Junior Sakina Azhar emigrates from Pakistan to the United States

Junior Sakina Azhar (upper left) celebrates her dad’s birthday with her family.

Junior Sakina Azhar first immigrated to the United States from Pakistan at the age of three in 2007.

Although when she first moved to the U.S., she did not officially settle here until years later.

“I moved from Pakistan to America a couple of times when I was a child before permanently moving to America in the fifth grade,” Azhar said.

Whenever Azhar would travel back and forth from Pakistan, she went with her mom and siblings while her dad worked and resided in the U.S.

“He wanted my siblings and I to have a strong sense of cultural identity so I primarily lived in Pakistan for most of my formative years,” Azhar said.

As Azhar recalls how she felt when she stepped off the plane on her last move knowing that she would stay in America for good, she remembers feeling unfazed.

“Because I was only nine when i moved back to America, I didn’t really fully understand the concept of having to leave my home country,” Azhar said.

However now thinking back, Azhar does miss her family back home.

“Something I enjoyed about living in Pakistan was being close to my extended family and cousins,” Azhar said.

Since Azhar was constantly on the move between countries, she didn’t get to see her dad as frequently as she wanted

“I was mainly just really excited to live and see my dad for more than three months at a time,” Azhar said.

Even moving around frequently was a tad tiring for Azhar, it did have its perks.

It allowed her to get used to American culture and life before she finally immigrated permanently.

“I didn’t have much trouble adjusting to life in America, as i had already lived here before,” Azhar said.

Unlike most immigrants, Azhar didn’t face the challenge of having to learn a new language, which was another bright side to the multiple moves.

“I already knew English before coming to America, having already lived here previously and also having gone to an international school in Pakistan,” Azhar said.

Azhar notices that there are many differences between Pakistan and America.

She mentions that one difference is the etiquette of answering questions in both countries.

In the U.S., when students are called on by a teacher, they give their reply while sitting down, while this was not the case in Pakistan.

“Whenever the teacher calls on you to answer a question you have to stand up and answer to show respect,” Azhar said.

Even though Pakistan and the U.S. have different languages and cultures, Azhar does see some similarities.

One similarity that Azhar is very glad that both countries share is the tradition of celebrating national holidays and events with a day off from school.

In school Azhar works hard as an IB Diploma candidate.

She also participates in multiple extracurricular activities.

“Outside of school I am a part of an online organization and work as a mentor for a club at my local elementary school,” Azhar said.

Azhar still likes to visit her home country fairly often.

“I actually just came back from Pakistan in January,” Azhar said.

Since her final move to the U.S., Azhar has fully adapted to living here and very much enjoys it.

“Something I enjoy about living in America is the sheer amount of options and freedoms that are available here,” Azhar said.