By Sofia Khatiwada Community Engagement Fellow
Hello guys, I’m Sofia Khatiwada, for our second installment of student interviews. I’ll be talking to Anita Bastola. Anita graduated from Baldwin High School in 2019, where she served on Baldwin Global Minds Board.
Sofia: Thanks for doing this interview with me! Would you mind giving us a brief introduction
Anita: My name is Anita Bastola. I’m 18 years old, and I’m a freshman at Chatham University.
Sofia: Could you share a little bit about your immigrant story.
Anita: I came from a small refugee camp in Nepal. I was about ten years old when I left Nepal to start a new chapter in my life. I went to the United States with my parents and two older sisters, one of whom is disabled.
Sofia: What has been the hardest part of being an immigrant in America?
Anita: The hardest part about being an immigrant would be not having the resources and privileges I need to succeed. Some things I had to become accustomed to were lifestyle adjustments, cultural differences, and how to be accepting of others. Being the daughter of immigrant parents is difficult, especially being the first generation. I feel a lot of pressure, and I feel like my parents depend on me. I had a lot of responsibilities at a young age, and I had a lot of pressure to prove my parent’s sacrifices were not in vain. I find it challenging to take on the role of an acceptable Nepalese daughter because of the expectation and pressure to represent my culture and community.
Sofia: Thank you for sharing that. I know it must not have been easy to sacrifice all that, especially at a young age. The loss of childhood can never be gained again, so your bravery and courage is admirable.
Sofia: How has a club like Global Minds been beneficial to your immigrant experience?
Anita: Global Minds has given me a safe space to be myself. It has given me a way to voice my opinions, connected me with resources that I may not have even been aware of. It’s a way for people who are alike to connect and be creative. I was not aware of anything that happened outside of the United States. I did not pay attention to any world issues. I did not have an opinion on any current events, but Global Minds has shown me what I can do something every day to make this world a better place. It has introduced me to beautiful people I can share my insights with and learn from their experience.
Sofia: You mentioned how Global Minds gave you a safe space, and I feel the same way as well. With that being said, what are some things that people can do to help immigrants feel comfortable in an environment that can be overwhelming in or out of Global Minds?
Anita: The most important thing I would say is to be patient with them.
Sofia: What advice do you have for immigrants coming to America?
Anita: One piece of advice I would give to immigrants coming to America is don’t feel like you’re a burden, embrace your uniqueness because there are people who would be more than happy to learn and appreciate where you come from! I would also say find a balance between both cultures, but do not ever forget where you came from because that is what makes the most significant difference: it made you who you are as a person.
Sofia: The last question, if you could tell kid Anita anything about being an immigrant, what would you tell her?
Anita: Something I would tell my little self is to embrace your flaws. No matter how incompetent you may feel. I also wish I sought out mentors and role models- who could provide a guide to follow. It doesn’t matter how hard things get to be willing to take chances and risks. I want to tell my 9-year-old self that I can love and be grateful for my parents’ journey and sacrifices but still make different life choices.
Sofia: Thank you for that beautiful message, and thank you for taking the time for this interview. A lot of the things you talked about resonated with me as an immigrant, and even if you’re not an immigrant, you may have faced similar adversities. I think it is so important to use that to grow and continue to take care of yourself, as you mentioned. I wish you the best. Again thank you for being so brave and sharing your story ♥️!!