Ren Cruz

Background on Ren

Ren was born in the Philippines. At the age of 6, he moved from the Philippines to America. He came with his immediate family which consist of his parents and two brothers. At first they lived in New Jersey but then decided to move to California where they currently live.

The Move

Ren's journey to America was unexpected to say the least. He was confused about everything that was going on because he actually never knew about the move until he arrived in America. He was driven off to an airport with his family and got on a flight with many others who also wanted to come to America for a better life. It was the first time he flew on an airplane, saw snow, and people with different colored hair other than black and colored eyes. When he arrived he didn't understand a word people were saying because he didn't understand or know how to speak English. He had to go through examinations and got vaccinations. He definitely didn't expect this all of a sudden but it was a once in a lifetime journey.

Life Living in America

Life in America for Ren and his family was much better than in the Philippines. They came for the opportunities but got much more. As for the environment, not only were streets cleaner, but also filled with diversity and kind people. Education wise, religion was not integrated into school systems and classes were easier. However, due to language barriers, Ren was held back in the first grade. Currently, Ren is in high school and hopes to study medicine in the near future. Not only is Ren taking 4 AP classes, he is also working. Job opportunities for him and his family are much more fitting here. Although it isn't his dream job working at Starbucks on weekdays and the hospital on weekends, he is doing what he can to help out his family and repaying them for all they had to sacrifice to get here. He does not regret moving here and would not move back if he had the chance to even if that means leaving family behind in the Philippines. Moving back to the Philippines would also mean that he would have to leave family and friends behind here.

Comparing Ren's story to the Gilded Age immigration

As you may or may not know, during the Gilded Age there was an increase in immigration causing a population growth of urban life in America. The urban population increased not only because of immigration but also industrialization. Millions of immigrants came to America through Ellis Island and Angel Island which there were immigration stations. They came for many different reasons. Some reasons are for a better life, money, or just to run away from struggles in their country. Ren's story is alike this period of time but obviously not exactly the same. Ren and his family immigrated to America for a better life and job opportunities. They passed through examinations at the airport similar to how immigrants during the Gilded Age had to have physical examinations, document checks, and interviews at the stations. They couldn't have any diseases so to prevent them Ren and his family got vaccinations. City life for Ren and his family wasn't as hectic as it was during the Gilded Age because they didn't live in tenements which were multi-family apartments. Tenements were overcrowded and an unsafe environment for everyone. Although it is not a repeat of time, you can notice the similarities and differences of how things have changed or stayed the same over the years.