Home Feature Behind The Face: Viktorija Palikukjavska

Behind The Face: Viktorija Palikukjavska

by Gabriella Dragone

Viktorija Palikukjavska, a freshman business management major, standing outside near her home.
Gabriella Dragone | The Montclarion

Viktorija Palikukjavska is a freshman majoring in business management, who was originally born and raised in Macedonia. She moved to the United States in her early teens but was never fully content with the move. Eventually, she grew to like the United States but still struggles with homesickness from time to time. Viktorija took the time to sit down with Collaborating Writer, Gabriella Dragone, to explain her experience and feelings during her first journey to the United States.

I moved to the United States in 2011, when I was twelve years old. I am originally from Bitola, Macedonia which is close to the capital, Skopje. My parents didn’t tell me about moving to the United States until a few months before leaving. We left because we wanted to experience a new living style and experience life in another country.


Bitola, Macedonia from Viktorija Palikukjavska’s trip to Macedonia in the summer of 2016.
Photo courtesy of Viktorija Palikukjavska

We had to take a plane from Skopje to Serbia and then from Serbia to the U.S. It ended up being a 12-hour flight in total. My mother, father, brother and I had never been on a plane before, so it was an exciting experience. However, once in the air, I was scared of the turbulence, but it turned out not to be as bad as I thought.

I wasn’t too thrilled on leaving the place I was born and raised. I didn’t want to come to the United States because I was leaving my whole family behind. I was going to an unknown place. It was a place in which I didn’t know anyone or the area and didn’t speak the language. It was the worst experience of my life. I was nervous and scared when entering the country. It’s scary when you’ve never been anywhere else in your life. It was very hard for me to go to school because I didn’t know English, which made it hard to make new friends and to learn. I just felt very lonely.

When we got off the plane we were greeted by my aunt who lives here in New Jersey. She had invited her family to celebrate our arrival, but I was still a little upset that I was never going to see my friends every day like I used to. During the party, all I could think about was just going back to Macedonia. I missed everyone. Saying goodbye to your family and the people you’ve grown up with since you were little is the hardest thing ever. I would cry every day and would try to persuade my parents to go back, but it was impossible. We stayed in an apartment for a year. My aunt was the one who helped us adjust to our new home. She helped us learn English and helped my parents find jobs.

After being here for five years the one thing that I do like about the United States is that you are able to drive when you turn 17 years old. I also like that you can start getting jobs when you are around 14 to 16 years old, unlike in Macedonia, where you get your license and can start working at 18 years old. However, one thing that the United States doesn’t have that my country does is that Macedonian parents aren’t as strict. In Macedonia, I was able to go out wherever I wanted with whoever I wanted, and I didn’t have to worry about coming home too late or worry about my safety. Unfortunately, in the United States, my parents are more protective and always want to know where I am going. Also, I have to be aware of my surroundings and always keep my guard up in order to be safe.

Even though I have to deal with some disadvantages, I found that living here now is not so bad. I drive by myself, have a job I like, live in a great house and made many new friends. Eventually, I got used to living here, but at the same time, I miss my family and the way we lived in Macedonia. On the bright side, my family and I go to Macedonia every summer to visit my family and friends. I can now say I have something to look forward to whenever I’m homesick.

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