Shahbab Ahmed: The Land of Opportunities

Life in one country is not mirrored by the life in another country. As an immigrant, I can attest to that. I spent my early childhood in the impoverished country of Bangladesh. In early 2009, my parents decided to move to the States in hopes of providing a better future for my elder brother and I. At the time, I didn’t realize what was happening. In fact, it’s not until a solid 6 years after my departure from my motherland that I realized the full extent of what I lost when I moved to the new “Land of Freedom”, and what I gained as a trade off.

7,727 miles: that’s the distance between Bangladesh and Michigan, the state where I currently reside. While distance is not the only thing I lost when I moved to my new home country, it is certainly something that I can feel. The civil and organized environment in America is a stark contrast to the pandemonium that I had gotten used to in Bangladesh. I feel that there is order in this new land whereas there was always chaos in my previous home. However, that is not to say that I had nothing that I miss about that mess of a country. Leaving behind friends was difficult, and leaving behind my relatives was even more taxing. By effect of losing my friends and family members, I had also lost my self-confidence. Entering a new country where you could hardly speak the language is a scary thought for many, but it was reality for me.

America is known as “the land of opportunities”, and it was not long before I started seeing the reason why it was so. As a fresh-off-the-boat immigrant with almost non-existent knowledge of English, I was provided with ESL classes. In these classes, I was able to cultivate my reading, writing, speaking, and listening skills regarding English. And this was all while I was attending school for free.  This setup would most certainly be unheard of in Bangladesh. While most Americans would scoff at my amazement at free schooling, I know that it is an opportunity that many children don’t receive in other countries, and it is an opportunity I have certainly taken advantage of. Eight years later, here I am, a senior in high school, prepping for my first year in college.

In addition to free schooling, I am also taking full advantage of the safe driving that is found here. In Bangladesh, roads were rocky and muddy, and many of them were a danger to drive on. There were no clear road signs, nor any labeled streets. In America, however, the roads are paved, and streets are labeled. I do not have to worry too much about car accidents or hazardous driving since there is law enforcement who keep the roads safe for both pedestrians and drivers. As a new driver, I feel an infinite amount of gratitude towards the person who implemented traffic regulations in America.

Overall, while Bangladesh will always have a special place in my heart as the place where I was born, America is my new home. Through the many opportunities that led me to the position I am today, I feel that America does a great job in raising its youth in an educational environment so that they can be ready for whatever career they wish to pursue. This is especially evident in comparison to other countries, Bangladesh being one of them. America is not just the land of opportunities, it is the land of possibilities.