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Creating Meaningful Change

Ahmed Makaraan

– Community And Health Interpreter, Family Health Care
– Emergency Management And International Studies Major, North Dakota State University

Which country did you immigrate to America from?

I came to Canada first but to moved to Fargo in 2017. I am originally from Somalia.

Why did you choose Fargo-Moorhead when coming to America?

I choose Fargo because it’s a small city with all the big city facilities. I also choose Fargo because of my family and education. I am an NDSU student, majoring in emergency management and international studies, minoring in community development. I will be graduating in May 2021.

What have been some of the biggest challenges in coming to a new country?

The biggest challenges are getting used to the culture, getting a job, making connections and understanding the system of the country in terms of the laws and values of the host community.

What can the community do to create fewer challenges for New Americans?

The community can approach the New Americans as a new family joining the bigger families who were already here.

The New Americans come with nothing, especially financial and material. What they are bringing are new skills, new culture and a fresh perspective to the community. The New Americans are working and adding a positive economy to the community as they are paying taxes, renting apartments, shopping at grocery stores, etc. Changing the thinking and approaching New Americans as new family joining a hosting family will create fewer challenges. For instance, they lack English language and the culture here so teaching them and learning from them will create fewer challenges for the New Americans in my opinion.

What do you think the community needs to understand about New Americans to help them feel more welcome and included?

I think the most important thing to realize is that the New Americans came from
a different culture and environment. Embracing diversity and understanding that the New Americans, especially newcomers, will be different and this difference is good because they are adding new perspectives and education to the community. You cannot be expecting them to behave the same as you as they have different experiences. That will help them feel included. Teach them and learn from them. Their stories matter so listening to their stories and telling them your stories will make them feel welcome.

What has been the best and most exciting thing about living in America?

For me, free speech, democracy, job opportunities and pursuing the American dream.

Nolan P. Schmidt

Written by Nolan P. Schmidt

Nolan is the Editor of Fargo Monthly. Schmidt is also the Editor of Spotlight Media's Bison Illustrated and Future Farmer publications. He is originally from Bismarck, N.D. and is a proud graduate of Minnesota State University Moorhead.

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