Moving to US opened many doors…

Interview with Kerene Edie by Lindsay Burgess

Meet Kerene Edie, 23. I had the pleasure of interviewing her today. (Aug 3, 2015)

Me: Where were you born?
Kerene: I was born in a small community In St Mary Jamaica. I am one of eight children.

Me: Why did you come to America?
Kerene: I came to America in hopes to build a better life financially and education wise. My mother came here first to help support the family as there are little opportunities back home.

Me: Do you think it was the right decision?
Kerene: It was one of the best decisions we have ever made. I would not have attended college after high school.

Me: Was it a difficult transition?
Kerene: It wasn’t a difficult transition as I easily adjust to my surroundings. However, when I just came here, I found myself inside the house most days as it seemed like there was nothing much to do. Then at school, I was exposed to a lot of community projects which got me involved in the Bronx Youth Empowerment Program with councilman, Andy King. I got involved with the NAACP which provided scholarships and educational opportunities.

Me: What were some key differences that you noticed?
Kerene: I like that I was exposed to more opportunities. It’s like there was room for growth in many areas, academically there were scholarships and money wise, there were more jobs and programs for young people. Another key difference was the learning structures. The things I learned in lower grades I relearned when I graduated. Education was a walkover. I found that I didn’t have to bust my brains over acing my classes. They were easy and if I failed, I was able to retry and get a better grade.

Me: What were some challenges that you overcame?
Kerene: I wouldn’t say we had much of a challenge here. Starting out in a new country we didn’t have a lot of money so we went by on a rent to rent basis. The bills were outrageously high and so all the money worked went there. On the good side, I got to go back into high school and got grants, loans and scholarships for college.

Me: Ultimately, are you glad that you live in America?
Kerene: I am happy and grateful to be here. It has opened my eyes to a different horizon and opened many doors. I thank God that he provided and sheltered us during our time here. Now I am a graduate of college. More than likely if I was home I could not have afforded college, so that in itself is a great accomplishment. I am the first in my immediate and extended family to graduate from college.

Me: What are some of your most memorable accomplishments since you’ve been here?
Kerene: I was awarded deans honor at Pace University and graduated with Cum Laude. I got to help my family achieve more. I was able to find a job that sustained us. My involvement in community affairs is something I hold high. I got to meet mentors who guided me and people who became a stepping stone, allowing me to be something greater. One day I look forward to becoming a public advocate and I believe that I am the only person standing in my way. I am in the land of opportunities and I am grabbing it as it comes along. I am chasing the dreams of many who didn’t make it here.

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