Coming to America

By: Tina Sissoko

Many parents send their children to countries like United States for a better life and better education. Many parents send their children to countries like United States for a better life and better education. While students find success, they also have had to confront challenges in a new country where they barely speak the language or hardly know anybody.

A research done by Utah State University on the diversity in Utah tells us that Utah is increasingly becoming more and more diverse. Additionally, Utah has a high fertility rate, which has contributed to a 29.6% growth in population during the past decade. The article also some statistic with the population growth of Utah in number, it stated “The population of the state of Utah is 2,316,256 according to the US 2002 census update. Of that number 224,304 are Hispanic, 21,574 are Black, 32,886 are American Indian, 42,144 are Asian American and 18,012 are Native Hawaiian and other Pacific Islander.”

When Fatoumata Batourou moved here, it was a big cultural shock. Batourou came to the United States when she was only 17. She is originally from Mali. Her parents sent her to Utah to go to college. “When I first moved here, it was really weird, I didn’t speak that good of English and being one of the only black folks in the school was overwhelming,” Batourou said.

She had to attend an English learning school in Provo, Utah called ELC for her first year in the states. Since her parents sent her to attend school, Batourou felt that she couldn’t make any mistakes; she felt she had to grow up quicker than the average teen.

Batourou spent five years in Provo. While living there, she ran into incidents she had never experienced before.

“Living in Mali, everyone looks alike, at least race-wise. Going to BYU as a Black Muslim girl, you get all types of stares and someone actually came up to me one day saying that I am not supposed to be here,” Batourou said. “That day, I cried my eyes out. I wanted to go back home the very next day.”

Batourou now works Goldman Sachs as an accountant and is loving every aspect of it.

“I am glad that I didn’t give up when things got hard,” she said. “Now I am working for one of the top companies in the country and both of my parents are very proud of me.”

“Things like this rarely happened on our campus to my knowledge” said Jason Bradley, a BYU alumnus and a great friend to Batourou. “When she told me that story, I felt ashamed of my own race. Some people are very closed-minded and don’t think about what their words may do to someone,” Said Bradley.

Bradley has always been curious about other cultures, seeing the new international students coming to his school was very exciting and he loved every bit of it.

“I loved the different perceptions the international students brought to the school. I think that it helps us see beyond the norm and expend our horizons a little bit,” Bradley said. “It’s not the international students alone but even the people that came from a different city within the U.S. I think even businesses benefit from the growth.”

Pamela Perlich, a University of Utah demographer, wrote an article about the demographic changes in the state of Utah. In her article, she states that the United States as a whole has had a large amount of immigrants over the past 30 days. Utah especially has become a “New Gateway” as she states. The reason behind this is that most immigrants come and work in construction, landscaping, hospitality and manufacturing. Perlich also mentions that “Immigrants are also concentrated in the highest-level scientific and technical occupations in the state, especially at colleges and universities. Policy changes, such as refugee resettlement, have brought immigrants from many new origins, such as Africa. Finally, the LDS Church, which is headquartered in Utah, has become increasingly international in scope and outreach, and this has attracted people as well.”

Jessica Torres a server at P.F Chang restaurant in downtown Salt Lake City is very excited about the growing population in Salt Lake City.

“Since we are in kind of in the middle of the big work places, we get a lot people that come in for lunch even after they get off of work,” Torres said. “They usually leave a big tip, which makes my job a little more enjoyable.”

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