Name: Danica D’Souza⠀
Born: Mumbai, India
Lives: Brooklyn, NY
I moved to the U.S. in 2013. Prior to that, I had never visited this country. My dad worked in Kuwait as an accountant, while my mother is a home-maker. We lived in Kuwait for 3 years with my dad, but soon moved back to India. Our return had a lot to do with me. I couldn’t adjust to life in a foreign country, away from family and friends. I felt uprooted.
I primarily moved to the U.S. because I wanted to be with my now husband, Rahil. We met in India in 2012, while working on a TV show together. A few months into dating, Rahil had to return to the U.S. We talked about being together and continuing a long distance relationship. Rahil suggested getting married so I could move immediately. I laughed it off, because even though I loved him a lot, I thought it was too soon. We hadn’t even been dating a year! So, I decided to complete my masters degree in NY.
Initially, it was a struggle. In India, I was pretty far ahead in my career. I was earning a good income as a producer on TV shows. In the U.S., I had to start out as an intern, with a meager salary that hardly covered any of my expenses.
After graduation too, it took 2-3 years of working in places that didn’t pay well. I didn’t even have benefits, most importantly health insurance, which is crucial in this country. There were days where I’d cry and question my move.
My husband is a U.S. citizen but I never relied on him to land a job. All the jobs I’ve gotten so far have been on my own. I applied, and had to go through multiple rounds of interviews and in some cases even tests. Back home, I’d have friends in the industry who’d recommend me, but here, I had only my skills and merit to rely on.
My experience moving in to a new country has taught me a lot! I wasn’t willing to give up. Everyone has their own struggles, but for immigrants it’s more so. We lose our culture, our identity, our roots, our sense of being!
It took a few years of hard work to finally land a well paying job that offers benefits. I’m now at a position where I can say I’m an immigrant WOC, who made it on her own terms.