Between Two Worlds, the 11th documentary in NPT’s Next Door Neighbors series, premieres Thursday, April 26, at 8 p.m. This edition of Next Door Neighbors highlights members of Middle Tennessee’s Indian, Chinese and Filipino communities. These groups represent the largest source countries for U.S. immigration through the H-1B visa program, the temporary work visas issued to foreigners in “specialty occupations.” H-1B recipients must have a bachelor’s degree at minimum and the visa allows them to work in the U.S. for three years with the possibility of extensions after that.
Though H-1B visa recipients come to the U.S. with educational and professional connections that other immigrants may lack, they often still face the challenges of adjusting to life in a new environment. “They have to deal with being caught between expectations of making it in this new place and also maintaining traditions and culture,” said Shawn Anfinson, producer of the Between Two Worlds documentary.
Prior to the 1960s, fewer than 500,000 Asian immigrants lived in the United States. Today, there are more than 20 million Asian Americans, an increase that began with the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965, which lifted quotas based on nationality and welcomed a diverse generation of newcomers.
Among the stories told in Next Door Neighbors: Between Two Worlds is that of Vijay Bhaskar Reddy Dasharadi, an IT worker whose family’s plans to return home changed after the birth of their special-needs daughter. Another segment introduces Helen Libanan, who put herself through college and law school after her marriage to an American ended in divorce. Chongbin Zhu, LAC., Ph.D., combines Chinese medicine and conventional Western medicine when treating patients.
“I truly believe that people who come to America come here to pursue a dream,” Sri Pallavaram, president of the India Association of Nashville, says in the documentary. “This is the land of opportunity. It’s still true and this is truly one of the kindest countries in the world towards immigrants.”
Additional Between Two Worlds interviewees include: Joy Ruth Matanguihan, president of the Filipino-American Association of Tennessee; Guangping Zheng, Ph.D., director of MTSU’s Confucius Institute; Mei Han, Ph.D., director of MTSU’s Center for Chinese Music and Culture.
Next Door Neighbors: Between Two Worlds will be available for online viewing at ndn.wnpt.org/documentaries; additional broadcast times for the documentary are:
- Saturday, May 12, at 5:30 p.m. on NPT2
- Sunday, May 13, at 1:30 p.m. on NPT2
- Sunday, May 27, at 10 p.m. on NPT
Next Door Neighbors: Between Two Worlds is made possible by the generous support of The Nissan Foundation.
NPT’s award-winning Next Door Neighbors series looks at Nashville’s status as a destination city for refugees and immigrants and explores the rich diversity of people now calling Nashville home. Through documentaries, extensive outreach and continued relationships with Nashville’s immigrant and refugee communities the Next Door Neighbors project aims to increase understanding of unfamiliar cultures, highlight the experiences and successes of Nashville’s immigrants, and mediate a community-wide conversation about who we are as Nashvillians.