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My Immigration Experience

            I arrived in the United States in the late 19th century. The harsh conditions' traveling aboard the ship and arrival at Ellis Island was an alien experience, testing my family and our resolve. We came to New York as foreigners and made the city our home. Life was not easy due to cultural differences and the way of life that new immigrants were forced to live. In the end, my family grew stronger, and my children prospered and grew up in a land where dreams and opportunity could help even the poorest of Italians. .
             I left Italy when I was young with very little money and a lot of hopes. My father and mother could not find work in our native country. "Europe had experienced tremendous population growth during the nineteenth century, creating gaps between the number of workers and the number of jobs" (Schultz, 2012, p. 305). For us America was an opportunity, "America served as a magnet because it promised economic opportunity and personal freedoms" (Schultz, 2012, p 305). Our journey was aboard a crowded ship, and we were barely able to afford the third class tickets for my family. Men, women and children all live and slept in the same small, cramped compartment. We tried to pack for our journey and brought food for the trip. That spoiled very quickly, and food that was found aboard the ship consisted mainly of stale bread and water, any meat was a luxury. .
             When we finally set foot in our new land, we were greeted by the masses of people at Ellis Island. Men were shouting directions in a language I did not know at that time, they were saying for men to go one way and women and children to go the other. I was inspected, and a tag was placed on my clothes. It had the manifest number for the ship I had come to this new world on. We carried all that we owned as we went from medical inspection to legal inspection. Men spoke my native language poorly, and no questions were off limits, and I found myself wondering what I had gotten myself into.

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