Satirical Guide to Being an Immigrant


Keerthi Lakshmanan

Whether you are an immigrant, or perhaps a first generation kid, undoubtedly, you are happy to refer to the Bay as home. We have plenty in common—primarily the ease with which we live in this country. But in case you needed a refresher, here’s some handy tips to help you breeze through a childhood in America. 


It’s crucial to begin with wardrobe choices. If you are first generation, chances are, your parents still dress you. This is no shame! Their taste (Costco’s clothing section, or, if you’re lucky, Old Navy’s clearance rack) will fit perfectly with the rest of your friends. In your best case scenario, your closet is only full of traditional clothing. Wear your kurta or your áo dài. Pair your hanbok with Air Force Ones. Rest easy, you will not be dressed out-of-the-ordinary. The bright colors of your traditional wear are certain to brighten up your dreary classrooms instead. 


Tip Two: bring your mother’s cooking to school every day, without fail. Your classmates will love its taste and fragrance—middle school children have the best nose for good cuisine, of course. Tell your mother you can take her idli as long as she packs you enough to share! Eventually, American fast food will never be able to compare. 


Along with looking the part, you’ll thrive as an immigrant in the West if you speak the part, too. No matter how long you have lived in America, never lose your native accent. You can forget the language; this is unimportant. If you are first generation, you may have to wing it, but it is central to achieve the heavily-accented English that marks you as foreign (you can’t change your skin color or your facial structure, after all). 


These tips will take you far. Your parents uprooted their entire lives to bring you to this country—no use in disappointing their expectations now. Take a look at history! To be a good American, first you must be an excellent immigrant. 


Real World Results ~

The Prospector’s Guide to Being an Immigrant seriously helped me as I was growing up! Although I’m a first generation child, it is a universal experience attempting to navigate the tricky waters of the West. I used to refuse to wear anything but a T-shirt or hoodies to school. After reading this guide, I realized I had to live life without regrets. Traditional wear has never looked better against the white-gray walls of my high school. I blend in well enough that you would never imagine my parents were born on a different continent altogether. In fact, I was inspired enough to stop changing my name for teachers to pronounce! It’s important to me that my name is as difficult as possible. Your bullies will be too intimidated to continue. Follow this guide, and you’re sure to have a blast in the land of the free.