Preview Mode Links will not work in preview mode

Broken English

Broken English is a mobile podcast hosted by me, Andrew Mahar in and around Chicago, Illinois. This first season is a mixture of interviews from people who have immigrated to the U.S. ranging from Mexico to South Africa to Turkey to Bolivia. With the Trump administration creating such a negative connotation around the word “Immigrant” now more than ever, immigrants need a voice to share their side of the story. Broken English is here to be that voice.

 Follow us on Facebook!

Please listen to, share and spread Broken English to anyone who will listen to these incredible immigration stories. If you live in the Chicagoland area and either are or know an immigrant who would like to share their story please to don’t hesitate to contact me at Being a mobile operation, we can record an episode just about anywhere that we can get a quiet room. Libraries, houses, colleges, anywhere that works best for you, I’ll be there.

If for any reason you’d like to remain anonymous, we can make that happen. Legal or illegal, it doesn’t matter. I want to record every story I can!


-Andrew Mahar

Jan 28, 2020

Yulia is a working artist from Moscow with an incredible story. We dive into Russia's perspective of the US and what our culture has brought to them. Her family has made heartwarming sacrifices for her to be here and she's rising to the occasion. Her work is truly one of a kind. Make sure to follow her on Instagram! 

She had previously written her reason for coming here and I wanted to share it with you!

My Reason 

It has never occurred to me that I would travel abroad and live in another country until I was about 17 years old. My High School graduation was approaching and the time had come to decide where I will be pursuing my higher education. I did not know what specific college or university I wanted to go but I have always known that I wanted to pursue an art career. Along with studying in regular high schools I have been attending the High Art School in Moscow, Russia. It was my favorite place and the only school I have actually liked.

The decision to study abroad and to study in the United States was mutual between my parents and myself. My father sold our apartment to have funds for sponsoring my life and education in America. I was accepted and granted a scholarship from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Immediately after approval of my visa and finalized traveling paperwork, I was getting ready to start my new journey pursuing my family’s nurtured “American Dream”. 

No one in my family are artists or have any special talents in the arts. However many members of my family have an acute awareness of the surrounding political climate and the reality of living in Russia. My parents knew that pursuing an independent art career in my home country would most likely have led me to poor and ostracized existence. My mother and especially my father are big admirers and fans of the American culture. They have always shown love and sympathy for the western lifestyle and, most importantly, for the idea of empowered civil rights and freedom of speech granted to American citizens. As a young adult I was in a whole-hearted agreement with my family to leave Russia and study at a university in the United States.

I left Russia 6 years ago. I have never been back since I left. I have not seen my dad or my grandmothers or the rest of my family in 6 years. Only my Mom has been able to pay me visits every year and share the news from home. I miss my family and friends very much. Talking to them on a phone or texting is a different experience than seeing in person. Not being able to feel, touch, smell or embrace loved ones for a long time is excruciatingly difficult. The complicated political relationship between the US and Russia makes travel between the two countries difficult and that reflects back on shared negativity towards taking international journeys especially for Russians.

On the bright side immigration facilitates me with fulfilling the higher purpose of me and my family’s whole sacrifice: to become a free artist/woman. I have always wanted to live my life the way I want to, be able to support myself, establish my own family, make friends, and grow to be a strong, kind and open-hearted woman. I will fight to pursue my goal of becoming an American citizen and to provide my family and parents with a better future.

 I have to mention that a number of people who are great artists, teachers, and compassionate individuals partook in making my life in their county a reality and, most importantly, accepted me as part of their family: Mary Lou Zelazny, Tony Fitzpatrick, Susanna Coffey, Chris Batte, Fiona and Raymond McEntee and many of my other dear friends and supporters. As for an immigrant, my new “family” is my wealth and a precious asset that I have been gifted in this world.