there,” Qiao said. “In the summer it was not overly hot like here in Texas and allowed me to have a lot of fun outside with my friends. During the winter, it snowed frequently, and that gave a whole layer of possible activities. I was able to ski, go sledding, build snowmen, and have snowball fights.”

This journey also extends past aspects like the weather; some immigrants, like junior Aashrith Sharma who came to Katy from Himachal Pradesh in India halfway through his freshman year, have been trying to get used to things like the attitudes and social norms existing among people in their new home.

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“Where I used to live the people and the kids were very social, kind, and helpful, and it felt like home, a place where I could trust people and seek good advice from people,” Sharma said. “I miss my old place a lot since I lived 14 years of my life there and I have adapted to their style of living and interacting with one another.”

Indeed, American social norms are often a major culture shock for people immigrating into this country, especially given that the quiet suburban lifestyle that exists in our neighborhoods does not facilitate interactions as much.

“In my old place everybody, young or old, [would] go outside to do fun activities, play, catch up with friends and even group study,” Sharma said. “But here it seems very isolated and human interaction is close to a minimum, since people mostly catch up in school and work, and both are not the ideal way for freely interacting considering they are stress heavy and involve a lot of workload.”

The work-heavy and busy lifestyle associated with the American school system is yet another reason why some international immigrants may experience culture shock in their new homes in neighborhoods such as ours.

“The new school schedule is brutal given how I have to wake up at 6 am; before, I could wake up at 7:40 Monday through Thursday and nine on Friday,” junior Brian Han, who recently immigrated from Edmonton, Canada, said. “There is also an increased homework load [here] which takes up the rest of the day after school on almost all days. I am taking six weighted courses; there used to be only a couple hours of homework [for me] but now it’s over three.”

Amidst their heavy schedules, new international immigrants still engage in various activities to adjust to their new homes; some like to venture out into new places to get accustomed to their new physical environment.

“Exploring the community around me helped me feel more comfortable with my surroundings,” Han said. “This includes volunteering at the library, and trying new places to eat.”

However, one’s emotional and psychological well being can ultimately be the hardest to set straight in a new place with new people and a new culture. Resorting to making new friends and expanding one’s social life is one way to mentally adjust to one’s new home.

“Coming here, I really did not know what to expect, and while some of my friends I met here are straight up goofy, all of them helped me fit in with the people here,” Qiao said. “They expanded my social interactions and helped me feel comfortable in the new environment.”

About the Contributor
Tejas Murali
Tejas Murali, Copy Editor
Tejas is a junior in his second year on the Torch staff. He has always liked the sciences, and currently aspires to study biomedical engineering in college. When he isn’t poring over his seemingly endless schoolwork, he likes working on Indian classical music and reading.