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Immigration Experience
Immigration Experience People rarely reflect on what it took us, Italian Americans, to integrate into American society. I do want my descendants to know about what stands behind their welfare and what it took their ancestors to start a new lease on life here in the United States. It is common knowledge that the major wave of Italian immigrants coming to the USA was from the 1880s to the 1920s. That tendency is often called “New Immigration”, which is the third and largest flow of immigrants from Europe. My primary motivation to leave home and seek better new opportunities was poverty. My living conditions in Italy could be described as horrible. Moreover, I did want to have better future prospects for my descendants as well as myself. Anyway, owing to high unemployment rates and poor health services to name a few, I made my mind to take a trip across the ocean to start from scratch. It took me seven days to get to America with steerage fare of thirty dollars. Conditions of crossing the ocean were far from comfortable, as I had to carry my clothes on my back due to lack of room on the ship. Apart from that, meals I got were only stew and soup. Fortunately, I did not develop any infection or irritations like many other immigrants who had to bathe themselves with salt water. The first point on my way to the continent was Ellis Island, which is often called an ‘immigration station’. Originally, this station was intended to be based on Liberty Island, but the Americans did not want it to be crowded by immigrants. Upon arriving at Ellis Island, I along with other immigrants underwent medical testing in order to detect any health-related problems. Those people who happened to have some serious health problems were not approved to live in the States. Like many other Italians, I decided to use a beaten track and made for Little Italy, which is located in lower Manhattan, New York City. This place became my new home. In fact, it was not that difficult for me to get adjusted to a new country. Little Italy shared much in common with my motherland. Lots of Italian customs and food were preserved there. Right after my arrival, it was somewhat difficult for me to find a decent accommodation. Initially, I had to live in a tiny room, 12x12, with no drinking water for several days in a row. Awful living conditions were not the only problem that Italian immigrants faced upon arrival to a new country. It was equally difficult to deal with the attitude of the Americans too. They used to call us ‘wops’ and ‘dagos’. In addition to a biased attitude, the Italians never learned the standard English, which led to some communication-related problems. In the course of time, the Italians were deemed as the “mafia” and did not enjoy respect on the part of the Americans. One of the major reasons why I decided to migrate to America was my desire to find a well-paid job. Although this proved to be somewhat time-consuming, after all, I did find a job I was satisfied with, the one of a carpenter with a wage of $18 per 56-hour week, and acceptable working conditions. Over the last 50 years, the American society has witnessed some positives changes in the people’s attitudes towards the Italian immigrants. Italian ancestry has all but blended with the American society and thus penetrated into a so-called “melting pot”. All of this manifests that I did not make a mistake when I left for America.   The article was submitted and created by professional writer Lola Nickson, more her papers you can find at papers-land writing service.
Lola Nickson