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Updated on Jun 11, 2019. Posted on Jun 3, 2019

Refugees Share Their Favorite Thing About Their New Homes

Fleeing your home is hard, but finding a new sense of community and belonging makes the transition easier.

Mohamed | Indianapolis, Indiana via Somalia

Courtesy of Mohamed Osman Mohamed

"I am from Somalia, a beautiful country in the Horn of Africa, but a not-so-peaceful one. I was born during the civil war that started in 1991, and after many years of unsettling situations, I ended up moving to Dadaab Refugee Camp in Kenya, as more than half a million other Somalis did.

"I came to the United States as a refugee eight years ago. Now, I live in Indianapolis, Indiana, the heart of the Hoosier State. It was Indianapolis that welcomed me eight years ago as a refugee from the world’s largest refugee camp, and it’s Indiana that has accepted me, educated me, employed me, and opened many doors of opportunity for me and I am forever grateful."

What Mohamed loves most about Indianapolis: "The Hoosier hospitality that I received upon my arrival and continue to receive from my fellows Hoosiers every day has to be my favorite thing. But I also enjoy running, hiking, and volunteering at local community organizations."

Jasna | Minneapolis, Minnesota via Bosnia and Herzegovina

Courtesy of Jasna Burza

"I am from Bosnia and Herzegovina. I fled Bosnia during the war in the 1990s and came to the United States as part of a Whalen Family Scholarship and attended College of Saint Benedict in Minnesota. Now, I live in Minneapolis, Minnesota, and I love it!"

Why Jasna loves Minneapolis: "I love Minnesota because people are so lovely here, nature surrounds us, and this state reflects so many of my values: good health, simplicity, and healthy living."

Ermina | Chicago, Illinois via Bosnia and Herzegovina

Courtesy of Ermina Veljacic

"I'm originally from Velika Kladuša, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and, like thousands of fellow Bosnian Muslims, was forced to flee due to the threat of war and systematic violence. We had relatives who had fled just a couple months prior and helped us apply for refugee status."

What Ermina loves most about Chicago: "My favorite thing about living in Chicago is the pockets of culture all across the city. There are many diverse neighborhoods offering different foods, experiences, and entertainment. In one day, I can grab a cuban sandwich for breakfast at Nini's Deli in West Town, authentic Mexican tacos for lunch at Atotonilco on the other side of the city, slide to Pilsen and snag some candy at Dulcelandia, the largest retail and wholesale distributor of Mexican candy in the Midwest, and then finally for dinner, grab some fried chicken with Hienie's famous hot sauce at Hienie's Shrimp House on the Southeast Side."

Eliza | Evanston, Illinois via Democratic Republic of the Congo

Courtesy of Eliza Inesse

"I am from Democratic Republic of the Congo, and my family fled the Congo because of war. There were always rebels fighting, and the neighborhood my family lived in was not safe anymore, so my parents decided we should move from the Congo to Burundi. It was a little peaceful there but not completely.

"I had an illness back then, and my mom found a program that assists African people with illnesses who fled their homes because of war and helps them come to America. Through that program, my family came to America in 2013. My family has lived in Evanston, which is just outside of Chicago, ever since we got here, and I don’t think we’ll move."

Why Eliza loves Evanston: "My favorite thing about living in this new home is that I feel safe and I don’t have to worry about wars and if my family is going to be okay."

Bekhud and Shireen | West Fargo, North Dakota via Iraq

Courtesy of Bekhud and Shireen Abdulla

"We were refugees from the Kurdistan region in North Iraq, and were sent to refugee camps in Guam during the Clinton administration. After about four months, we were sent to Fargo, North Dakota and have moved between there and Minnesota a few times before finally settling in West Fargo, North Dakota."

Bekhud and Shireen's favorite thing about West Fargo: "The safety and opportunities for work and life!"

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