BLACKLICK — Imagine one day packing your bags, buying an airline ticket
and moving to Somalia. Once you crossed the Atlantic, you would need to
adjust to a foreign language, a different climate, strange foods, new
cultural mores and more.

That is what many of the Somalian immigrants now living in the area have to
cope with on a daily basis. They also have to find work, support themselves
and secure an education for their children. It can be difficult, said Asili
Omar, who moved from Somalia to the United States 11 years ago.

“It’s not easy when you come here,” said Omar, 35, who lived in Washington,
D.C., before moving to Columbus.

Today, Omar lives in Blacklick with her family. And while she feels
comfortable living in the United States, she still faces new challenges on
a daily basis”¦

American people are very friendly,” Omar said.

Omar is particularly happy with the education her daughter is receiving at
Summit Primary. The district offers an English as a Second Language
program, and school officials have tried to accommodate students from other
countries, particularly those from Somalia.

For example, most Muslims abstain from eating pork, so Licking Heights uses
a menu that lists pork products. Licking Heights also allows Muslim
students to miss school for Islamic holidays, and Somalian girls are
allowed to observe their religion by wearing head scarves


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