Mukena Kasongo “Deogracias” – From the Democratic Republic of Congo to the United States

As a mentor to first-year students at my college last Fall, I was lucky enough to have Mukena Kasongo “Deogracias” as one of my students. She was charming and inquisitive, and impressively fluent in French, English, Swahili, and Lingala. Now that we are in an African Music course together, we took the time to speak about her immigration story from the Democratic Republic of Congo, and the barriers that she has overcome to be a successful and inspirational college student. 

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Walter Angus Li – From Guyana to the United States

A forward on Walter Angus Li’s story by his son, Steven Li.

As a child of an immigrant, learning about my parent’s life when they were young is a fascinating topic. From the cultural differences to the varying lifestyle they grew up in, you get to learn that life can be harder than you think, or it can be easier than you think. Being able to travel and see where my parents grew up is an eye-opening experience that many people do not get the chance to have. Understanding that they had a different childhood and being able to see the struggles that they had growing up makes me appreciate all the hard work that they have accomplished in their life.

Walter, his wife Seerani, and his son Steven Li
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Tasha Mwanakalando – From Zambia to the United States

When I first arrived on Washington & Jefferson Campus in 2018, I almost immediately knew who Tasha Mwanakalando was. Everyone on campus regarded her with respect, and just from a few conversations with her, I knew that she was a truly genuine and caring person (with the most style I had ever seen). Coming from Lusaka, Zambia, Tasha provided me with an interesting perspective on American customs I hadn’t thought about before, and explained to me how she is addressing the current political climate Americans find themselves.

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From Pakistan to the United States – Matti Inayat

A foreword on Matti Inayat’s story by his son, Anosh Matti.

“This is a narrative of my Dad’s journey from Pakistan to the United States. He wrote about the religious intolerance he experienced as a Catholic that led him to take the step of seeking religious asylum. Whether or not you know some of the story, or none, please take the time to read from start to end. I promise you will feel more fortunate about your life.”

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From Colombia to Spain to the United States – Juan Couso

Juan Couso was truly the most genuine person I met at W&J campus, graduating this past May 2020. Before I even knew Juan, he was instantly kind and caring towards me. We trained to be first year student mentors together, and I soon realized that Juan possessed a rare gift of making anyone feel loved and appreciated instantaneously. Throughout the school year, he would always ask me how I was doing, offer me a hug if I was having a rough day, and say “you’ve got this.” Juan has overcome racial stereotypes, the difficulties of cultural assimilation, and is still figuring out the broad spectrum of his migrant identity. However, his inspirational story of migrating to the United States is one of resilience, adaptability, and triumph. In Juan’s own words, “I want to tell people about my experiences. I’m an immigrant too. I was able to graduate from college and high school. If I can do it, you can do it.”

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