Torri-Ann: Life as an Immigrant

Alexia Williams

“I remember at the age of 5 being on that plane in Jamaica getting ready to start my new life in America with my mother. I was a complete nervous wreck on top of being confused as to why we were leaving in the first place. I just wanted to stay in my comfort zone, my home, but clearly life had other plans. While on the plane I tried my best to soak up the last few moments of being in Jamaica and trying to remember as many memories as possible to keep me from crying, not wanting the fear of change to creep in.” 

According to Torri -Ann, adjusting to America was horrible because she was little and didn’t have any friends up here nor did she know family members up here either. “I was too little to understand what was going on and how to conform to the American way of living. And plus, the family members that were up here were all new to me so I didn’t have anybody to console me besides my mother, and since I was so used to warm weather in Jamaica that when I came here to Connecticut, I had a huge reality check and had to quickly adjust to the colder weather.”But in actuality, she wasn’t supposed to leave Jamaica , but her mother didn’t want to be separated from her child so the US government allowed for Torri – Ann to come with her so the family can all be together and have better opportunities in America.


Her experience in the American education system was just as bad because she got bullied for her Jamaican accent, so she became very quiet because of it and didn’t talk much at school. Eventually when she lost her accent, she felt upset because she felt like she lost a piece of her culture in order to fit into the American society. “When I was at school, I used to stay quiet most of the time out of the fear of being bullied for my accent. It felt like my accent was like a virus or a disease that my classmates forced medicine down my throat in order to get rid of it so I can be “normal” in their eyes. But what they failed to realize is that “virus” was a part of me, it was my culture that was very dear to me but was losted in order to fit in unfortunately.” 

But luckily she didn’t experience any stereotypical experiences outside of the bullying due to being an immigrant because she was mostly surrounded by West Indian people at home which made it easier to feel comfortable in America and its changes. “Though it has been hard getting used to America at such a little age, I can at least say that it eventually got better with time because now I can handle things that I couldn’t before, such as negative stereotypes against being an immigrant in this country as well as the ignorant people who are just plain xenophobic. And plus, the people around me are a big help since I found people that love and understand me for who I am instead of trying to change me or only see me as an immigrant.”