My Experience as an Immigrant From Algeria
My name is Amirouch Bireche. I am 30 years old and I am from Algeria.
I applied for the DV Lottery Program in 2018 and when I got the chance to come to the U.S., I didn’t hesitate. I just grabbed my luggage and I left.
In the beginning, I was struggling with my English and The Welcoming Center was offering an in-person program to help people to improve their English but unfortunately, the program was in the evening, and I was unable to attend as I was working in the evening as a cleaner, the only position available to me.
During the pandemic, the International Professionals Program (IPP) started being offered virtually, and because of this, I was able to join the program. I also joined IPP because a friend of mine advised me to do it and I trusted him because he got a job a few weeks with the City after he did IPP.
I spoke with my manager at work, who is really nice to me. I asked her if I could start work two hours early so I could take two hours in between from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. to attend virtual IPP classes. My manager knew that I was the engineer but I was doing a job as a cleaner. She was happy with me. She did everything to help me.
My advice to other immigrants: The most valuable thing is to meet people who give you their time and listen to you, even if your English is not really understandable. They try to understand your situation and do their best to help you to reach your goal.
Through IPP, I gained confidence in myself! When you come from a very far away continent such as Africa, you have no idea what to expect in this great country and then you meet with people from your community who will tell you that you should forget all the degrees you have from your home country because they are not valuable. They will advise you to find a job as driver, cleaner, etc. When I attended IPP, I wiped out all of these ideas from my mind.
The Welcoming Center’s IPP staff put me in touch with World Education Services to evaluate my master’s degree. And now my master’s degree from my home country is recognized here and recently, I started my job as a civil engineer with the City of Philadelphia.
I do recommend The Welcoming Center and especially the IPP for every immigrant who is looking for their way because at The Welcoming Center, they will find people who will support them to find their way.
By supporting The Welcoming Center, you are supporting immigrants finding their way. As an immigrant, I think this will make this country a better place to live for all of us.
International Professionals Program graduate