Traveling is never easy and traveling for the first time is…well, definitely not easy. Traveling to any western country is especially difficult after 9/11. But nonetheless, I have decided to give you guys some tips/advise on what to do and how you should do them based on my own personal experiences as well as many others I have learned from. I am going to be talking about New York City specifically (since I’m from there) but some of these tips can help you if you’re traveling to another city in America like Detroit, Michigan, for example, as well.
So, if you’re planning on traveling and living at New York City, click the “Read More” link below to start reading this long but fascinating article.
At the airport and in the plane
Most international airlines will get you to New York City but my personal recommendations are Saudi Arabian Airlines and Emirates. Both of these airlines show special care for children by giving them special foods and toys. Both airlines also allow you to watch movies on their screens, play video games, etc and of course, they both have bathrooms! All kidding aside, each one of them has their advantages and disadvantages depending on what you really want on your flight. Saudi Arabian Airlines offers a prayer space at the back of the plane so you can perform your prayers while Emirates does not. However, Emirates has a much better screen than Saudi Arabian Airlines and has a much better entertainment system where you can watch movies that just stopped airing in theaters. It even has over 600 channels! Now that’s entertainment.
Now whatever you might experience at the airport will depend on which country you’re at but in New York City’s JFK airport, here’s what to expect:
- You are going to be searched and I mean seriously searched. From your handbag to your bags that are too big to carry. They scan them, then open them up for no reason and then just leave it all messy for you once you get them.
- Questions will be asked once you arrive. Everyone who is a Muslim will sit in a small lounge that was made room for, you guessed it, Muslims! They will ask you questions from the most basic to the most difficult. On average, it should take about 2-4 hours until you finally get to leave but that would depend on your name, status, and what country you came from. Oh and if your name happens to closely resemble a name of a terrorist, then you should probably think about setting up your tent. Because you will be there the whole day. No joke.
- Once you find your bags (good luck finding them), you’re going to need a cart to put them in. But once you find one, you’ll realize that you will have to pay for one. I don’t remember the costs but it might be $5 dollars if I’m not mistaken. Anyways, in New York City, everyone is on their own and you’ll start to realize that at the airport. Such a nice welcome right? After they’ve searched you, asked you questions, and wasted your time, they don’t even do you a favor to see if you need any help. Welcome to America.
Finding a job and a place to live
Now if you’re just in New York City to visit, you can just find a hotel and call it home. But if you’re in New York City to earn a living, then obviously you’re going to need something more permanent. Unfortunately, unless you know somebody (which in that case, you can live with them for a while), that is going to be extremely difficult. Back in the old days, many Mosques would allow you to sleep there until you found a place you live. But nowadays, I don’t know if they still do that. I also know that back then, the mosque would try to gather money from everyone and would give it to you to help start you off. I think they still do that, but you’re going to have to find a Mosque that would be more than happy to do so. I have posted a map of New York city where you can find a mosque. Not all the mosques are mentioned unfortunately but they should be plenty.
Now where do you start working? Well if you have a degree, you can get it translated, take some tests if required and then you’re off to a great start! But if you don’t have one, you can always ask deli owners if you can work for them for a little while until you find another job. Most Yemenis working in America know what I’m talking about right? Unfortunately, most deli owners sell beer and cigarettes so if you’re willing to work in haram conditions, then go for it but I’m not recommending it. Now once you have a job, start thinking bigger. You’re trying to make a living and most likely, you’re planning on bringing your wife and kids, so working at your local deli isn’t going to cut it. So what are you going to do? Well, you can become a taxi cab! The pay is great and you can work anytime you want. You’ll probably spend about $500 more or less to be able to work as a taxi driver but trust me when I say that it really pays off. Once you become a taxi driver, the would be no need to look else where, as you would rather stay working as a taxi driver for the rest of your life.
Your future, your children, and your children’s future
Now you’re living the life. You got a stable job, you bought a nice house, you brought your wife and kids, everything is just perfect right? Wrong. Raising your children will be another important factor you need to face. You have to keep in mind that your children will be growing up and experiencing things much more different then what you’ve experienced back at your native country. The culture in America is different then that of your country so you also have to keep that in mind. I’m not going to get into detail about how to raise your children in America (that will be another topic for the future inshaAllah) but I will tell you about the different schools in New York City and which school is best for your kids.
- Public schools: The good thing about public schools is that it’s free. Any child is accepted and the lunch is free as well. But what you have to worry about is the children your child is going to be with. Unless you live in a Muslim neighborhood where there’s a group of Muslims in that school, most schools don’t have many Muslims. Putting your child in that school will expose him to many of the haram things that typical American students go through as they grow older. This will cause your child to be confused or go through many temptations because on one hand, he knows Islam, and on the other, he sees many people doing things that Islam forbids and starts to think about what is really right and wrong. If you choose to put your child in a public school (and the next school I’m going to list) make sure you constantly teach him about Islam and to remind him that what he sees is nothing but Shatan playing his dirty tricks.
- Private schools: The good thing about private schools is that everybody follows a dress code and that generally students do better and get better grades in private schools then in public. Oh and guess who pays for the clothes the students must wear? Yep, you. Private schools are very expensive because you’re not only paying for the clothes, but you’re also paying for the food your child eats and the books he or she uses for class. Everything else is the same as you would see and expect in a public school including shatan’s dirty tricks.
- Charter schools: There is nothing good about this school. It teaches Christianity and you should avoid this school at all costs. DO NOT TAKE YOUR CHILDREN TO THESE TYPES OF SCHOOLS.
- Islamic schools: If there is one near your house, take your children there. This school teaches Islam as well as the things taught in public schools. Yes, you have to pay for enrollment, but it’s not as expensive as private schools and besides, wouldn’t you rather pay for your children to learn about their faith rather than sending them to a public or private school where they can go astray? I know I would, so when you are thinking about buying a house, make sure there is an Islamic school not far off.
|Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful|
Most people travel to western countries for two reasons. One, for earning money in order to support their families at home and two, to obtain citizenship. Whatever your reasons are, please remember that this life is short. Everything in this dunna is nothing but a test from Allah and he will reward or punish you based on your actions. Once you obtain wealth, please do not turn selfish. Spend wisely, and remember to thank Allah for everything that he has given you.
I ask Allah to forgive all of our sins and to save us from shatan’s evil deeds. I ask Allah to help us all throughout this dunna and I ask Allah to show mercy on us during the month of Ramadan. Amen.
Locations of Mosque’s in New York City: