Strangers, non-EU, migrants, foreigners, expats, internationals, aliens…
The experience of migration is a peculiar event in the life of a person and in the history of human beings. People start a journey that will give the chance to grow up, change and improve. However every path is a challenge because the ending is not clear and certain.
In between two cities, two lands, two cultures, the old and the new life, the migrant has a luggage made of what has been, what he knows, his expertise, life and roots. And, like for a seed, the purpose is to find a new home, a new place to live, with vital and stable relationships.
There are plenty of new things for the migrants and their family, but also for the mixed couples. No wonder that they could find difficulties and that the process could not flow fluidly. Every journey has pauses and accelerations, bumpy roads and brand new paving, friends and foes along the way.
Next to the poetry, there is the reality. We could work together to explore the psychosocial dynamics and solve the big little tangles you could find on your path.
SAME PLANET, NEW TRAVELERS
The migratory movement nowadays is circa 3 times of those in the beginning of the XX century. At present about 3% of the population is migrant. The reasons why people migrate are countless but, especially with the current economic crisis, most of the people decide to go to live in another country to find more favourable life conditions. If in the beginning of the last century our migrants moved especially to South America, now the trend is from the south to the north of our planet.
A TINY WORLD
Thanks to Hollywood, music and internet, we have now a lingua franca, English, which allows us to understand and be understood by almost 1,5 billion people. The social medias help us keep a network of same nationality people in the new country, fostering an easier integration to the new culture.
There is a huge difference between nowadays migrant and the ones in the past. The waves of people moving till the last century cut the link with their land, their culture, their family: rare letters or news from a passing traveller were the only hood with their origin. On the contrary, if you choose now to live in another country, you can easily keep contacts with what you left behind: easy and cheaper flights allow you to go back frequently, Skype calls, social medias and smartphones keep you updated to what is happening to your family on the other side of the planet. What was once cut is nowadays flexible and mobile. People get a multicultural identity, not defined anymore by the borders of the countries.
The greatest difficulties new immigrants face arriving in the Netherlands are usually: finding an adequate job, learning a new language and getting used to the weather. To these we may add adapting to the new culture, finding good quality housing, access to the services provided by the new country.
Multiple factors affect how migration is experienced: individuality, own culture, preimmigration circumstances, postimmigration conditions, the motivation for immigrating, the separation from families. Much importance bear the expectations about life in the new country, which may differ from the actual situation, creating disappointment and discouragement.
If we move with our family, our children have the advantage of a young brain to learn quickly the new language and getting used to the new culture. It means that the integration trains of the family may move at different speeds: parents get acculturated usually more slowly.
TALKING THE SAME TALK
Even in a country like the Netherlands, where 90% of the population speak English, speaking the official language can make the difference in terms of integration. I use to say that the moment you speak Dutch with the Dutch, it’s like they stop talking with you through the windows and they open the door of their house.
Next to a foreign language, new immigrants may experience lack of social interaction caused by discrimination, stereotypes, and prejudice because of racism or anti-immigrant attitudes.