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Living In A Different Country: What It Is Like To Be A Migrant?

Have you ever wanted to move from your region or country to a new place? It takes a lot of courage and resources to plan and change your life in this way. This is what migrants do. You must know this word from the news reports talking about the refugee crisis, but this is not the only reason why many individuals decide to leave their home and face the unknown.

There are plenty of other motivations for people to abandon their old lifestyles in search of renovation, such as academic improvement, lack of money, better quality of life… For example, for student Rubens Schiozer, 20, his main motivation for leaving his native land, Brazil, was to study at the university of his dreams: Berklee College of Music. With a lot of planning, he gave up his studies in electric engineering at UFSCAR and moved to Boston, in the United States.

On the other hand, for the chinese teacher Xiaonan Zhang, the offer of a job in Rio de Janeiro to be one of the firsts to teach Mandarin in Brazil was a great opportunity to create new roots in a different country. She left China with her husband in 2013 and, since then, she has had many Brazilian students in her course and also created a YouTube channel: XiaoMandarim.

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Photo by Element 5 Digital from Pexels

It is interesting to see how two completely different people, who come from opposite cultures and generations, can find so many similarities in their stories. At the beginning of the relocation, both Rubens and Xiao had to take some time to adjust to their new lives, because it was hard to get used to speaking new languages different from their native ones. But, both of them believe that it was worth it, and it was a way to make their dreams come true. Xiao always wanted to be a teacher and Rubens says that if he could choose any place in the world to study, it would be Berklee, in order to be a film composer. And also, none of them think about going back to live in their home countries, since Rubens believes that, for his future job, the United States has way more opportunities to offer than Brazil. For Xiao, it is hard to think about going back to China since she had a daughter while living in Rio and believes that it would be a hard adjustment for her.

But, it is evident that there are also many differences between their experiences. Firstly, while Rubens moved to one of the richest countries of the world, Xiao didn´t. She faced many dangerous situations and was very afraid to live in Rio de Janeiro at the beginning. And when the coronavirus arrived, she was a victim of many Brazilian xenophobic attacks in the Internet, since the pandemic started in China and people can use it to express their prejudice against the Chinese people.

Rubens faced some problems too but, in general, they were less social and more financial. Today, in June 2021, one dollar equals 5.06 Brazilian Reais, making his lifestyle less comfortable than it was before. He also came alone, without any friendly face around while Xiao came with her husband. But, Rubens claims to feel way more safe in Boston than he did in Brazil, and also had some privileges such as having an early access to a vaccine against COVID-19. Also, even though he is a minority, as he is seen in the US as a latin person, Ruben believes that he never faced a situation of prejudice against him, maybe because at his University there are many young, intellectual and different people from all over the world.

Already feeling the desire to pack your bags and leave for this adventure? I´m always on it! However, both Xiao and Rubens believe that migrating from your country/region is not necessarily a change you are sure to enjoy. It must be something that you really want and planned very carefully, since there are many resources needed and it is a huge change in your life. For them, you must check if migrating will fit your lifestyle and your expectations. But, if you really believe that it is the right thing for you, face the challenge! It is an experience which can turn your life around for the better!

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The article above was edited by Giulia Lozano Pacini.

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Lorena Lindenberg

Casper Libero '24

Student of journalism, currently interested in writing about entertainment and culture. Bookworm, dog lover, a tv show enthusiastic.
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