You're the bridge.: Becoming Minnesotan

Rajiv Shah, c.1999.
  • Name - Rajiv Shah
  • Age at interview - 25
  • Gender - Male
  • Generation - First Generation American / Immigrant
  • Date of Interview - 08.22.1997
  • Family Fun Fair, SILC, Como High School, St. Paul, July 24, 2002.

    Essential Question

    Becoming Americans: What does it mean to be an American?

    Problems in America: What could have helped this person’s adjustment in the U.S.?

    Words to look for


    Background Information

    Many Indian immigrants struggle with their “dual identity.” They still feel like Indians, and work to keep up their Indian culture, religious traditions, and values.  However, they also must learn how to live in American society.  All immigrants face the tough challenge of finding balance between maintaining their home culture and adopting certain aspects of American culture that will allow them to be more successful in the U.S.

    To learn more about Asian Indian history and culture, visit our Asian Indian Community page.

    • Chapter 1

    Download Rajiv Shah 1
    1:8 Minutes | 1.08Mb


    Narrator: Rajiv Shah (RJ)

    Interviewer: Polly Sonifer (PS)

    PS:  I'd like to spend the last bit of our time together just having you reflect on any aspects of being your generation immigrant. Has that given you any special insights? What have been the particular challenges about it? How has it contributed to making you who you are now?

    RS:  I think the most important thing that being second generation brings is that you're living the first-generation experience through your parents, yet you're transitioning. You're the bridge. You're that first transition piece, so you're having to cope with two separate environments. That allows you to cope with many different kinds of people. You learn adaption skills, you learn how to be culturally aware and accepting of differences, because you need people to be accepting of you, and you need to be accepting of others. I think that is the most important thing that being second generation is.

    Related Glossary Terms


    Noun:  Part of something; the way something looks when viewed from a certain angle.


    Verb:  To deal effectively with something difficult.  (copes, coping, coped)


    Noun:  A particular political or social setting, arena or condition.


    Noun:  1. Participation in events, leading to knowledge, opinons, or skills.  2. The knowledge thus gathered.


    Noun:  1. A period of around thirty years, the average amount of time before a child takes the place of its parents.  2. A group of people who are of approximately the same age.


    Noun:  A person who comes to a country to permanently settle from another country.


    Noun:  Clear or deep understanding of a situation.


    Verb:   To think about something carefully.  (reflects, reflecting, reflected)


    Noun:  A process of change from one form to another.


    Minnesota Historical Society. Becoming Minnesotan: Stories of Recent Immigrants and Refugees. September 2010. Institute of Museum and Library Services. [Date of access].
    nid: 625