The Rapidian

Immigrant Heritage Month Profile: Meet Sana Khan

In celebration of Immigrant Heritage Month, this series features profiles of community members who have immigrated to Grand Rapids.
Sana and Ammad Khan

Sana and Ammad Khan

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For Immigrant Heritage Month, I asked several friends and connections who immigrated to Grand Rapids to share a little about their heritage. The goal of this endeavor is to help educate and inform myself and others in the community about the rich cultures of our neighbors. And, to celebrate the ways that these individuals have contributed to what we know as American culture today. I asked each of them the same questions and their responses are all featured here in the Profile section of The Rapidian. 

Sana Khan is a graduate student at Grand Valley State University and also a clothing designer in her spare time. I met her at the Grand Rapids Asian Festival, where she had a booth selling Pakistani clothing and accessories. She was gracious enough to invite me to her home to shop after I missed the opportunity to do so at the Festival. After chatting with her, I knew wanted to ask her to participate. She enthusiastically accepted! 

I asked Khan: What is an important part of your culture/heritage that you want to preserve in your life and also want to share with American culture? And, what in American culture do you embrace? 

Khan said: "The important part that I feel should preserve in my life and pass on to my children would be knowing my mother language which is Urdu, which is a combination of Hindi and Persian languages. I want to preserve the folk and cultural music of my country, which reminds me of the beauty of nature from different cities and states. And, I would like to preserve the religious values that have been taught to me.

In our culture, and to me, family values are important. We celebrate our children and we celebrate old people. It is a norm in our culture to have inter-generational cohabitation. We look after our parents, our kids, and our families.

I would like to share my culture’s family values with American culture. I feel that here people celebrate their independence more. I hear people saying that 18-years-olds should get their own place and move out. I feel like that there is a generation gap here; I would like this to change maybe a little bit.

What in American culture do I embrace?

I love how generous people are here. I love it when someone holds the door for you or you do the same for them and you receive this warm smile and a gesture of thank you and welcomes.

I want to embrace the fact that people here don’t judge each other by their looks and color.

My name is Sana Khan. I grew up in Pakistan and immigrated in 2009. I am pursuing my Masters in Cell and Molecular Biology from Grand Valley State University. I am working as an intern in Translational Science and Molecular Medicine at Michigan State University. I love designing Pakistani modern cultural clothes and I occasionally design stuff for my friends and family living here. If you'd like to check out my collection you can go to my Facebook page: Elegant Cuts." 

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