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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Wilfrid Laurier chapter.

Navigating through your adolescence is hard enough, but when you’re the child of an immigrant, it’s ten times harder. When I was growing up, I found myself constantly feeling like an outcast, when I just longed to fit in among my peers. Thinking back now, there is nothing I would change about my upbringing since it made me the way I am now. However, when you’re an awkward pre-teen, you want to change everything! Here’s a few things that children of immigrant parents can totally relate to.

Side note: This article is intended to poke fun at the upbringing of first-generation immigrant kids — not to hate on our parents and their efforts.

Disliking Your ‘Real’ Name

My name is Jovanka — how do you think that was growing up when you’re surrounded by Madisons, Jessicas and Brittneys? Why couldn’t they give me a Canadian name?! Giving yourself a shorter more “normal” name was quite common.

No Sleepovers

I always used to hate the fact that my mom would not let me sleep over at people’s houses! She’d always ask, “Why do you not want to sleep at your own house” or “Why don’t they sleep over here?” Come on, mom! Can’t you just let me be like the other kids!

No Fun

Other kids spent their weekends hanging out with friends and going to school dances. Me on the other hand? I spent my weekends learning the multiplication tables. Talk about a lit Saturday night. Worst part of it all? I still ended up totally sucking at math.

Leaving the House

My mom would always question where I was going, why and with who. I had fun yesterday, therefore I should stay in and do work. The interrogation I would receive daily whenever I’d leave the house was a little much. Up until recently moving out, I was still asking for permission to go out.

Weekend School

I always used to think going to school on the weekends to learn my mother’s language was a normal thing to do! Turns out, only children of eager immigrant parents spent their Saturdays being taught another language.

Strict About Grades

Try bringing home anything lower than an A. I dare you.

Guilt Tripping

Back in the homeland, my mother apparently had to walk to school, uphill both ways in ten feet of snow, wearing nothing but slippers. How dare I complain about anything in my life.

Deadly Weapon

What was your parent’s weapon of choice for discipline? For my mom, it was the wooden spoon. I swear she had the aim of a sniper.

Family Lawyer

I was eight years old and my mom was having me call the phone company to dispute charges, all while throwing on an accent for authenticity.

Communication Barriers

Often times, things can get lost in translation! Whether it’s through texting, calling or face-to-face, sometimes you just don’t understand what they’re trying to say. Despite trying their best, sometimes the language barrier opens the door for a funny situation.


The classic “why can’t you be more like (insert older, more successful cousin/sibling’s name here)” is probably the worst thing, ever? Yes, I know I suck — no need to keep reminding me!

Education/Career Choices

There are only a handful of acceptable choices for your education and career. If you choose anything else, they’ll spend the rest of your life questioning your decision.

I know that all of these things came from a place of love! Immigrant parents uprooted their entire lives to ensure that we get better chances in life and for that we should be eternally grateful! Wouldn’t change it for the world.


Images: @Tumharaabbu (Twitter), @AliFromTheArea (Twitter), @Balkan Memes (Instagram), @Balkan Memes (Instagram), Jovanka Smiljanic-Jazic

Jovanka, better known as Joja, is a fourth-year History & Medieval/Medievalism Studies Student at Wilfrid Laurier University. Her passions include both Canadian & Balkan politics/history, education, and extra-curricular activities on campus. She is also an avid Medievalist and most likely will spend too much of your time talking about it. Despite standing at solid five-foot-two inches tall, she's actually pretty easy to spot! Most likely you will find her in the library, or socializing with fellow classmates on campus!