By Gashi 

People from Africa living in the U.S. have had to go through many things in their journey of life. So much has changed for them. 

To begin with, in the past, education in African societies was not considered very important. The important thing was to get married early, and have a big family. That was an honor for the family, and made it possible to raise a lot of livestock, and cultivate large farms. Everything depended on the resource of human labor, and this meant that formal education was not highly valued.. 

But as time went on, life changed and, in order for a person to have a better life, people believed they had to go to school and get an education. In African society, one started to hear people say “this or that uncle or aunt is now a doctor, an accountant, a teacher” and so on. Families with educated members earned positions of pride in the village, and this encouraged more people to go to school to achieve their dreams of becoming lawyers, teachers, and so on. 

However, unfortunately, even educated Africans encounter barriers to achieving their dreams when they get to the U.S. It’s not easy to enter the job market and compete here in the U.S. So many things are different. For instance, here applications are filled out using software and email, which is not true in Africa. And immigrants have trouble finding work because of the language barrier – even if they speak English, it’s not their first language – and some do not know English at all.   

I think it is important for immigrants to have help. Some nonprofit organizations provide services to help immigrants apply for jobs and also give them good guidance in learning English. Hope House, for example, does its best to help immigrants learn English and also find out how to apply for work. Having a mentor can be a big help for learning a lot of things in a short time. 

In conclusion, immigrants should realize that the system of study they are used to in Africa is very different from the system here. In order to be competitive in the job market, the primary goals should be to learn English well, get as much professional training as possible, and connect as closely as possible with the locals.