Grappling With Identity: Why I Consider Myself a 1.25-Generation Immigrant

Noran Azmy
ILLUMINATION
Published in
4 min readMar 7, 2022

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Photo by Sherif Moharram on Unsplash

Right out of college, I left my parents’ home in Cairo, Egypt, and moved to Europe, marking the start of my independent life as an adult. I lived in Austria for a year, in Germany for six, and then finally moved to London where I’ve been living for the past six years.

As someone who left their home country at the adult age of 22, I am what you would traditionally call a “first-generation immigrant” — born, raised, and fully belonging to my Egyptian culture of origin, rather than the Western culture in which I currently live.

Technically speaking, it’s true. I was born and raised in Egypt, to Egyptian parents. I was raised in the same culture and environment as my parents were, and their parents before them. My only native language is Arabic, and I speak English with an accent that I’ll probably never be able to shake off. There are pockets of western culture that I’ll never fully understand.

The term “first-generation immigrant” should accurately describe me. I’m 100% Egyptian, and nothing else.

But then there are obvious ways in which I don’t quite fit in that box.

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Noran Azmy
ILLUMINATION

A software engineer who enjoys writing on a variety of topics, including personal development, productivity, learning, books, politics, and social issues.