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Aurora and Azul
Argentinian-American

As a college student, Aurora Zapata dreamed of leaving Argentina in search of the American dream. Instead she fell in love and moved to rural Patagonia with her husband Mario.

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In Patagonia, they had a little girl, Azul. Aurora knew they would need to move. “The place where we were was extremely small to raise a child– not much to offer,” she said.

When Azul was three, the family moved to the U.S.

Azul, as daughters are apt to do, challenged her mother’s rules as she grew up. In her eyes, her mother, a trained engineer, seemed too structured for her own carefree spirit.

When she graduated from high school, she went to the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill where her independent streak deepened. She pushed Aurora, and the rest of her familly away.

There were times when Azul and Aurora’s relationship was tense, Azul was “full-blown American” at school and questioned the traditions of her family. But those challenges only served to strengthen their mother-daughter bond.

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Fatima and Miriam
Algerian-American

In 1989, Fatima Boutrid left Algeria to live with her brother in Raleigh, N.C. Two years later, her brother befriended an Algerian man who moved to Raleigh from Boston. They decided to open a restaurant together and soon he and Fatima fell in love. “Things just happened,” she laughed.

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In the spring of 1991, they got married. They had four children: Amina, Aya, Hamza and Miriam.

Just like her mother, Fatima, who’s the youngest of 10 siblings, Miriam is the baby of the family. She’s 20 years old, studies international relations and spanish at Meredith College, dreams of being a foreign ambassador and loves football.

Fatima and Miriam have very different personalities. Fatima is loud and emotive while Miriam keeps her heart to herself. But as Miriam has grown up, they’ve come to understand and appreciate their differences.

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While there are nearly 20,000 Algerian immigrants in the U.S. Algeria itself has an interesting history of immigrants. From the middle of the 19th century to the 1960s, Algeria was ruled by the French empire. During this period a number of Europeans moved to Algeria. During the Algerian revolution, many of those Europeans returned to their home countries and immigration to Algeria slowed. Now the immigrant population in Algeria is comprised mostly of people from other North African countries.

Top foreign-born nationalities in Algeria

Sue and Roxanne
South African-American

Sue Henshall grew up in Durbin, South Africa. At university in nearby Pietermaritzburg, Sue met the man who would become her husband. While still in South Africa, they had a baby girl, Roxanne.

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When Roxanne was four, her father’s job took the family to Germany. While there, they tried to learn German and welcomed Roxanne’s sister Francis into the family. After two years in Germany, they moved to the United States.

Not long after arriving in Greensboro, N.C., the youngest Henshall, Jack, was born. As the family grew and their location changed, Sue managed to make each new place a home.

“My aunt in South Africa, every time I talk to her, she’s like, ‘your mom is a superwoman she’s my hero,’” Roxanne said.

Today Roxanne is a senior at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

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Immigrants in Algeria, Argentina and South Africa

By | Hannah Doksanksy, Samantha Harrington and Josie Hollingsworth