About a quarter of all students are a child of immigration. Many of these students came to America with their parents looking for a better life than the one they were living in their home country. New York City’s International High School at Lafayette is a place where the children of immigrants can go to learn to adapt to American culture and get a proper education, without fear of being pushed to the side. The documentary I Learn America follows five students at the school and the various challenges that they face during their senior year.
As stated through the interviews with the staff at International High School, even though the population is made up of students of different cultures, they are all going through the same experience of having to adapt to living in America. While some of the students found freedom of expression in America, others still found themselves bound by cultural and religious expectations, which might prevent their dreams from becoming reality.
While much of I Learn America uses an observational format, there is a sequence in the film where students created simple animations out of drawings, which told their immigration story. Even though it happens quite early on, this animated sequence really stood out as one of the main highlights of the film.
Overall, I Learn America was a decent look at the challenges faced by these students to respect their culture, while also adapting to a better life in America.