My First Day in America - Episode 2: Jinal

"The first thought that crossed my mind was if I had to die, I wished I was back home with my family." Jinal moved to Philadelphia from India in 2001 — just weeks before 9/11. This is how she lived on her first day in America.

‘I don't want an ordinary life’

Hi, I'm Jinal Shah. I came to Temple University in 2001 from India as a student. My first day in America is now a blur. I can’t remember much other than being very, very sad and overwhelmed, and overcome with emotion. I think that's when it first hit me after I landed here, what I'd actually done, that I'd left everything I knew behind. I came here a few weeks before 9/11. My semester had just started. I was in my dorm room with my roommate and we had the TV on. And I think we were both catatonic. My roommate, I remember, kept repeating, “Someone just crashed into the Twin Towers. Someone just crashed into the Twin Towers.” And then there were rumors. We heard there was a plane headed towards Pennsylvania, you hear things. No one knew what was going on in those moments right after.

I remember the first thought that crossed my mind was if I had to die, I wished I was back home with my family. I didn't want to die so far away from them. A couple weeks after 9/11, my friend and I were walking on campus and someone just rolled down the window of their car and yelled at us saying, "Go back to your own country." That was a little, like, shocking. And we knew it wasn't me. You know it's not you as Jinal or my friend. But we also knew it was us as two girls who, you know, are brown.

I will always credit a lot of my success to what the city and the people here taught me and what it gave me in terms of the grit that I saw all around me, the determination that my classmates had that rubbed off on me. I always said to myself as an immigrant, I haven't come here to live an ordinary life. I don't want an ordinary life. It has to matter. There is so much sacrifice that has gone into my immigrant story.


11/20/2019 12:47 AM


  • Anurag S.
    04/09/2020 20:00

    Shity Brut India !! This admin should be blocked

  • Kanchi S.
    12/18/2019 09:17

    What was that 🤨🤨

  • Rachhpal J.
    12/16/2019 05:04


  • Sai M.
    12/15/2019 15:30

    I am unable to put finger on what this video is all about. Is she promoting Philadelphia, the US, or herself? 🤔 However please take care.

  • Zizy E.
    12/14/2019 03:42

    The same thing happens in India too. When we move from south to north or east to north . It’s not bad as that in US

  • Smytta Y.
    12/13/2019 03:38

    Total waste. What is the point?I have un followed BRUT INDIA for wasting my time.

  • Pramod P.
    12/12/2019 10:29

    Sum of all, you want to say that Philladelphia is nice place for living 🤔

  • Ashok S.
    12/09/2019 15:57

    [email protected]

  • Kottargi A.
    12/08/2019 13:44

    Ur not fitt

  • Anwesha R.
    12/08/2019 07:51

    watch this

  • Nikhat S.
    12/05/2019 05:37

    Ibrahim Hassan

  • Fizza K.
    12/04/2019 05:39

    Ok i have the exact opposite story...i was born and grew up in america and i came to india when i married an indian....same struggle of culture etc....lot of sacrifice....nobody wants to be ordinary....heh brut...u wanna do my story😁

  • Shan W.
    12/03/2019 13:26

    Great! We all relate to this..I had a very similar experience..

  • Marukh M.
    12/03/2019 05:39

    Bless her but every individual has his or her way of thinking an dreams I many a times get angry or even abuse my country for not having much opportunities but when I after my 3 outings out of India when I touched down at my Indian airport I have always had tears of joy returning back to my india I have struggled all my life in India but I feel free freedom is to me the richest of dream no country in this world can ever take me away from my India god bless all those who have migrated for money no issues

  • Anjali S.
    12/02/2019 21:30

    Watch this

  • Vishal P.
    12/02/2019 19:28


  • C V.
    12/02/2019 13:59

    May God bless you

  • Dan M.
    12/01/2019 00:11

    Bull shit!!

  • Xachuingamang P.
    11/30/2019 05:08

    That's called adaptation in short for indian it's a transformation of extremism and conservative to the western culture 😆😆😆

  • Nimrat C.
    11/28/2019 11:51

    Lots of people go through this when they leave their country of birth and move to new places for education or work