Audio Recording of Interview
Habo Alo shares his journey of immigrating to the United States from Turkey, where he had resettled from Syria in 2013 due to anti-Kurdish persecution, and discusses how the political instability and discrimination in the two Middle Eastern nations led him to apply for refugee status. He gives advice on how to adjust to life in the States by learning English and keeping an open mind to the various cultures and experiences that come together when migrating.
Other interviews of this person can be found below:
Narrator: Habo Alo
Date: July 22, 2019
Location: Atlanta, GA
Content Warning: Homophobic sentiment expressed at 17:55.
Summary: Habo Alo shares his journey of immigrating to the United States from Turkey, where he had resettled from Syria in 2013 due to anti-Kurdish persecution, and discusses how the political instability and discrimination in the two Middle Eastern nations led him to apply for refugee status. He gives advice on how to adjust to life in the States by learning English and keeping an open mind to the various cultures and experiences that come together when migrating.
Topics: Immigration Process, Education, Employment, Childhood, Religion, Family, Cultural Adjustment, Identity
Section 1: (00:00-10:57)
Immigration Process: Alo gave a brief overview of his journey from Syria to Turkey to the United States.
Education, Employment: Alo is studying Health Science and will transfer to nursing school because of his desire to help the community.
Childhood: Alo grew up in a multicultural neighborhood in Aleppo and faced discrimination because of his Kurdish identity that shaped their course of study.
Immigration Process: In Turkey, Alo also faced significant discrimination based on his culture.
Religion: Alo does not consider himself to be religious and described the Kurdish practice as focused on doing good in the community.
Section 2: (10:57-20:14)
Religion, Immigration Process: Alo noticed contradictions in the way some people in Turkey practiced Islam.
Immigration Process, Family, Language: Alo and his family were surprised to find out they were resettling in the United States, given that they had no family there. Alo’s father was worried that his children would be negatively influenced by American culture and was also concerned about the language barrier.
Religion, Friendship: In the three years since Alo has been in the United States, he has not faced any discrimination and noticed the importance of private religious practice. Although he is not religious, many of his friends are, and he often tries to avoid speaking about it with them.
Religion, Immigration Process: Since coming to the United States, Alo’s views on religion have not changed much. He described a lack of understanding in the US of Islam, and also talked about his perspective is sometimes “Muslim” and sometimes not– for example, he does not drink alcohol or eat pork. Alo expressed homophobic sentiment.
Section 3: (20:14-32:48)
Identity, Family, Home: Alo now thinks of Georgia as “home”, which he defined by a place with friends and family, a government that protects his rights, and where he can live a “good life.” He did not feel this to be the case in Turkey, where he was warned that he would find discrimination in the US.
Cultural Adjustment: Alo’s favorite parts of the United States are volunteerism and the ability to be hired for a job based on experience, not facing religious or racial discrimination.
Cultural Adjustment, Family: Alo’s advice to refugees newly arriving in the US is to learn the language, have an open mind, and approach things with a positive attitude. He has encountered some refugees who are disappointed in a lack of support from the US government, which he says refugees in Europe experience more of. Alo would much prefer to support himself rather than have a “favor” from the government.
Cultural Adjustment, Family: When they first arrived, Alo and his brother would wake up in the morning and walk for miles around the city. Their excitement has now waned, and now they experience a mix of good times and bad times.
Education, Employment: In the past few years, Alo has made huge progress in his language skills, and participated in a film project with Georgia State that allowed him to meet people from different cultures and volunteer.