Being asked as immigrants' children if we preferred China, Taiwan, or America often led us to feel stuck in between cultures. While we experienced the gift of community from our Eastern cultures, we also respect the grit and perseverance we witnessed from our parents as immigrants and immigrant’s children in the West.
As Asian Americans, immigrants, and children of immigrants, we can relate to both immigrant and international student experiences. Ways you can be a better community to immigrants and international students include inviting individuals over for meals. Did you know that the majority of international students have never stepped into a home in the U.S. before?
If you have never met any international students before, you can begin by contacting local colleges and/or university international student centers as many have programs and community events that you can participate in. Being able to experience hospitality is often cherished by immigrants - especially as many live away from family and may be unable to travel back home during breaks.
Another way to commit to caring for immigrant communities includes gaining awareness regarding holidays that are commonly celebrated by immigrant communities around you. For many immigrant families and students, holidays traditionally celebrated in America - including Thanksgiving and Christmas - may not be a holiday that they celebrate. Building further understanding of global holidays and seeking to learn about the history and traditions connected to various global holidays can help to build deeper relationships, empathy, and cross-cultural connections.
Last, but not least, there are many ways we can support and advocate alongside immigrant communities by supporting immigrant-owned and led businesses, non-profits & grassroots organizations. Advocacy can also be through the ways we participate in civic engagement to further welcome immigrant communities. According to New American Economy, an immigration advocacy group, 1 in 5 entrepreneurs are immigrants. Immigrants contribute deeply to the economy and share their gifts and culture in each and every one of our communities.
We invite you to continue reflecting further on hospitality, culture, and community in the Conversation Guide provided for you below! A Chinese side dish - tomato eggs - recipe is included in the guide as well!