Spotlight: Not an Alien


Culturework Spotlight is a segment dedicated to recognizing initiatives that foster positive cultural change, human connection, and social justice in new and engaging ways.

Not An Alien initiative, a podcast capturing an array of immigrant experiences in the US, is a creative endeavor that that responds to our current cultural shift. yet never allows itself to be defined by it.  The stories carefully compiled by the podcast’s creators draw listeners into the complexity of what it means to leave the familiar and journey into a new culture and place.The framework of its mission seeks to delineate a space where deeply personal stories can safely flourish.  

Twelve short months after its launch, the crew at Not an Alien has gathered nearly fifty interviews of varied narratives of immigrant journeys. The project’s mission is best described in the first interview with Neelu, one of the co-founders, which relates her journey through a student visa process, securing an H-1B, and later on through a green card process. From here on, Neelu and her partner Tom have continued to patiently interview, record, and establish a platform for many more stories. Through storytelling, Not an Alien is building a meaningful listening platform that encourages empathy for (and education about) the distinct challenges and shared human experiences that constitute the immigration experiences of so many.  

They have interviewed family members, friends, neighbors, colleagues, clients, and strangers, creating a vast sense of experiences and connectivity across the body of narratives. The candid stories narrate complex realities,  circumstances, and a fragments of a broader political immigrant footprint that is defining immigration in our epoch.

Dive in to the podcast here, or take a listen to some of our personal favorites:

Svenja, shares the story of immigrating from Germany to the US, with an insight to her experiences of a career change and becoming new parents while in transition.

Lizania, recounts her journey from the Dominican Republic to the United States and fulfilling her dreams in the process.

Dzemalj, expresses a warm recount of his American citizenship after his immigration from Montenegro to New York City shortly before the fall of the Soviet Union and the outbreak of war in the former Yugoslavia.