I came here as a refugee 2 years ago. Somalia wasn’t safe for me. I lived in fear all the time. Hunger and political conflict were going on every day. I knew I wouldn’t survive unless I take all my strength and leave. For good.

It was a long and painful journey until I finally made it to the United States. Leaving my mother and four sisters broke my heart. But I knew it was the right thing to do. The right thing to fight for.

When I finally got here, I was safe. But only physically. Mentally, I was a wreck. I had major depressions. Now my life was at risk again. Just differently.

I had a hard time adjusting. I didn’t’ want to talk to anybody. I didn’t want to eat. I felt so empty. Then I finally found out what was really wrong with me. I searched the internet. They called it Culture Shock.

When I found out that I was affected by Culture Shock I tried to find ways to feel better. Nobody really talks about this. Nobody wants to admit to it. Nobody wants to be weak.

But I know that many immigrants suffer from it. I learned that it helps to find people in the same situation so you can talk about it. Learn from each other. And then slowly increase your interactions with the local people. Americans.

I started to volunteer to get to know them a little better. I knew I can only get out of my pain if I start to get more involved with them.

The leader of the volunteer organization was American. She became my mentor. She became my friend. She was so friendly, warm-hearted and kind.

When I became friends with her, it was like becoming friends with America. And suddenly, the emptiness inside of me was gone.