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Forums / Multicultural experiences / English migrants are still migrants!

Topic: English migrants are still migrants!

6 posts, 0 answered
  1. Donte'
    Multicultural Correspondent
    • Foundation members of our Multicultural Experiences section
    • Greece
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    Donte' avatar
    845 posts
    26 February 2018

    On Saturday night I was invited at a friend's birthday party. It was a lovely little gathering and I got to meet a couple of new people. At some point I was sitting next to a couple and started a conversation. The lady told me they are from England. Her partner's mother is an Australian who had migrated to UK long ago and so he was born and raised there but has dual citizenship. After a health scare a couple of years ago they visited Australia for some specialist treatments and were taken aback by the vastness, the low pace and relaxed lifestyle that is so different to the frantic and manic life in London so they decided to relocate here permanently two months ago.

    The conversation lead us around what is an Australian and who is an Australian anyway, as everyone in the room were from different countries. The English lady told me that unless you are Aboriginal really, you're not a true Australian with the strict sense of the word. I found that very interesting. I told her that it all comes down to self-identity and I believe that everyone who identifies as an Australian is one, that includes the muslims with the burqas, the Greeks, the Aboriginals, the Jews, the Africans, the English immigrants etc.

    It was fascinating for me to hear how homesick this couple were, how many things they miss from London: foods, lifestyle, family, friends, rituals etc and that even though they are English and speak the same language and share the same white-anglo heritage, they still feel they are in a foreign land down under. They are still migrants. Like me. Like the 46% of the culturally and linguistically diverse populations of our State.

    Admittedly, I hadn't thought of this before. The migration is still a migration, the loss, the grief, the foreign elements and the homesickness is the same despite the fact that these migrants are from the UK. and not from another country. Despite the fact that they have migrated to an English speaking country. The loneliness and isolation and differences in lifestyle and customs etc has affected the woman's mental health and she suffers from panic attacks, depression and anxiety. 'English migrants are still migrants you know', she exclaimed.

    2 people found this helpful
  2. james1
    Multicultural Correspondent
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    james1 avatar
    3072 posts
    27 February 2018 in reply to Donte'

    Hello Donte,

    This is a really interesting point. Like you say, the migration is still a migration with many difficulties.

    I suppose I've always treated questions about being a migrant/Australian/migrant Australian/etc as all rolling up under identity generally.

    For example, my girlfriend is from Scotland and even though she is not a migrant there, she does not feel at all at home when she returns to Scotland. She doesn't feel comfortable with the lifestyle, customs and attitudes, and while it's her home country, it's just not her home anymore. So she's not a migrant there, but the difficulties she has there make her feel like she does not belong.

    So I guess my point is that it's not just the English migrants who we forget are migrants, but it's often expats as well who have gotten used to living overseas and now identify as living elsewhere. Coming back home, it can sometimes not feel like home to them anymore. And if they've been gone for a long time, well, the loneliness, the grief, the homesickness will all be there too!

    James

    1 person found this helpful
  3. Daniel_83
    Daniel_83 avatar
    7 posts
    27 February 2018 in reply to james1

    Interesting perspective. I'm a migrant from an Asian country and while there are definitely days when I felt foreign and alient, there are also days when I identified with Australia more so than my birth country - there are many places in Australia such as Canberra which have this stillness, peace and slow pace of life I used to enjoy in my birth country in the 1980s. Then came the 1990s and a change of the old guard in politics - it's since morphed into a busy, crowded place with a frenetic pace of life.

    Being "at home" is not about being physically in any one particular place. it's about the things you identify with.

    2 people found this helpful
  4. Donte'
    Multicultural Correspondent
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    Donte' avatar
    845 posts
    28 February 2018 in reply to james1

    Yes it's very interesting James1.

    Two years after my migration to Australia I returned to greece on a holiday. Back then I used to be homesick and reuniting with all my cousins, uncles and aunties, grandparents and other relatives and all my friends and neighbors was amazing feeling and yet very bizarre! In Australia people were calling me names and teasing me for my accent and certain ways of behaving which were normal in Greece but not here. But the moment I landed in Greece all my loved ones were calling me Aussie! 'here comes the Australian', they'd say. I remember thinking to myself then 'Gee, in Australia I'm Greek and in Greece I'm Australian!'

    Thirty plus years later I know I'm both and none. :)

    2 people found this helpful
  5. Donte'
    Multicultural Correspondent
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    Donte' avatar
    845 posts
    28 February 2018 in reply to Daniel_83

    Absolutely Daniel_83.

    And the things we identify with could be temporary or permanent. We keep evolving. nothing is set in stone. :)

    1 person found this helpful
  6. Donte'
    Multicultural Correspondent
    • Foundation members of our Multicultural Experiences section
    • Greece
    • LGBTI
    Donte' avatar
    845 posts
    4 March 2018

    In most countries there are often two types of migration during difficult periods: the external, people migrating to another country, and the internal; people migrating from various places within the same country, often from agricultural or rural settings to big cities.

    Migration patterns usually take place as a result of hardship and economic pressures, unless it is a war or a disease that makes people flee. But most commonly, people only leave their country or town, village, island etc because they’re seeking a better future (or even present) for themselves and their children. Rarely, I think, someone packs up and leave their country if they’re established, affluent and financially independent.

    No matter the type of migration (internal or external), there will be challenges. Language and cultural barriers are only some of the myriads of challenges of settlement into a new place. One may speak fluently the language or be of the same cultural background and still face unemployment, loss, grief, loneliness, settlement issues including recognition of prior learning and skills and work experience.

    It’s not all about language and culture and beliefs.

    1 person found this helpful

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