My dad grew up on a farm in the rural areas of Luoyang, China. He was the top of his high school class, which he had to take a test to get into. After graduating high school, getting into an elite college in Beijing at the age of 15, and graduating from there, he felt he'd reached his highest potential of education in China. There weren't anymore opportunities for him to challenge himself. So, as a 20-year-old, he decided to come to Cambridge, MA for graduate school at MIT, also being granted a full scholarship. His family was proud and happy for him. Being the youngest of 4 children, he was the first of the family to decide to move out of the farm they all lived on.
Of course he felt anxious and nervous. After all, he was coming to a new country! But, my dad tells me that his feelings of excitement and happiness overtook the negative feelings. He couldn't wait for all the new opportunities and intellectual challenges he'd face in college. Slacking off and being lazy wasn't his thing.
Even though my dad was a foreigner, people at MIT didn't treat him any differently than they treated anyone else, though there was the language barrier between China and America. He'd started learning English in middle school, but the quality of teaching wasn't very great. It took him a whole year of living in the U.S. to get used to the new language and fully understand it. Still, being one of the nicest people I know, making friends wasn't an issue at all. Since he was a graduate student, money didn't come easily. He didn't have a car or transportation and could only afford the cheapest things, but he did work on-campus as a research assistant for environmental engineering.
After graduating from MIT, my dad found a real job in an office. Naturally, it wasn't easy, with all the interviews he had to go through. At this point, my mom had also migrated from China to stay with my dad in their little apartment in the Boston area, and to attend Northeastern University. After a few years working and living in a cramped space, they decided to move to Bedford, MA to have more space for future kids. Once my sister and I were born and I'd gone through preschool, my parents moved us for the final time to Weston, MA, for a good education and an even bigger house.
My dad's big migration to America inspired his niece/my cousin. She followed his footsteps and came to Texas for her college education in 2012. My mom also triggered the migration of her nephew and niece. One came in 2009 and my mom's niece followed in 2014. My dad says he has no regrets in deciding to leave his home country. After all, the never-ending amounts of opportunities are worth it.