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Igor Tashkovski, an enthusiastic traveler and student from Macedonia spending his second summer in Fairbanks, describes the ups and downs of being a temporary resident with a J1, or short-term work and travel visa. In his case it means working four jobs, but he gets to be in Alaska and see other places in America as well. The latest installment in the series Becoming Alaskan.

“For the three months I am here, although I spend most of my time at work, we went rafting at Denali,” he said. “Now we’re going to go to the zipline in Denali. We visited the glaciers at Valdez. We went to Angel Rocks a few times for a hike. We’re going to take the flightseeing plane to Denali. And before I say goodbye to Alaska, I will visit Anchorage and the Matanuska Glacier.”


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David James is an Alaskan author and literary critic whose work has been published by the Anchorage Daily News, Fairbanks Daily News-Miner, Anchorage Press, Alaska Dispatch News, and Ester Republic. He is editing a forthcoming anthology of Alaska writing.


The Literacy Council of Alaska helps immigrants in Fairbanks find their way to work, success, and citizenship.
“In the borough there are over 10 thousand people who don’t speak English as their first language. That’s over 10 percent of our population,” explained Mike Kolasa, the council’s executive director, adding, “Last year we had 175 English language learners students.”
A winding path brought Chidozie Menakaya from Lagos, Nigeria, to Fairbanks, Alaska. The latest installment in "Becoming Alaskan."
When I landed back in Fairbanks and walked through those airport doors, I was relieved,” recalled Chidozie Menakaya after returning to Alaska from Lagos, Nigeria. “I thought, ‘What does that mean if Fairbanks gives me relief?’” Then he broke out laughing.