By Cherise Osaki
We asked immigrants and children of immigrants what they think of life here in the good ol’ US of A:
Why did you/your family decide to come to the U.S.?
“My family is similar to many families post-1965 who are beneficiaries of the Hart-Cellar immigration act which removed the rigid quotas for Asian immigration… My dad immigrated in 1969 to Vancouver to pursue his education.”
Sumun Pendakur, Director of USC’s Asian Pacific American Student Services
Family from Karnataka, India
U.S. hometown: Evanston, IL
“Originally I came to the states as a student, and after one year of studying at that university I got a scholarship to study at graduate school, so I came to USC, first to study, and after that I met my husband who is Japanese American from California, and I moved here to be with him.”
Masako Tamanaha, USC Assistant Professor of Japanese
U.S. hometown: Torrance, CA
What did you think of the U.S. before you moved here?
“I just imagined blonde people everywhere, like ‘Am I going to be the only Asian’?”
Jungwon Park, USC freshman
Seoul, South Korea
U.S. hometown: Arcadia, CA
“I thought most Americans were kind, patient, and honest.”
Wen Fang Pan, homemaker
People’s Republic of China (PRC)
U.S. Hometown: Sunnyvale, CA
How has your perception of the U.S. changed since you moved here?
“I was a 14-year-old child when I came here. My first impression was how big it was and how important individual rights were.”
Tina Tyner, homemaker
U.S. hometown: San Diego, CA
“[I believed that] the U.S. was strong in economy & military force, advanced in science & technology, upholding Christian banner & healthy moral and family values, and was respected because of such status. Though most aspects are still true, her economy has weakened over the years for various reasons. The Christian heritage has also become an eyesore for many liberals and [is] consistently under attack by the media, thus, has corrupted the moral value of the society and weakened the family structures.”
W.T. Lin, Assistant at Scosche Industries
U.S. hometown: Simi Valley, CA
What do you miss most about your home country?
“[My parents] really miss the family aspect. But I also think they miss the India that they knew. My parents have an imagined idea of what India was.”
“Just my family and friends, but not other things because we can obtain anything here.”
Makiko Osaka, USC Japanese Lecturer
U.S. hometown: Torrance, CA
What do you like most about the U.S.?
“I find many share the same values, and I am free to worship my God as our founding fathers meant for this country to enjoy, and because this is my home now.”
“In Japan, you always have to worry about what other people think about you, like your friends, your family, and people at work. But I guess here, people don’t care. They don’t try to interfere here, so I feel more free.”
“When I came to America it was so much more free, so much more well-rounded in terms of education. And I’m at USC and it’s one of the most well-rounded schools, socially, academically, and everything, and I don’t think I would have gotten that in Korea at all.”