My Malagasy Diaspora Tantara: Diaspora Stories Told Around the World
Today, an estimated 300,000 Malagasy people live outside of Madagascar and live all around the globe. No diaspora story is alike but what we share is that love and connection to Madagascar that we carry in our hearts, new hometowns, and life. Here are our stories.
Today: A new Malagasy International student tells of her experience of moving from Madagascar to complete her high education in California!
Hello everyone! My name is Stephie Soloarivony and I was born and raised in Madagascar. A little over three years ago, driven by both ambition and curiosity, I hopped on a plane -actually several planes - to begin my journey as an international student in the United States.
Well, it is in great part learning to be patient when people call you at 2 AM because they keep forgetting about how big the time difference is. In all seriousness, going abroad for higher education is very exciting but also very challenging. In fact, you might be mentally prepared to have to be by yourself but nothing really prepares you to actually be on your own. There will be times when you will feel alone even when surrounded by great friends. For myself, this time often occurs during the holidays. There is nothing like spending the holidays at home.
Naturally, my family and my friends, but I would like to elaborate more on food (a main concern). It has been fun experimenting with different cuisines of the world with other international friends, but there are times when I just crave Malagasy food. I am personally a big fan of leafy greens but there are only a few varieties in the United States; and even those can only be found in specific grocery stores. The funniest thing is when my Malagasy friends and I find items at the grocery store that are similar to or the same as what we used to eat back home, and we start acting like we just found gold (very exaggerated).
There were a few other Malagasy students at my school and for a long time, we thought we were the only ones around. It was not until about a year after I moved there that I got to know about the Malagasy families in the area. I believe that having a community somewhere far away from home is very important, and it is nice to be surrounded by people who understand the struggles of being away. That is why now that I moved to a different area, the first thing I did was contact the Malagasy residents in my new surroundings. I am very grateful for the warm welcome they gave me even though we have not met in person yet (safety first), and I am looking forward to lots of post-pandemic Malagasy parties.